Are you one of many who are put off by hearing the phrase “cold calling”? No matter whether you are calling someone for private or business purposes it is always helpful to know how to start a conversation on the phone. This is why we’ve collected a few facts and phrases that can help you start a call effectively – from a salesperson’s perspective. Take a look!
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression
Your first contact with your prospect is of tremendous importance, as it leaves the customer with a first impression of you. As you might know, you never get a second chance to leave a good first impression. First impressions are important because, in the first few seconds of a conversation, people decide whether they rather like or they dislike the person they are talking to. Since people usually do business with people they like, it is important to be liked by your prospect in order to increase your chances to have his commitment at the end of the call.
At the beginning of a call, you have to introduce yourself and the company on behalf of which you are calling. Below you can find a few examples of opening sentences.
“Good morning, my name is _____________ and I am calling you on behalf of _____________.”
“Good afternoon, I’m ___________ from ___________.”
“Hello, this is ____________ and I am calling you from _______________.”
The first sentence should be said in an enthusiastic and friendly tone of voice.
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The direct value statement
Whenever you make a telesales call, you must take into account the fact that people never requested to be called. So, at the time you get through to them, they don’t know any reason for talking to you. Every customer answering a telesales call implicitly asks himself the question: “Why should talk to this guy? What’s in it for me?” Catching the prospect’s interest depends on how well you can answer those questions. You can answer them by using both language and tone of voice. It is best that you use a direct value statement which synthesizes the most important advantage of the offer and how the customer can benefit from it. Here are some examples of direct value statements:
“I am calling to let you know how you can decrease your travelling costs.”
“I’d like to tell you about a solution to keeping your finances safe at all times.”
“I am calling to tell you how you can get more value from the money you’re spending on your internet subscription.”
It is advisable not to use the name of the product or any of its features, at this stage. The direct value statement should be formulated so as to trigger the prospect’s curiosity and make him want to hear more.
Permission to proceed to the next stage
After the direct value statement, you must ask the customer whether he is available to continue the conversation. You should do this because you might have called the right customer, but at a wrong moment. He might be doing something else at the moment of your call and might not be able to pay attention to what you have to say. If it is not a right moment, ask when you can call back.
“Can we talk for a few moments?”
“Is this a good time to talk?”
“Do you have a few moments?”
“Would you like to hear more details?”
You should avoid formulating the question in a negative way such as:
“May I take a few moments of your time?”
“May I disturb you for a few moments?”
This kind of formulation implies that you are keeping the prospect from doing something more important, or that he is doing you a favor by talking to you.
Summary of the stage
What you want to get out of the first call is to get the customers interested in having a detailed discussion. For that you need to prevent any objections the prospect might have at this time, by using a powerful direct value statement and an enthusiastic tone of voice. Good luck with all that!
If you want to know more about what it takes to make a successful first phone call, take a look at Telesales written by Dragoş V. Iliescu.
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