Prospecting using the Telephone

10 simple tips on using the Telephone when talking with Clients

One of the keys to success in selling is the number of people you talk with on a daily basis. Of all the ways to reach as many people as possible, the telephone has proven to be the most time efficient - an hour or two per day spent prospecting on the phone can put you in touch with so many more people - more people who either want your service, or can refer you to someone they know who does.

Nothing is more de-motivating than making a whole lot of phone calls with no positive results or leads. So why not apply a few sensible strategies to keep you motivated and focused on using the phone to interact with people.

1 Start by ringing the people you already know.
Build your confidence by starting with the people who already know you. Every-one would rather deal with some-one they know so why not make it easy for those who know you. Ring them and remind them of the business you are in. If they don't want help right now they may know some-one who does. Let them know that it's okay to pass a lead to you.

2 Mail something to them first
Having something to talk about is really useful. Use your database and mail market update, newsletter or product selection before calling them. A structured and planned prospecting system will provide you with prescribed mailing dates and follow-up call lists. Work your way through them on a daily basis.

3 Make it a habit and get a head-set
Get yourself committed to at least 10 a day. Then, gradually increase to either 20 or 30 per day. Track yourself on a daily tick sheet. Unless you set a target that increases the number of people you talk with daily, it's too easy to let slip. Make it a habit. And get a head-set. These start from around $80 and are a real benefit for those who need to make notes whilst on the phone. It's just so much easier to make all your calls hands-free. This avoids any potential risk of a sore neck when you clamp the phone under your ear.

4 Be prepared to make the calls after-hours.
Many households have no-one home during the day so set time aside in the evening, say Sunday-through Thursday to call people. Keep going until you speak to 10 minimum.

5 When you have to leave a message on their answer phone get them to call back by asking questions.
Begin your message with a question and follow it with a possible benefit or result that your prospect might be able to get. "Hi Mr Prospect, this is Ian from Salescoach. My reason for calling you today is to ask you a question. I have heard there is a property for sale in your street and was wondering if it was yours. Depending on your answer, I currently have buyers seeking property in your area who are looking to pay top dollar and I could up-date your market assessment based on recent activity."

When you get to speak with them and their answer is no, then ask: "Well I wonder which one it is? Do you happen to know?"

6 Prepare yourself and don't think out loud.
When you are caught on the hop and searching for what to say, don't think out loud. Make sure all your comments add to the conversation and don't attempt to make humour, personal comments, criticism of competitors etc - comments you might regret later

7 Listen carefully to the tone, volume and pace of their voice
When a prospect lowers their voice, it may be to avoid having some-one else over hear the conversation. Could this be important or special information that you need to note. Conversely a raised voice could be some-one trying to control the conversation or some-one trying to impress a bystander.

8 Follow-up all prospects
Never be afraid to call all leads back. You need to be always interviewing people to see if the impression you have of what they want needs modifying. Your initial qualification may be wrong. Look especially at the clients who have not bought what they indicated. In real estate that probably means they need to spend more money or change suburbs.

"Hi Mr Prospect, this is Ian from Salescoach Realty. The reason for my call to-night is that my vendor has asked me to call all my clients and just check where their property sits with you. So based on what you have seen I was wondering where this property sits in your plans tonight."

Yes ask questions and modify your impressions of what they are looking for.

"May I ask a personal question? How long have you been looking? What was the best you've seen to date? Are you considering buying that?

As so far we haven't found the right home for you, I guess we have a couple of options. One is to look at increasing our budget or secondly to consider changing suburbs. Have you thought about which one of those you'd like to explore first? "

9 Be prepared to ask questions to get rid of Objections

Remember that you need to be prepared for the fact that an unsolicited prospect will look for the earliest opportunity to end your call. So go beyond your prepared script and use up-front questions to keep the conversation going.

"Good evening Mr Prospect. His is Ian from Salescoach Realty. I was just ringing to say Hi and to see if you received my recent Newsletter. (Pause) then e.g. I was just wondering what you thought of my comments on the market? "

10 Don't be afraid to use Trial Closes and Questions that end in No
Some of us were brought up on the "Don't use closed questions, use open Questions" strategy. Well you have to know where you stand and often its best to find out an objection early. Giving a prospect their chance to disagree allows them to raise an issue or problem that could grow and end the conversation early. Not handled at source it may turn into an objection you can't overcome.

Checking in with your prospects thinking by using Trial Closes leads your future direction in any conversation.

"Do you see that working for you?"
"Sound good so far?"
"If you had an update in your valuation would that be of value to you?"
"Is there anything else we need to cover before making a final decision?"
"Doesn't it make sense to go in this direction first?"

So don't be afraid of the telephone. We all know how to operate one. So it's not an operational issue. I guess it's a measure of how committed you are to your business success and goals. Make a decision to commit to phoning all prospects - overlook no opportunity or lead in your search to make a sale.

Make some time each day to sit and go through your diary and follow-up all those leads you already have. It's always best to mine the ground under your feet than to continually search for new territory. That's where the strangers dwell. Go there when you have exhausted all your current contacts.

IAN KEIGHTLEY


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