How to keep your prospect on the phone: tone and pace
In appointment setting, the longer a prospect is on the phone during a cold call, the better chance you have of establishing credibility and gaining his/her trust. These are two essentials before any prospect will take the next step and set an appointment or agree to join a webinar. The challenge, however, is keeping someone who doesn’t want your phone call on the line. Many cold calls are disconnected within the first few seconds. It seems 11 seconds is about the most time someone will give you before losing interest. Thus, the effort to keep a prospect on the phone past 11 seconds is crucial to the overall success of the call.
During the first 11 seconds, successful Inside Sales reps deliver a compelling offer and effectively engage their prospects with interesting questions. The offer needs to be a succinct, understandable and compelling statement of why the prospect would potentially want to learn more. The questions the rep uses to engage need to be relevant to the topic or better yet, to the prospect him/herself personally.
But, more important than your offer or questions is the way you deliver them. Tone and pace are what makes someone’s voice pleasing or annoying to listen to. Inside Sales professionals who have a generally slower pace and an even tone are much more successful in engaging. If the overall tone and pace of the conversation are off, then it won’t matter how great your offer or your questions are. The call will fail.
Everyone hates the cliché saying, “Smile and Dial!” and understandably so. But, there is merit there! No one wants to talk to someone who sounds anxious or uncertain. We see time and again that the more positive, confident, even-toned, even-paced reps stay on the phone longer and engage their prospects better. That’s because they are easier to listen to.
On a separate, but related note, sometimes we are asked whether our reps use the phrase “How are you today?” when beginning a call. In fact, some do and some don’t. It turns out there is a hotly contested debate on this topic. In fact there is no evidence one way or another about the benefits of this question.
So we allow the reps who feel comfortable asking this question, to continue doing so, And, those who don’t like it never have to use it. Really, what matters is how the opening question is asked: with confidence, even-tone and not rushed.
In order for someone to stay on the phone, the rep must give the vocal indicators that this will be a pleasant call.
Use tone and pace to help establish trust and credibility. Leverage that trust and credibility to engage and deliver a compelling message.