Breaks the fear of calling:
In today’s economic environment, decision makers are inundated with cold calls from people trying to sell them something. It is no wonder that the rejection rate is so high and sellers are frustrated and demoralized. Here are some tips to increase your hit rate when planning a deal:
Expand your list of potential customers:
Good lists are available through list brokers, industry associations or chambers of commerce. Building a good prospect list is essential for any successful business development effort:
What are your target industries?
How big is the company you normally work for (by revenue or number of employees)?
In what geographical area do you sell?
Prequalify your list / intelligence collection:
You may encounter a lot of pushback when calling companies, simply because their product or service does not fit your needs well. If you do not ask yourself the question “what does my ideal view look like?” you lose valuable time and become extremely frustrated. Here are some examples of how to develop a pre-qualification strategy:
What is the title of the person who usually buys your product or service?
What are the two or three questions that can help you eliminate the companies that do not fit well? For example, say you are an energy management company selling control solutions, you may want to identify companies with more than 100,000 square feet of office space that own your building, which instead has a control system, makes it at least 3 years old, and has a company mandate to to reduce general / utilities.
Start calling your prospect list from Nomadux to pre-qualify – For this step, connect with people further down the business ladder to gather your information. You will find that managers are much easier to contact than decision makers.
Once you identify that a company qualifies based on the answers to your questions, take a quick look at their website to get a better idea of the company and record any key data that may be useful in future conversations.
Make sure to mark each potential customer appropriately; those requiring immediate follow-up, those in need of short- or long-term care, and those who did not qualify.
Do not underestimate the importance of pre-qualification, it takes some time, but the payout for your efforts will be a higher closing percentage when you submit your presentation to the decision maker.
A word of caution, but start with just one sample from your list to pre-qualify. There is nothing worse than pre-qualifying an entire list only to find out that you should have asked an additional pre-qualifying question or two.
Develop a script but sound not written:
You know your product or service from the inside out, so why do you need to develop a script? Because in the call calling industry, you have 30 seconds or less to get someone’s attention, so you better get your pitch right.
Your script will only be there for reference, by no means do I suggest that you actually use it ‘literally’ when calling.
Never start your conversation by asking, “How are you?” It seems sincere, so save your courtesies to people with whom you have an established relationship.
If you are calling to make an appointment, briefly introduce your business and ask if it is a good time to talk. If so, you can now give them the speech (if not, ask if there would be a more convenient time to call back and take a note for follow-up).
Start by talking about your business based on your intelligence gathering; “John, I spoke with your plant manager, Bob Smith, and I understand that your company has a mandate to further reduce its energy costs, but I also understand that your control system is a four-year technology.”
Then see if a project you just completed in another company that has a similar profile in terms of size or industry, e.g. Is possible; “We just completed a project with Mount Sinai Hospital that originally had the same technology as theirs. After installing our system, they were able to effectively reduce their bills by 20% with an expected ROI of 2.5 years.
At this point, you need to ask a few questions – it’s important that you involve the potential customer in the conversation, and questions are a great way to enable interaction. E.g;
“John, have you considered upgrading your technology to take advantage of more savings?