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Achieving Sales on the Telephone – Effective outbound calls

Posted March 22nd, 2007

The key to making effective outbound calls is structure. The most effective telephone sales person will have a set process for contacting customers and will stick to it, no matter what the temptation to alter their methods. Most outbound call agents will use a ‘working list’ to contact customers, it is important that you approach this list methodically and the following approach will help you to remain effective.

Define your ideal customer – The best way to predict who your future customers will be is to understand who your past customers have been. For instance, if by looking at your past client base you realise that the majority of your orders have come from the 18 – 30 year old bracket, then this would likely be the best people to focus your attention on. Of course age isn’t the only consideration to make. You may also want to look at geography, past buying patterns, interests etc.

Develop a good ‘script’ – A good script or series of specific questions is the most important thing you can do to improve your effectiveness when selling on the telephone. This becomes even more important when you are making outbound calls.

Some people resist the idea of using a script. They argue that it is better to sound natural and this will help build the relationship with the customer. The trick is to use the script as a series of prompts or reminder of what to say rather than reading it verbatim. This way you can concentrate on how you say things as opposed to what you are saying. More importantly, it allows you to focus on what the customer is saying and helps you tailor your conversation to suit.

The script should be seen as a method of allowing you to be flexible in your approach as opposed to being a restraint.

Eliminate – The trouble with making outbound sales calls is you usually have absolutely no idea of the level of interest of the recipient until you have called them. It may be that the first ten people you call are all interested in what you have to sell. Alternatively, it may be the last ten! You role is simply to find those people that are interested and temporarily eliminate those that are not. It is useful to methodical in your approach to calling customers.

It is tempting to disregard the customers that you couldn’t reach or did not show an immediate interest. However, a good salesperson will ensure that they follow-up on all of these opportunities. In order to ensure you keep track of the customers you have previously called, it is useful to create a system of note-taking. If a customer is not available then you should make a good clear note of this next to their contact details, or you could mark their level of interest from 1 – 3. By using this system you will ensure that you are fully prepared when it is time to call them again. Although this may seem tedious, it is a lot better than having to call a prospect ‘cold’.

Persist – A good telephone salesperson will develop a thick skin throughout their career. You will need to accept rejection as part of the job and consider each new call as a new opportunity. Even the most hardy individual will get despondent at times, it is useful to set your expectations early on and realise that you will not be able to convert the large majority of calls you make. This does not mean that the customer will never buy from you, just not today.

By making clear notes on your call list, you will be able to re-work an old list and even convert some previous rejections. The key to outbound sales is to never give up!

You can find valuable training material on Achieving Sales on the Telephone on our website Trainer Bubble. These course materials include everything you need to develop your sales team and can be downloaded instantly.

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