At One of a Kind Sales, we spend a LOT of time training our people to ACTIVELY LISTEN. Picking up the phone and dialing MAY get you to the right person but actively listening is the real secret to setting qualified appointments and sales success!
Can you hear me?
A basic Cold Calling requirement is being able to HEAR the prospect. That means setting yourself up so there is no background noise or music to distract you and having a headset with adequate volume controls. Close all your extraneous browser windows and shut off your personal phone so you are not tempted to check email, texts or social media.
It’s not just hearing them…
ACTIVE listening involves more than just HEARING what your prospect is saying. It means UNDERSTANDING what is being said, and oftentimes, being able to hear and understand the UNSPOKEN context. Actively listening will enable you to ‘hear’ the prospect’s body language through the tone, volume and words they are using. It means noticing shifts in that tone or changes in the volume and then modulating your own tone and words in response.
Active listening involves paying attention to what is said and using the prospect’s responses to formulate your own statements.
Active listening tactics
We recommend a number of tactics to do this:
- Paraphrasing – which is where you restate some of the prospects replies but in your own words.
- Summarizing – where you provide a summary of the process or discussion to give an overview and context.
- Clarification – where you restate and/or explain things to make sure you are all on the same page. ASK for clarification on a point or statement to keep the prospect talking about their issues.
- Reflection – where you reflect the prospect’s words back to them to help them understand what you are hearing.
Note that ALL of the above require you to have HEARD not just the prospect’s words but the intentions behind those words. Pay attention, listen carefully and you will be rewarded with valuable insights and you will, more importantly, earn their trust! They can tell when you are listening and will appreciate that you have HEARD them.
Because we know that ACTIVE LISTENING is such an important skill, we have collected many useful resources on this topic. Here are a few articles and videos we think can help YOU improve YOUR active listening skills:
As anyone who has ever shot an arrow will tell you, one of the KEYS to hitting the bullseye is knowing WHERE the target is located. Otherwise, it is like shooting while wearing a blindfold! Salespeople who are not totally clear on THEIR targets, are frequently DIALING BLINDLY.
The ‘target’ in this context, is NOT the salesperson’s ‘target audience’. You can be dialing blindly even if you know your ideal prospects’ name, age and serial number. The targets that I am talking about here are the salespersons’ productivity targets. Without a clear understanding of YOUR productivity targets, also known as KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) you may as well be dialing in the dark!
How many tries does it take?
Do you know how many calls you need to make before you set a qualified appointment? This is NOT a trick question! This is a number YOU need to know and keep track of, based on YOUR lists, YOUR calls and YOUR experience. I cannot supply this answer, but I can assure you that if you identify and keep track of this number, you WILL be able to improve upon and reduce it!
Peter Drucker, the man who is often credited with having ‘invented’ the management practices of the corporate business world, famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. I agree!
Knowing the number of dials it takes to get to the point where you engage in a conversation with a decision maker is the first step to getting a handle on your target. The next step is knowing how many conversations, with decision makers, need to take place to set qualified appointments. You also need to know how may qualified appointments you need to set before you close a sale. Again, there is no one correct answer – this is a compilation of data based on YOUR experience.
Gather and use this information to set YOUR productivity targets
Identifying these stats will help you monitor your progress, keep you on track and close more sales. Once you have these numbers, you can challenge yourself to hit or beat them. You will be able to measure AND to improve them!
The first step to hitting ANY target is to be very clear on what it is. What are YOUR current stats and what will YOUR target be? Don’t dial blindly!
If your sales team is dialing blindly and/or not hitting YOUR sales targets, give us a call at 908.879.2911 – our Call Center In A Box service includes the training, management and monitoring YOUR team needs to SUCCEED!
This is the third post in a series of Case Studies which outline the ways in which we have helped our clients. This post discusses the ways that our Call Center in a Box services helped a large corporation in Chicago get a handle on their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool.
This company already used the CRM we recommend but they were not using it to its full potential and had gone through five sales managers as they tried to get their sales monitoring under control. Our contact complained initially that they felt like the software was managing them instead of helping them manage their 80,000+ leads.
The software set-up had gone poorly and their database was a mess.
No one had set-up a dashboard to monitor their KPI’s so they had no clue what anyone was doing.
They were setting appointments but there was no organization or assignment of leads so follow-ups were slipping through the cracks.
They were frequently losing their Business Development Reps due to mismanagement, a lack of preparation, lack of training and poor monitoring.
They hired us to:
- Clean up their database.
- Establish KPI’s for the team.
- Create an effective dashboard to track and monitor the team members and the newly established KPIs.
- Set up a system to track and route leads to the correct callers.
- Train some of their staff to use the newly revised CRM.
- Reworded their scripts for more effective calls.
