By Wendy Weiss
Who doesn't need a little encouragement once in a while when they pick up the phone to call new sales prospects. Cold Calling for Women, by Wendy Weiss, is packed with practical tips on how to rehearse what you want to say, how to get a prospect on the phone, and how to keep his attention. Although Weiss has aimed her thoughts at women, her suggestions are pretty gender-neutral.
The following excerpt is from Chapter 15.
Tip No. 9 Give your prospect your complete attention. People buy from people they like and people with whom they are comfortable. In the same way, your prospects schedule meetings with people with whom they like and are comfortable. So be courteous, be genuine, and listen! When your prospect tells you of her concerns, try to repeat them back to her. This does two things, it shows your prospect that you are listening and makes sure that you get it right! If you do not, your prospect can correct you and then you will get it right!
Tip No. 10 Think of your prospect as someone you know, someone who is open and interested.
Tip No. 11 Use directed words. For example, when you ask to speak with your prospect, say: "Jane Jones, please." and not "May I speak with Jane Jones?" The first sentence conveys authority, the second asks permission. Another example: ask, "Whom should I speak with?" and not "Do you know whom I should speak with?" Again, the first conveys authority. In the second sentence, the response could simply be "yes" or "no."
Tip No. 12 Whether trying to ascertain a good time to call your prospect back or trying to schedule a meeting, it is a good idea to give alternate choices. "Is this afternoon good or would tomorrow morning be better?" It is much easier for your prospect to decide when rather than whether.
Tip No. 13 Call when the prospect is in. Call when you know you can reach the prospect. Early, late, lunchtime.... Call when the secretary said to call back.
Tip No. 14 Keep adding new telephone numbers to your list. You do not want to keep calling the same numbers over and over. You want to keep adding telephone numbers so that you are calling a mix of new leads and older leads.
Tip No. 15 If you keep reaching a secretary or assistant, do not call more than three times a day. This is one reason to keep adding new names to your list. If you keep reaching voice mail, however, you can call as often as you wish.
Tip No. 16 Write everything down, or enter the information in your database. The better your records, the easier your calls will be.
Tip No. 17 If you are put on hold at the switchboard, go to another call. If you are actually holding for your prospect and you've been on hold for a while, you can hang up then call back. Say, "I was holding for (prospect's name) and I was disconnected -- Is she available?" This way you'll either get through to your prospect or find out when to call back.
Tip No. 18 When setting up meetings for someone else, you can say things about them that they cannot. Don't be afraid to gush. Point out all relevant personality traits; "She is so talented," "She is so down-to-earth," "She really understands this business." You get the idea. Coming from a second party, these types of statements are very powerful. If you say them about yourself, however, you simply sound like a braggart.
Tip No. 19 Handling automated telephone-answering systems. When you encounter the type that is sometimes used to replace the receptionists (dial 1 for this, 2 for that...), try reach a human. Dial 0 for Operator and try, "Before you connect me..." or randomly dial numbers until you reach a person. Identify yourself and say, "I'm hoping you can help me... I need to reach... Who would that be?"
Tip No. 20 After a success, keep calling!
Tip No. 21 Take a break when you need one. There is no sense in blowing leads simply because you are tired. You must, of course, distinguish between a legitimate need for a break and just trying to put off making calls.
Tip No. 22 Be persistent! Keep making telephone calls.
Excerpted from Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors & Closing Sales, by Wendy Weiss. ©Copyright 2000 Wendy Weiss. Reprinted with permission of the publisher D.F.D. Publications Inc.