Are Your Competition Getting the Leads You Want?

Making A Sales Call

We must get as many parts of our communication process working for us as possible.

How often when you dial in to retrieve your messages do you find blank ones where the caller just hung up?

Do you have a personalised voice mail message delivered in a friendly tone? While making business phone calls this week I found that only two thirds of the people I called had personalised voice mails. These are business people! And a large chunk of them are sales people.

So why do you think this is? Is it one of those things that they keep meaning to do? Or maybe they’ve tried recording it a few times and hated the result so just left it to the default mobile provider automated version? Or is it that they don’t think it’s that important?

Let’s look at the consequences. The objective of having a voice mail facility from a business point of view is to allow you to know that someone called so you can start or continue a conversation. If you are in sales it’s even more vital: it could be the start or continuation of an enquiry or request for help.

Let’s imagine you are in a meeting or the signal has dropped out. A Prospect who is considering you as well as a few other options gets your voicemail:

It’s the default option: “You are through to the (insert mobile telecoms company) voice mail service for number 1234 567899, please leave a message after the tone…”

The Prospect thinks; “have I dialled the right person, maybe I misdialled?” They hang up without leaving details. They’re busy and make a mental note to check later.  In the meantime they speak to one of the other providers of your services and leave a message with another (they had a personalised voice mail message so the Prospect at least knew they had the right person.) They start to engage with the other providers and their thoughts are at risk of moving away from your option.  The result: missed opportunity! The others engaged…

What kind of greeting should you record? It’s worth including these ingredients:

Smile! It can be heard a mile off.

Friendly tone, remember the point is to encourage a message!

Appropriate greeting – one that is natural to you and tell them they are through to your voicemail*

Ask them to leave a message and suggest when you will be able to respond (or details of alternative point of contact for urgent help if relevant.)

Thank them for calling- every little courtesy counts for a lot!

*My friend and excellent Coach, Sharon, has such a personalised approach to her voicemail with the way she answers it you actually think it’s her in the flesh at first. What an effective communicator!

Definitely use the facility to listen back to your message before setting it. It might take a few attempts before you’re happy with it. Even professional voice over artists can take multiple goes before they get a performance right.

Have a listen to your voicemail message, does it sound like you are encouraging interaction? The proof statement is how often when you dial into your voicemail do you hear a blank message as the caller hangs up without saying anything!

What’s your experience of great voicemails you’ve heard?

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Don’t Lose The Sale Before You’ve Even Started

Don't Lose The Sale

Selling is all about helping people make better buying decisions. The trouble is too many salespeople fall into the trap of following their own agenda and end up in a repeated pitch cycle. The buyer stalls and the process quickly loses momentum. They move onto the next opportunity and repeat…

I love to see salespeople take stock of each opportunity, learn from it and improve before the next opportunity. That’s why I’m a sales trainer!

Everyone is busy and short on time so we need practical, easy to digest sales development that gets results. Here’s some questions to work through to help you, as a modern day sales person ensure you quickly demonstrate the behaviours your buyers will respond to. As a result there will be action from both parties- not just you! Ask yourself the following and commit to PROVING:

How can you avoid leading with your company’s product, ensuring you pull back from being in presentation mode?

Establish the understanding level:  re-examine the brief. Do they still have the same objectives? Is there an order of priority with the objectives? Has anything changed since the appointment was set? (Irrespective of how long ago or recently the appointment was set.)

Having established the agenda how can you ensure you have buy-in?

How can you remember to exercise more good listening –this way you come across as a professional problem solver- able to identify real issues and understand more?

How do you come across from the buyer’s perspective: are you there to help or to get something from the conversation?

Is the idea you are suggesting of value and positioned uniquely for the buyer, solving a problem and/ or creating an opportunity?

How can you avoid sounding like you are pitching something as opposed to improving the buyer’s situation and working with them as a partner?

Are you clear on your proposal/ offer and is the buyer clear too? If so are you confident to get their commitment and take action? (Close!)

What concerns might they have and how are you going to answer them?

If you have to give a proposal/ quote have you clarified exactly what they need to see, what is most important to them? There should never be ANYTHING included in a proposal that you have not previously discussed.

I appreciate while reading this it’s easy to say that you know all these things. The way to use this information to your advantage is to look at each point and say “OK so I know it but how will I demonstrate it in this conversation?” or, if you don’t already “how will I do it?”

Apply these principles and they will want to do business with you!

Please share your tips/ questions that help you stay focussed on the buyer’s agenda avoiding the dreaded but all too common product pitch.

Get answers to your sales challenges here.

 

6 Ways to Make Follow -Up Work For You in Sales

Martyn Sloman Speaker Business Show

Professional Persistence

Here are some easy ways to increase the odds of being able to continue the conversations with your clients and Prospects while remaining professionally persistent:

Direct Contact:

Have you got their direct dial number or do you rely on being put through by switchboard? Even better have you got their mobile number- if you are using a CRM system and that field is blank you should see that as an objective to complete. Get in the habit of asking for mobile numbers while you are in the current conversation with your Prospect. Ask in a matter of fact, natural way and you’ll get it.

Make It Easy For Them

Getting their mobile number also creates a further opportunity- texting! Some people are so crazy busy the reason they haven’t responded to you is because they are stacked up with deadlines. Give them a quick text with a simple request and they respond in kind: For example: “Hi Jenny, how did the conversation go with the Operations Director?”

Jenny replies “I’m so sorry I haven’t got back to you- mega busy here, now meeting with Dave on Tuesday- can you call me Wednesday?”

Don’t Blame!

Avoid starting a conversation/ e mail/ text with “We were due to speak last Tuesday…” This just creates a barrier. Instead take that awkwardness away: “I know how busy things get there so let’s schedule a time to pick up our conversation. I’ll call you Thursday at 2pm, or let me know if you’d like to arrange another option…”

Ask Them

Find out what their preferred method of contact is. They may spend time on LinkedIn so send a LinkedIn message. Do it when you see they’ve just posted something or commented. It could even be something as simple as “are you at your desk- can I give you a call?”

Variety

Use a variety of the above spaced out over a period of time, call the direct number, don’t leave a message, a few tries later do leave a message, send a text, play with the days and times you call.

Let Them Tell You

Schedule the next action by asking their opinion: “when will you have the opportunity to review the quote/ proposal?” “When will you have a chance to speak to your colleagues?” “When would be best for us to pick up the conversation?” They will tell you and you can arrange a phone appointment / confirm the next action.

There are always going to be challenges in business which mean the opportunities we are working on don’t take a straightforward direction however we can increase the odds of success by ensuring we are aligned with the Prospect’s objectives. The more compelling reasons they have to consider the solution because you have found a problem you can solve together- the better!

What do you find works for you when following up? What was useful for you in this article? Please comment and share with your connections that you feel would appreciate the content.

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