There’s been plenty written debunking the Sales 2.0 myth that you don’t need to make proactive telephone calls to prospects. I think we’re all past the failed fantasy that tweeting about our value-creating blog is going to produce the quantity of face to face meetings we need. And let me be clear, I am ALL for incorporating new media into our marketing mix and sales attack. I’m doing it personally and thrilled with the results so far. But tweeting, blogging and LinkedIn-ing are not replacements for picking up the phone (sorry to those of you looking for an excuse not to call). Social media is a wonderful supplement, but not a replacement for one of our most powerful sales weapons – the outbound proactive telephone call.
Members of my sales team were prospecting madmen during Selling Season. We did everything possible to maximize face-time with strategically selected target prospects. Our people spent a ton of time on the phone and that provided many opportunities to debrief, swap stories (both success & horror stories) and for me to do some coaching. I’ve come away reinvigorated about the power of the phone and reminded of the importance of regularly sharpening our phone skills.
I’m more convinced than ever of these Keys to Calling:
- Dedicated Time Blocking
- Proper Attitude & Voice Tone
- Peer to Peer, Conversational and Comfortable Approach
- Laser-focus on Objective
- Masterful, Succinct, Prospect-Centered Headline
- Willingness to Ask 3 Times for the Meeting
- Prepared Objection Busters
- Wise, Planned Use of Email and Voicemail
- “Magic Words”
There are three “magic words” I use over and over and over when making proactive telephone calls. These words work and I encourage everyone I coach to try them:
Visit – I like to ask the prospect to “visit.” Appointment sounds so clinical and no one is sitting around wishing they had another meeting to attend. And I’ve made it quite clear how I feel about the word “presentation.” Visit is a positive word. You visit with family and friends. “I’d like to visit with you to…” or “Would you have 30 minutes to visit with me next Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Fit – “Fit” is one of my overall favorite sales words. Using “fit” helps demonstrate confidence and also disarms the prospect. It shows you’re not desperate and it’s non-threatening. “Let’s get together to see if we might be a fit to help you…” or “I’d like to learn more about your situation, share how we’re helping XYZ organizations like yours and determine together if there’s enough of a fit to talk about a next step.”
Value - “Value” is what everyone is talking about and seems to be the yardstick by which we are all being measured. Value. I suggest using “value” in a couple of ways: “We’ll review your current situation and see if we can bring some value to what you’re doing…” I also like to promise the prospect that they will receive value from the meeting as part of the enticement to invite me in. And that usually happens after they’ve predictably said “no” to the first and second requests for the meeting. That’s when it’s time to put together the Trifecta and use all three magic words in combination
“Judy, I understand that you’re (insert likely common objection here), Visit with me anyway. I promise you’ll get value and ideas from our time together, even if we end up not being a fit to help you.”
That phone on your desk should be one of your best friends. Are you treating it that way? Maybe December is a good month to invest in the relationship so your friendship can thrive heading into 2011.