Traditional telephone prospecting methods are not a panacea and the results are often disappointing. Why? There is no magic recipe, nor one absolute and unique method. This is what our telephone prospecting practice for over 12 years has taught us. We note that this activity is reinventing itself every day and is enriched with new uses.
As the starting point of any commercial activity, however, telephone prospecting is of paramount importance in the sales cycle. It should be natural for any salesperson.
But this is rarely the case. This is evidenced by customers who entrust us with the upstream part of the sales cycle: prospecting, detection, and qualification of opportunities. For what reasons? Because their teams do not have the time to prospect, do not know, or do not like.
We are however convinced of one thing: To prospect well, you need know-how, feeling, and above all a lot of common sense.
Discover 6 tips to boost your telephone prospecting practice
1. Set clear goals for each call
“To go somewhere, you have to know where you are going. »And yes, it is obvious, but still it is necessary to think about it before calling! First of all, it is good to define what is the nature of the phone call to make:
- Relaunch or decision-making.
Then, it is necessary to prepare for the telephone calling interview:
- What is its purpose? You must lead to an appointment, information, a name, …
- What steps to take? You advance your pawns like in chess with your qualification cycle in mind.
- What is the context? You intervene following a request from the marketing department, a subscription to a newsletter, a direct request for information, etc.
Every phone call should be helpful. It has to move the qualification process forward. How?
- Ideally: You have reached your interlocutor and have been able to discuss with him;
- Not so good: You contacted him, but he was not available and you made an appointment to call him later;
- Even less well: You contacted him, but he does not take care of the file, so you obtained from him the contact details of people likely to be concerned by the subject.
- Less and less well: You fell on his voicemail and left a message (since you have made 80% of the effort, you might as well take advantage of it and not waste the time spent finding the number, dia. ling it, and waiting for ringtones).
What type of telephone message to leave?
The message on the voicemail box should not be basic and counterproductive such as: “Hello, I am Barnabé from Energie2000 and I wanted to join you as part of our prospecting campaign for new gas offers. I will be sure to call you back. “
On the other hand, you can leave a telephone message able to intrigue and challenge your interlocutor: “Hello, Julien from info plus, uh … (mark a little hesitation which suggests that it bothers you not to join him immediately) ), I wanted to tell you about the storage project. You can call me back on 12 23 23 23. Thank you (End in an assertive and a little rushed tone meaning that you have other things to do besides trying to call, which implies that you are not. not a prospector, but a consultant, salesperson or business engineer) ”. With this type of message, you give yourself a better chance of having a reminder that can lead to an opportunity.
- Even worse: The switchboard blocks you and you try to have another interlocutor;
- Disaster: The switchboard is nominative (which is more and more common), causing a blockage (well, there is not much to do, except better prepare the calls by looking for coordinates on the social networks, for example, like LinkedIn).
2. Adopt the right attitude
“You have to smile on the phone. »Yes, of course… but not all the time!
It is not all about smiling “because it can be heard”. Above all, you have to have an empathetic attitude to make the other person want to listen to you.
- Because you are sympathetic (no one wants to talk to someone unfriendly);
- You present an added value in the speech;
- Because your interlocutor perceives an “equal”, at the same level as him, so he says to himself that:
- You respect him,
- Always you give him time and listening,
- You probably have something interesting to say to him.
Your objective: To give the illusion that you are not doing telephone prospecting. You then have to position yourself as an expert or a consultant, someone who offers added value. Your interlocutor must have the feeling that he will gain something by listening to us. Also, it is good that he is convinced that he is the only interlocutor you are trying to call during the day. It is he, and he alone, who you want to talk to. In other words, he should never feel that he is the 53rd in your prospecting base.
During your call, your formulation is also crucial:
- To be banned: “Hello Mr. Dupond, I am Sophie from the company TélécomNet and I would like to call you to present our new offers in terms of mobile communication. Do you have a few minutes to give me? “
- To prefer: “Hello, Sophie from TélécomNet, I am calling you about your reflection on the renewal of the mobile fleet.
3. Control your offer
“Know your pitch by heart. ” Especially not! It is unacceptable to recite a script learned by heart. Controlling your offer means being able to talk about it “in every way”. In other words, you know like the back of your hand:
- the issues and realities of the business of your interlocutor,
- the economic environment of its box,
- the context of the account (ideally),
In addition, it is positive to be able to raise the debate and digressions to get out of pre-established telephone prospecting patterns. Why?
- Establish a relationship of trust,
- Create a real exchange between two people,
- Establish a two-way discussion (not a monologue),
In the end, it is necessary to bring the conversation back to the subject at hand to meet the objectives of the call.
4. Listen to your interlocutor
“A good salesperson is a good chatter. ” No! Above all, he knows how to listen. A good salesperson speaks less than his prospect: 1/3 against 2/3. Above all, he knows how to listen actively. Why?
- Make your interlocutor speak by directing the discussion,
- Seize the poles, the faults, and the unspoken,
- Better understand your “pains” (problematic in French),
- Use the information provided by your interlocutor to bounce back.
By listening carefully to your telephone prospect, you show them interest. He feels more understood and heard. It builds trust and respect between the two of you. So you are more likely to accept your proposal.
How to do it? Ideally, you should position yourself as an observer of the scene. In other words, part of you is in active exchange with your interlocutor, another part withdraws. This hindsight allows the exchange to be observed from the outside and to be able to anticipate. In the end, you play with 1 or 2 moves in advance, which remains well below the best chess players who anticipate ten moves (but hey, that’s a start…).
5. Master prospecting techniques
“The BANT, reformulation, CRAC, BLITZ, SBAM,… methods are the key. »Yes,… but without being felt.
Make no mistake, telephone prospecting techniques are useful in structuring your approach. But, beyond their simple Insurance knowledge, it is necessary to have a perfect mastery of them. Why?
- To make them invisible to the eyes of your interlocutor,
- Put your telephone prospect at ease and lower his defenses,
- To enter a dialogue more easily and quickly,
- To fully exploit the effectiveness of these techniques.
Your interlocutor should not feel that you are applying a formalized method. Know how to make it forget. When making your phone call, it is good to always be natural. The exchange must take place in a conversational mode.
However, it is necessary to keep your goals in mind. Your qualification process should move forward and, if necessary, redirect the discussion. It is also necessary to know how to conclude a call.
6. Use the tools available
“Digital is the future of telephone prospecting. “
Not at all! Digital and telephone prospecting are complementary. The advent of digital marketing has profoundly shaken up marketing practices. It offered new tools providing precise and factual information on your prospects, your customers, and your leads. To improve, speed up and strengthen your telephone prospecting, several tools are essential:
- Social networks (LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.),
Concretely, how do they help you? Your CRM provides you with the details of the previous commercial actions carried out with your leads. Social media like LinkedIn is likely to contain the contacts you’re looking to reach. Your list of subscribers to your newsletter tells you who is interested in your content and your news. Each tool informs you differently. It’s up to you, depending on your objectives, to associate the right devices with it.
These tools allow you to better exploit your lead base, qualify your pre-leads, as well as to boost your customer knowledge. Real activator and real intensifier, are precious allies to master and integrate into your approach.