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How can I use telemarketing better in sales and marketing my business?

Preparation for cold-calling.

Entrepreneur

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The aspect of selling that strikes the greatest fear in people’s hearts is usually cold calls. A good way to make cold calls more appealing is to stop thinking of them as “cold” calls. Try thinking of them as “introductory” calls instead. All you’re trying to do is introduce yourself and your business to the prospect.

It’s important to understand the purpose of introductory calls so you have a realistic attitude about this type of business development activity. Phone prospecting takes longer to pay off than other types of marketing efforts, so go into it knowing you are exploring a new frontier, and it’s going to take some time to get results.

Just as with any marketing method, you should never make introductory calls without a plan.

Firstly, always use a targeted list of prospects when making your calls.

If your product is household cleaning services, why call a random neighbourhood if you have no knowledge of income levels, number of household wage earners or number of children? If you sell nutritional products to hospitals, why call nurses or doctors if a third-party pharmacy makes all the buying decisions? Get the right list of prospects.

You can obtain information about prospects from the list broker who provides you with the list; if you are working from your house list, you should already have the information. If for some reason you don’t, try an introductory call like the following: “We provide mobile pet grooming for dogs and cats. Would that be a service your customers would want to know about, Mr/Mrs Veterinarian?”

Next, determine the best timeframes for calling.

If you are selling financial services to upper-income CEOs or entrepreneurs, wouldn’t it be nice to know when their corporate fiscal year ends? Perhaps most of their investment purchases are made two to four weeks prior to that year-end close-out. That’s when they know how much extra income needs to be sheltered in a pension plan.

Sometimes timing is your ace in the hole. Granted, follow-up calls throughout the year may make that one important sale possible, but knowing when to instigate the first call is a priceless piece of information.

Thirdly, plan by preparing a “sales script” ahead of time.

Write down what you are going to say, what responses the prospect is likely to have and how you will reply to them. No, you’re not going to follow this word for word, but if you’re nervous about making calls, it helps to have something in front of you. Chances are, after you get beyond the opening sentences, you’ll be able to “wing it” just fine.

Cold Calling Tips

If preparation for cold-calling is easy but actually making calls is painful for you, here are seven easy steps to get you on the phone fast:

1. Personalise each call by preparing mentally

Your mindset needs to be aligned with your language, or the conversation will not ring true. You need to work on developing a warm but not sugar-coated telephone voice that has that “Don’t I know you?” or “Gee, you sound familiar” ring to it.

2. Perfect your phone style alone before making any phone calls

If you are self-conscious about phoning, you need to feel safe to act uninhibited. Try this: gather a tape recorder, a mirror, a sales journal of incoming and outgoing phone scripts, a pen and a legal-sized pad. Either write or select a favourite phone dialogue; then talk to yourself in the mirror. Do you look relaxed, or are your facial expressions rigid? Our exteriors reflect our inner selves. If you look like you’re in knots, your voice will sound strained as well.

Push the “record” button on your tape recorder, and pretend you’re talking to a new prospect. Play back the tape and listen to your conversation. Ask yourself how you could improve your delivery. If your voice seems unnatural and the dialogue contrived, do not despair. As you practise and participate in real phone experiences, you will improve. Mastering the art of cold-calling is no different than improving your golf swing or skiing technique.

3. Create familiarity all around you

Use family photos, framed testimonial letters, motivational quotes, or whatever gets you in a positive, enthusiastic mood. If you like, play some music that inspires you.

4. Use your imagination

Pretend you are a prospective customer phoning a bookstore to see if they have a book in stock. If it helps, record how you sound to get the feel of your inquiring phone voice. It’s always easier to imagine you’re a customer in need of information than a salesperson trying to force your way into the customer’s time. The inquiry call is good practice because the tone of the conversation is “Can you help me?” or “I need some information”. Try to convey that same attitude when you use the phone to contact future customers.

5. Watch your tone of voice

You do not want to sound sheepish and embarrassed, nor do you want to be arrogant. The ideal tone is warm, businesslike, curious and straight to the point. A good option is a question or a cut-to-the-chase statement such as: “I’ve got a problem. We are offering a two-for-one special during the next 30 days on all our coffee drinks, just to get people into the store. I need to know if you have ever stopped in while shopping at the mall, and, if not, why not? We have got the greatest ice-blended mochas in town.”

