For a start-up or small business the prospect of hitting the phones can be pretty daunting. Often it’s the business owner or MD that has to get the sales process rolling and if they’ve never done sales before or haven’t sold anything for a long while it can take some time to get back in the groove. Alternatively, you may just have hired sales staff for the first time and need some solid advice to dispense. Either way, the following telesales tips should get you off on the right foot.
1. Find good data
Cold calling usually leads to low success rates. Try to find contact details for people who have previously enquired about or used a similar product or service to the one you’re selling. Online lead generation is probably the best way to generate new opportunities – either through your own website or via a dedicated online lead generation company.
2. Use a good phone system
This might seem obvious but calling via Skype or a mobile phone does not inspire confidence or create an aura of professionalism. Make sure you’re using a landline, especially for the first call, and that your calls don’t cut out or crackle.
3. Write a script
Being prepared for the call is a large part of the job. Make sure you have a hook to get people interested, something about their company to let them know you’ve taken an interest and are not just calling from a list; if you can link it in with your product all the better. Get the benefits of your product/service in early, have a list of objections to probe for and suitable responses and a few alternative closing lines. At the end of a sale, sum up everything and let the buyer know when you’ll next be in contact. The script should be flexible enough to allow you to improvise while helping you maintain a good call structure.
4. Track your progress
Record all the information you can about each call in a spreadsheet or database. This will help you assess the quality of the data you’re using and the effect of changes to scripts, techniques etc. You’ll also know which calls to follow up and when and the details of any new contacts.
5. Don’t be discouraged
Telesales is hard and most of the time you won’t get a sale. If you start to get dispirited go back and change something – find a new data source or revamp your script and then track how these changes translate into sales. The majority of the people you call will not want to buy anything but there are about 30% with whom the right telesales technique can make a real difference, so keep going until you find the right balance.
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