Sales & marketing

Telesales just got easier

Your sales structure for outbound calls can be summarised using the well know acronym AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) we will explore at a high level what should be happening during a telemarketing call.

Open the call then set your agenda

The opening minutes of any sales call are vital. You must remember that rapport is built immediately, so how you sound is important. Everyone makes decisions about who they are talking to in seconds. This is why it is so important to sound great, as we are immediately graded and however we do will be the starting point of the relationship. We are now at the beginning of the process of building rapport and developing what we hope will be a long term, profitable relationship – so sound fantastic!

When we meet someone for the first time we typically shake hands, smile and then swap business cards. On a call we also have some definable stages that can be measured and optimised. The opening part of the call is where we ask low risk questions which may, or may not concern their business. We might have a common interest, or even know the same group of people. Working on the phone is not really so different but in many ways is harder, as we have no visual clues and can only ‘hear’ how the prospect is reacting. This is where you learn that different approaches to different people will get different results.

During the opening stage of your telemarketing campaign you should keep to a realistic timescale with clear definable objectives. Understand early on that no rapport means no sales regardless of how good your product or service is. The real purpose is to introduce yourself to your prospects, establish rapport, before moving into the business part of the call. Another tip is to avoid being too familiar with your prospect – it rarely works even if you know them! Asking low risk questions is easier than going for a bullseye in less than 30 seconds! Be friendly, but not over familiar. We cannot get along with everyone but we can be professional regardless of who they are.

The next stage is to set your agenda in your opening statement (prepared earlier please). The purpose of the agenda is to put you in control and establish how the telemarketing sales call will be structured. It also gives you the right to ask questions.

Ask great questions

Selling is about identifying and then solving problems. The next stage therefore is to ask questions in order to find and explore customer problems. It usually relates to one or some of the following areas that need exploring including: contact, organisation, current supplier, challenges, needs, decision making process, competition and finance.

We ask questions at this stage for two main reasons. Firstly to gather facts and secondly to identify attitudes, problems and needs. Essentially, we are taking a temperature check.

One important factor here is how we structure our questions and the quality of the questions we ask. Open questions (starting with how, what, where, when, why) encourage the customer to talk, and closed questions (those that can only be answered with a yes/no) give us specific information.

The sequence of our questions can be very important, especially when a customer is only willing to divulge a little information. We need to listen out for buying signals and ask follow-up questions at the appropriate time.

One of the key issues is being able to ask questions, then listening to the answer without interrupting. (Interrupting and speaking over someone will not win you any friends!) This is common sales behaviour and customers find it most irritating, sometimes worse. Also, while we are talking we are cutting off the supply of free information coming from the prospect.

Identify needs

The process of asking questions will clarify the customer’s needs and give you a clear idea of whether a feature or features of your product could solve those problems and satisfy the customers’ needs.

Usually, we see the need for our products and or services before our customers do. They see problems rather than needs and there could be a range of potential solutions.

When people buy they also have a number of buying criteria. This usually means there are a limited number of reasons to buy that are of greatest interest to them. People don’t buy for lots of reasons. They have their own buying criteria, which we will need to establish.

Also, it has been shown that people buy on only two levels; Logic and Emotion.

Their logical buying behaviour wants to know if the solution they are choosing is technically correct. Their emotional buying behaviour is asking for reassurance that their decision is a good one and they are not making a mistake.

Present the solution

Having clarified the customer’s problems and identified needs, present the Features, Advantages and Benefits of your own product in such a way that the solution matches the needs of the customer. An important issue here is timing. We cannot present effectively if we haven’t identified their main buying criteria. When we present we must also be aware that we are not just listing a series of features. We must match the feature that solves the problem turning features into benefits.

The most common mistakes made by salespeople is to present too much information too early in the sales process. We need to look at the problem from the buyers’ perspective. Think about it and ask yourself this question ‘If I was in their position, how much information would I need and when would I need it?’

Gain commitment using a trial close

Having presented a solution that meets the customer’s needs the next phase is to gain commitment, to go ahead or else for some future action that will move you nearer towards the sale being made. You will usually meet with objections at various stages of the sales process and techniques will be developed for dealing with objections later in the programme. One of the problems with asking for commitment is that we sometimes lack confidence and fear rejection. It is important that we keep control of the sales process and maintain responsibility for moving to the next stage of the process and taking the customer with us. A trial close will flush out any last minute objection. Once you are satisfied that there are no additional objections you can present your solution.

Your final step

Once you have presented your final solution you can then close the sale (or move to the next stage). Remember if you break down complex sales into manageable chunks you will be able to move forward far quicker. Gaining commitment for a meeting, a trial or whatever your objective is means that you have created a logical structure and you have achieved your call objectives. With practice everything becomes so much easier. But then if telemarketing was so easy everyone would be a runaway success – you know just how hard it is and the fact that you may make it look easy is a real skill!

Originally posted 2022-10-05 11:50:58.

Mike Palman
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Mike Palman

Michael Palman, a global Master Sales Coach and author. Mike helps people and businesses do more, do it better and get the results that they want. Mike has had a successful career in sales for over 25 years and now helps other salespeople get the sales edge. Mike lives in both the UK and South Africa.

Telesales just got easier

by Mike Palman Time to read: 4 min