Successful Telephone Prospecting: Make it easy for your propsects!
People don’t like receiving cold calls. In this business, pretending otherwise is going to hinder your potential to reach prospects. The person on the other end of the phone has been interrupted in the middle of their workday and is often annoyed at the unwanted call. Understanding this can help you develop pitches that will maximize your chances of a positive response and, most importantly, make it easy for the prospect to respond.
Prospects are often hesitant to make a commitment after just one cold call. Take small steps and feel out their level of interest based on what next step they are comfortable with. To do this, it’s best to have several options to offer, ranging from low commitment (e.g. an email with more information or subscription to the company newsletter) to higher commitment on the part of the prospect (e.g. an on-site appointment or scheduled webinar with a sales rep). The important thing is to grab their attention however you can, knowing that with diligent follow up you can always reach them later.
It is important to distinguish, as best as possible, between prospects who are truly interested and those who ask for information via email as a “push-off” just to get off the phone. You don’t want to send too many unqualified emails; however, sending an email is fast and easy for the caller, and it allows truly interested prospects to review the information on their own time. We have found that prospects are much more likely to respond to an email than return a phone call, and following up via email can often lead to scheduling a phone call appointment or webinar.
It’s also easy for prospects to forget about appointments after they are set, since you have likely caught them in the middle of another task and they were not planning on the conversation. This is where email communication again becomes key. Emailing the prospect immediately following the initial conversation and again a day or two before the scheduled phone call or appointment will remind the prospect of your pitch and help prevent “no-shows.”
It is interesting to note how our clients and prospects view things differently; we have clients who see a phone appointment as synonymous with a webinar, but to a prospect they are vastly different. Our clients see any appointment as a good lead, while prospects are wary of committing too much of their time. Often prospects are willing to agree to a short phone call from a rep, but if we send a calendar invite for a webinar they are more likely to decline or never show. We are always sure to communicate with our clients about the prospects’ expectations, knowing that a flexible sales rep can always convert a simple phone call into a more structured sales pitch if appropriate.
Making the process easy and positive for the prospect will greatly improve your chances of closing a deal with them. In cold calling, this begins with respecting the fact that you have intruded somewhat into their day, and providing a range of ways they can easily respond if they are interested. By making it easy to take the next step, your prospecting efforts are more likely to move forward.