Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros

Telephone SkillsYou might think that everyone knows how to use a telephone and that the topic of Vital Telephone Skills for Sales Pros is antiquated. For some, possibly you, that may be true. However, based on the calls received by me, my wife, and members of my staff, there is a great lack of skill in the general selling populace. Because of our experiences, even recently, we all agreed this topic should be addressed.

The pathway to riches is that opening in the front of your head called a mouth and one of your biggest assets is the telephone. Most appointments are set by telephone and there are certain steps to follow to do it well.

Step 1: Greeting – The greeting sets the tone for the entire telephone call and often for the appointment that follows. Courtesy is always the key. It’s also important to use the person’s formal name right at the beginning.

“Good morning, Mr. Jackson.”

This demonstrates proper respect. Saying “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or “good evening” sets you apart from average salespeople.

Step 2: Introduction – Unless your company name identifies what your product is, you’ll need a one or two sentence introduction to capture their interest right away. Always state what you do in terms of benefits to your prospect.

“We specialize in helping families save energy costs while beautifying their homes at the same time.”

Step 3: Gratitude – Always thank your the person you’re calling for allowing you a moment of his or her time out of their busy schedule. Express sincere gratitude and tell them that you won’t waste a moment of it.

“I want to thank you for visiting with me this morning, Mr. Jackson. I promise to be brief.”

Keep the mood conversational. Don’t even hint that you might rush through anything. That would be unprofessional.

Step 4: Purpose – This is where you tell the person on the other end why you’re calling. Up to this point, you’ve simply been polite enough for them not to want to hang up on you, and you’ve piqued their interest. The best way to get to your purpose is with a question they must answer.

“What would you say if we can show you a way to save as much as $300 per year on your energy bill? Would you be interested?”

This gets them thinking about their desire to save money. If you indicate you have an easy answer to a question many homeowners labor over, the door to the appointment is swung open wide.

Step 5: Appointment – If they ask how long the appointment will take, be prepared to answer with: “We won’t take any more time than you’ll give us. Would Wednesday at 6PM or Thursday at 7:15 be best for you?” Phrasing the question this way gives the prospect a choice, while still keeping you in control of the situation. You don’t want to have the prospect say, “I’ll have to get back to you.”

Step 6: Telephone Thank You – Thank Mr. Jackson for his time. Reconfirm the date, time and location of the appointment. Get directions at this time. If you’re not familiar with the part of town in which he lives, get details, landmarks or whatever other information will help you to find the location and arrive on time.

Step 7: Thank You Note or Message – Immediately follow the phone call with a Thank You Note or email confirming the details and demonstrating, once again, your professionalism. Here are the words that many salespeople have found useful:

Thank you for talking with me on the telephone. In today’s world, time is precious. You can rest assured that I will always be respectful of the time you invest as we discuss the possibility of serving your needs. I’ll do my best to provide you with valuable information when I visit with you on Tuesday, March 25th at 7:15PM.

This type of note is both basic courtesy and good business. It makes the commitment real in the mind of the prospect. If appropriate for your business, use quality letterhead and include a business card with your photo on it. This increases the prospect’s comfort level–having an idea of what you look like prior to the visit.

It’s long been said that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. These seven simple steps are easy to apply and will make all the difference in the number of appointments you confirm.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International. Inc.

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