Securing sales leads from your company’s voice processes continues to be one of the most effective and reliable ways of generating sales prospects, even while the business landscape continues to change, and while departmental workflows adapt to those changes. While other methods of generating prospects are certainly available, there’s still a comforting human aspect to reaching out as a representative of your company to prospects who may be interested in purchasing your products or services.
Cold calls like this may not always have a high percentage of success, at least in terms of converting viable prospects into paying customers, but a cheerful phone call can always create a favorable impression of your company in the minds of people you call. Here are some steps you can follow to achieve the best chances of success during your calling efforts.
Qualify Your Sales Leads
As companies acquire leads, it’s a good idea to have them qualified or categorized based on their likelihood to purchase. Not all leads have the same level of receptiveness to your product or service, and some companies like to qualify that level of receptiveness in terms of just how likely it is that a given lead would be interested.
For the most part, this level of interest has to be gauged by prior sales history, as well as various data about their background and their living circumstances. It’s worth taking the time to research information that you may have about all sales leads before making a call, so that you can demonstrate you’ve done your homework, and that you have a genuine interest in their needs and desires.
You can also save yourself a lot of time by discovering ahead of time that there is very little chance a particular lead might be interested in your product or service. This is not to say that you should abandon the lead altogether, but you may not want to put them near the top of your call list.
Start at the Top
If you’re calling a business professional at another company, you’re better off trying contact the decision-maker at that other company immediately, rather than allowing yourself to be transferred to some other lower-level person in the department. Most likely, you’ll be wasting your time and the other person’s as well, by making a sales pitch that is probably destined to fall on deaf ears, and may never even reach the person you were hoping to talk to.
Even if the manager you were hoping to reach does receive word of your phone call, it’s more than likely that he/she will simply ignore it as one more call which might take time from his/her busy day.
Pay Attention to Time-of-day
While there may not be an absolute best time of day to contact a person with your sales pitch, there are certainly some bad times that you want to avoid altogether. For instance, if you call a prospect late in the afternoon on a Friday, you can almost be guaranteed that nothing will come of it. At that point in the week, anyone you call is likely to be thinking about the upcoming weekend and will be annoyed at having to field a sales pitch.
Statistics show that the most successful sales pitches occur early in the morning, and then again somewhere around mid-afternoon. The single best time to call has historically been anywhere between the hours of 8 and 10 AM, and then again between the hours of 2 and 4 PM. To give yourself the best chance of success, try to slot as many of your calls in these periods as possible.
Don’t Press for a Firm Answer
It’s not a good idea to press your prospect for a firm answer one way or the other because, in effect, you’re putting him/her on the spot. When you do that, in the vast majority of cases, you’ll find that the prospect retreats to the safer option and chooses in the negative.
It’s probably a better approach to create a positive product impression in the mind of your listener by extolling the advantages and benefits of your product or service, and how that will solve an issue or a problem that you believe the prospect has.
Establish a Relationship
It’s almost more important that you work toward establishing a relationship with your prospect, rather than securing any kind of commitment to purchase. Once you’ve established a relationship with your prospect, the sales pitch can come at a later time, and will probably be received more warmly.
If you attempt to cover too much ground in an initial conversation or in a second conversation, it becomes too obvious that you’re pressing for a sale, and it’s harder for the prospect to believe you have his/her best interests at heart. In the early communications you have with any prospect, focus your efforts on engaging them, and creating some kind of bond between you. You’ll probably find that it gets easier to relate as time goes by, and easier to make a legitimate proposal that will help to solve their problems. With these tips in mind, you will experience greater productivity when engaging potential sales leads.