Dialing for Dollars
I’ve received a couple calls from telemarketers within the last day or so. One of them opened with, “Hey, how’s it going?” as though he were a friend. When I asked, “Who is this?” he ignored my question and launched into his pitch. Click. The second opened by asking me if he was speaking to the owner of the house…while he was yawning. I simply said, “No, thank you” and hung up. Now, I may be a tough sell, but surely they could have done better than that to get and hold my attention for the duration of their call.
Telemarketers and other sales folks who sell by phone typically experience rejection rates of over 80%. That’s a tough hurdle to jump over day after day, but there are ways to make this task easier on both the sales person and the target, which in turn can lower that rejection rate. Even if phone selling is only a small part of your overall approach, it can be beneficial to make some changes. It’s all about the way you approach the call and the specific wording you use. Making simple changes to your phrasing can make a world of difference in how you’re perceived and received by your target. Here are a few simple phrases that you will want to eliminate completely from your sales vocabulary.
- “How are you today” If you ask this question on the phone of someone you don’t know, it’s understood to be insincere and meaningless. And what if they reply, “Oh, my arthritis is really giving me problems today…”? Would you actually follow the conversation down that path? Of course not, and then you’re stuck having to basically ignore their comment and plow right on through. Not polite and won’t be received well. Instead of meaningless pleasantries, get to the point. Tell your target about what you have to offer and how it can benefit them. You want to transition from ‘annoyance’ to ‘benefit’ as quickly as possible.
- “Just a minute”, or “Hang on” First of all, it’s much too informal for a business call with someone you don’t know personally. Secondly, and most importantly, YOU called THEM, now you’re asking them to ‘hang on’?? This is unforgivable if you’re trying to get your target to spend their time listening to you and agreeing to do business with you. If your target has asked a question that you need to find the answer to, tell them, “I can get that information for you, are you able to wait a few minutes or would you prefer I follow up later with that information?”
- “You have to” As in, “If you want the best pricing you have to….” Remember, your target doesn’t have to do anything! This is a very effective way to infuriate your target and lose the call. A much softer way to convey the exact same meaning is to replace this phrase with “you would need to”
- “I can’t” or “You can’t” Never say in a sales call that something can’t be done. The way to handle this is to completely skip the negative response and go straight to what can be done. Replace these negative phrases with “Here’s what we can do” or “Your options are…”. This way you make the target feel like they have choices and are in control. It will take a lot of practice to refrain from leading with a negative phrase, but if you’re aware of it, you will get the hang of it quickly and notice a dramatic difference in how your targets respond.
- “But” This is a similar negative to ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’. Again, it will take conscious practice to eliminate this word from your sales vocabulary, but the results will be well worth the effort. Notice the difference between saying, “We can special order that for you, but it costs an additional $50” or saying, “Yes, we can special order that for you. I’ll need to add an additional $50 fee”. Notice how there was no negative statement in the second version. It was entirely positive even though the exact same information was being given. Makes a huge difference, wouldn’t you say?