Are Live Calls a Thing of the Past?

June 12, 2014

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In today’s “new normal” reality, connect rates are dropping. The customer sees the phone as a rude interruption, yet sales professionals still continue to smile-and-dial in hopes of getting a live person on the phone. In those rare moments when the stars are perfectly aligned and your prospect actually picks up and generously giving up a mere 15 seconds of their time—the inside sales rep STILL wastes that call.

Ouch! Today’s customers are not forgiving when a live call is wasted and vanish into the ozone, never to be found again.

Here’s how the disappearing live call still gets wasted, and some strategies to keep your prospect open to a second date with you:

Problem – The STARTLING effect: Reps have become so accustomed to never getting a live person on the call that they zone out during their outbound efforts. When they do get a real person on the other end, they respond like they’ve just been woken up from a deep slumber! They don’t know what to say, lose control of their tone, and sound unprepared.

Strategy: Reps should have a rebound phrase they can immediately throw out to buy them more time. Try, “Hey, Bob, I’m so glad I caught you” or “Hi, Bob! What a great surprise to get you on the phone. I’ll be brief.”

Problem – The Nonexistent Call Objective: Another casualty of heavy dialing without any response is that reps lose sight of their call objective. “Just calling to check on a project” = coming in with a weak call objective.

Strategy: Reps need to create a strong call objective that explains the purpose of their call, their goals, and what they want by the end of their call. Suggest, “Hi, Bob, this is Susan with Betts Associates. The reason for my call today is to learn more about your virtualization environment and see if we might be a fit. I would like to share with you some industry trends and why customers consistently rely on our solution. By the end of our call, I’d like you to identify a few people we can include in our demo next week.”

Problem – Dizzy with Data: So much information can be incorporated in those precious few seconds of phone time that it’s easy for wrong or inappropriate information to kill the call — especially if you start with a confused opening like, “Hey, Bob, I noticed you used to work at Apollo Corp and now you work at Britton Corp and I wanted to talk with you about a virtualization solution in the cloud.” What?

Strategy: Use relevant data to earn time: “Hi, Bob, I noticed your company just announced eight new locations in the next few years, and I understand that you work closely with Susan, Lisa, and Nancy in your IT organization. I’d like to follow-up with you on the trial eval you recently downloaded and discuss next steps.”

Problem – No-Po Sounds of Non-Influence: Face it, who answers their phones today? Yeah right, it’s the No-Po — you know, the time-wasters with No Power who love talking with vendors and will spend all day asking for more stuff to help them get good at their jobs.

Strategy: Find out who’s really in charge. Confirm the chain of command and ask how decisions are made early in the call so that you avoid chasing the wrong people. For example, “Hi, Bob, I’m just curious who manages virtualization initiatives for your team. Who besides yourself gets involved?”

Problem – The Trust Thermometer. Maybe the biggest call waster is talking to them without qualifying them first. Qualifying them immediately is essential — and BANT alone isn’t going to cut it.

Strategy:  Ask us for our qualification thermometer — The Trust Thermometer will give you their sales temperature immediately.

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