You don’t have much time to make a first impression. Whether it’s face to face or on the phone (and even in writing), first impressions count. So, your opening gambit had better be pretty good to get the result you need. But lots of telemarketers wing it. They fail to prepare adequately and rely on their ‘personality’ and ability to think on the spot. But there’s an inherent risk to that strategy. Misjudge the approach or come across in the wrong way and you set yourself up for rejection. And, if you’re on a call with your most important prospect, that is most definitely not something you want to do.
Those all-important first few seconds are likely to be critical for b2b telemarketing success. So it pays to think before you jump in.
Where are the gaps that need to be plugged? Check out our key points below and make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
- Understand the market for your products
Sounds obvious but the more conversant you are with the market in which you operate and your products and services that cater for those markets, the more confident you’re likely to be when talking to a prospect. That’s especially the case when a prospect fires back questions or objections.
- Plan your first 2 sentences
No one likes stilted and scripted calls. We’ve all experienced poor quality cold calling with this kind of stiff intro. In reality though, a consistent well-delivered intro message is essential for telemarketing success. It’ll stop you fluffing your lines. But make sure it sounds like it trips off the tongue rather than something being read off a crib sheet or you’ll quickly push the prospect away.
- Understand who you’re calling
You need to understand what motivates individual prospects. A finance director has different challenges to an IT director and likewise compared to a sales director. Your opening line therefore needs to adapt to and cater for the differing needs of your audience. One size does not fit all. If you use the same opener for everyone, it’s likely that it won’t resonate with a good number of your prospects.
- Stop talking about yourself
I once heard a very confident telemarketer use the following on a cold call intro.
‘Hello Mr Jones. This is Adam from ABC Company. The reason for my call today is that we’re looking to increase our market share in your sector and I’d like to see how we can assist you with your travel needs’.
The response was pretty much ‘how nice that you want to use my business to increase your market share. What about me?’
The caller didn’t lack motivation, confidence or ambition. However, his modus operandi left a lot to be desired.
- Are you an express train or a sleeper?
Ever had someone talk at you at 100 miles per hour so you can’t get a word in? Or have you been put to sleep by someone so boring that you’re desperate to get away? Pace is important in a successful cold call. It’s about getting the pace just right so that it’s easy on the ear. If you’re a quick talker, make an effort to slow down. If you lack pace, work on how you come across since a sluggish call won’t promote your services to the prospect.
- How do you sound?
How you sound is crucial to how you’re perceived and to building rapport on the telephone. If your voice is dull from the get-go or you come across as a used car salesman when you trot out your first words, there’s a good chance you won’t get deep into conversation with your prospect. Conviction and credibility are transmitted through tonality. You have to be careful not to sound presumptuous or arrogant but confidence is vital. Equally, you can hear a smile on the phone. A sunny disposition will take you far since it comes across in your tone on the phone.
- Questions not answers
Ever chatted to a know it all? Been on the receiving end of a sales pitch? Not nice is it? Effective telemarketing is a two-way flow and an exchange of information. It’s about engaging and it’s about conversation. That can’t happen if you jabber away non-stop right from the moment the prospect says ‘hello’. You need an effective opening line then ensure that you introduce a pause followed by the right question. Good questions open dialogue. If you get the blend right, the call will flow. You will be more likely to achieve your objective and less likely to fall flat on your face in the early part of the call.
- Believe you can
Of course, you can’t win them all. But belief in yourself and your offer is likely to propel you forward rather than hold you back. So, if you go into the start of a call with the expectation that your prospect won’t be interested, the chance of success will diminish significantly. Become an optimist and you’ll project that positive vibe into how you’re perceived and you’ll notice the difference in your results.
If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business through managing the enquiry management process via telemarketing or you’d like to book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.