6. Make your goal a fast “50 in 150” – that is, 50 calls in 150 minutes

Three minutes per call is all you need. With so many voicemail systems intercepting calls today, this should be easy. Never give people the impression you have time to chat. Chatting is not prospecting. You’re on a mission. Get to the point, then move to the next prospect.

7. Take five after 15

After 15 calls, take a five-minute break – stretch, eat, drink, turn on some tunes and pat yourself on the back because you’re making it happen. Then grab the phone for 15 more calls.
Your initial cold call typically will not result in a sale, or even in an appointment to make a sales presentation. One study shows it takes an average of seven contacts, impressions or follow-ups to make a sale. Think of each follow-up contact as a chance to get closer to the prospect and change his or her mind about meeting with you. Plan your follow-up contacts carefully, and be flexible and creative.

How do you start the follow-up call? Here are some lead-in lines:

  • “I thought of a few things that might help you decide…”
  • “Something recently happened that I thought you might want to know about…”
  • “There has been a change in the status of…”
  • “I just was thinking about you recently and I wanted to tell you about…”

Here are other sales tools you can use in follow-up situations:

  • A personal note: A handwritten note on your company note cards is far more effective than a typed business letter.
  • An endorsement from a mutual friend: A friend is far more influential than you are.
  • An article about your company: Something in print can work wonders. You can even send articles about the prospect’s company or, better yet, about a personal interest of the prospect “Thought you might be interested in…”
  • An invitation to visit your facility: Bring the prospect to your home turf.
  • A meal: Meetings in a non-business environment are powerful and help you build personal relationships that lead to sales.

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How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

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Marc Pillay

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How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, however, they can be rectified in many cases. If the wrong amount of money is transferred, it can be reversed; if the wrong information is given, it can be corrected with a polite apology.

In business matters too, there is a ‘second chance’ that allows for an error to be straightened out and which sometimes can even be turned into an advantage. But there is one time when this is not the case: The first impression.

Making a good first impression is an opportunity that must be maximised. The old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Research has shown that first impressions are of critical importance for three out of four buyers – that is a whopping 75%. Some aspects of your external appearance play a role here, but mostly it is what you say, how you say it and also what is conveyed non-verbally.

It’s all about tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language, and it’s about capturing the mood in which the customer finds them self at that moment.

The following points can help you make a positive first impression on the customer:

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Do you already take all of those factors into consideration? If not, try to pay attention to them, and you will quickly see that you will have greater success with them.

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The one surprisingly simple success tactic that works every time.

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Customers want to be taken seriously. Someone who invests money does not only want to receive a product or service. It’s also important to make the customer feel appreciated and on an equal playing field with the sales person.

To do this is surprisingly simple: Address him by his name. By doing this throughout the sales conversation, not only when you greet him, your communication with him becomes much more personal and ‘warmer’.

Nothing is more unpleasant than talking to a person face to face not knowing his name – this has certainly happened to all of us at some point. But how can we possibly remember the names of all our customers?

Here are a number of tips that will help you:

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  • Repeat the name from time to time during the conversation
  • Memorise the person behind the name – face, figure, voice, distinctive characteristics
  • Try to link the customer’s name to an image. Convert his name into a picture, and link objects or situations to it. The saying also applies in this case: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

You’ll see that after just a short while, the names of your customers will stick in your memory much more easily, and your customer interaction will become more promising.

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My sales are ticking over nicely but I’d like to increase them now, as I feel that we have the capacity to meet increased demand. Can you give me any advice on how to go about growing sales?

The first thing you need to do is reassess your sales strategy and its impact on sales. Look at what’s working and what isn’t. Once you’ve done that, you can consider introducing some new sales strategies, such as finding new ways to sell more to existing customers, or even how you can find brand new customers. Perhaps you’re charging too little. And your marketing strategy could probably do with an overhaul to ensure it’s relevant in today’s marketplace.

Read the full article here.

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