The company had used the CRM for ten years but was not using any of the productivity tools it offered! We showed them how to use the tool properly and much more effectively. The tool offers a feature for Voice Mail Drop which allows the callers to ‘drop’ a pre-recorded’ message when they encounter voicemail on a call. We not only showed them how to effectively use this feature but scripted the messages to record.
They hadn’t been recycling leads and all calling was being done randomly. We streamlined the process, routing leads from initial call, through appointment setting to sales close, with a plan to recycle any leads that did not close, allowing them to get much more mileage out of their efforts.
During weekly meetings we reviewed the team’s activity and found that the sales associates were NOT properly using the script. We could see that they were not asking enough questions to make qualified appointments. Through training and role play examples, we were able to get them back on track delivering qualified leads that happily surprised the management!
Management was so happy with the results that they will eventually move ALL their sales reps onto the newly revamped CRM.
Tools are only helpful if you set them up to meet YOUR needs, know how to properly use them and then actually USE them regularly. This company had over 80,000 leads but they were getting lost in the shuffle and NOT delivering the results they could have. Our Call Center in a Box program established order, provided training and put their tools and people on track to deliver real results!
Are YOU having a hard time monitoring or managing YOUR sales team? Know they need training but just don’t have the time, energy or patience to train them yourself? Are your producers delivering poor quality leads that just won’t close?
GIVE US A CALL AT 908.879.2911 to see how our Call Center in a Box services can help YOU!
Cold calling success is largely based on the ability to differentiate yourself from others doing the same exact thing that you are doing. It makes sense that successful cold callers catch a prospect’s attention and build a relationship by being different in their cold calling approach. It starts with the first phone call and the cold calling script. Here are nine ways to differentiate yourself when cold calling:
- Craft a script that sounds genuine, and unique. Messaging must catch the attention of your audience. Interject something unexpected. Incorporate content to make your script your own.
- Catch the prospect’s attention. Successful cold callers make the first 30 seconds memorable by tailoring the message based on the prospect’s communication style.
- Be likeable. Incorporate a genial approach that builds trustworthiness. Trustworthiness leads to being influential.
- Inject humor. Connect with people over shared human experiences and tell stories that leave a positive effect.
- Be sincere. Differentiate yourself by being genuinely interested in the prospect and the prospect’s needs and wants. Generate trust by truly caring about your prospect.
- Ask the right questions. Ask high-value, thought-provoking questions. Ask enough deep, probing questions to really learn what the prospect needs are. Keep questions short following a response that the customer just shared to encourage them to talk more.
- Embrace active listening. Pay close attention to the prospect’s words, their tone of voice and their body language. Remember, it’s all about them. Distinguish yourself by being able to truly understand and respond to your prospect and their particular situation.
- Be prepared. Since prospects are inundated with sales calls, voicemails and emails, it is crucial to differentiate from all that noise. Come to the conversation with a knowledge of the prospect’s business and the kinds of challenges they face. Be ready with relevant open-ended questions. Sales is all about language that is pertinent to the prospect.
- Add value at every opportunity. Offer blogs, videos, white papers, etc., to be a thought-leader, not just a “seller”. When buyers see you as an expert, they will welcome your call.
Implementing these suggestions will help you cut through the noise and really stand-out when making your cold calls – and that is the first step to setting up qualified appointments and closing sales!
Need help crafting an effective script? Or does your team need coaching and management to be more productive? Click Here to learn more about our Call Center in a Box program where we train, manage and monitor YOUR inside sales team to improve YOUR bottom line. No inside sales team? With One of a Kind Search we find well trained sales people to work for you or call us at 908.879.2911 – we LOVE to Cold Call for you!
Yes, you can just pick up the phone and start cold calling but if you want to successfully set QUALIFIED APPOINTMENTS that will convert to ACTUAL SALES, you need to be prepared. At One of a Kind Sales, we LOVE Cold Calling and have years of experience training Salespeople to make calls and set appointments that get RESULTS!
Here are 5 things you MUST do BEFORE you start Cold Calling in order to ensure Sales Success!
- SCHEDULE: Make sure you have the schedule of the person who will follow up! There is nothing worse than setting up an appointment with a warm prospect, only to learn that the salesperson you are setting the appointment for will NOT be available at the date and time agreed to!
- SCRIPT: Have a script. Too many people think they can ‘wing it’ on their calls – make sure you have a script you can trust and …
- MEMORIZE: Memorize and practice your script. Really! I know you are not an actor but in our (extensive and proven) experience, memorizing the script allows you to be more comfortable on the call, to elicit the info you need and leads to more, qualified, appointments.
- GOALS: Be clear on your goals. Whether it is a set number of dials per hour, appointments set per day or another inhouse metric, be clear on what you are setting out to achieve. This will help keep you focused and help you meet (and exceed!) those goals.
- SKILLS: Polish your skills. To succeed, you need to be at the top of your game. Get the help, training and support you need to feel confident and ready to dial!
Sales is a ‘NO’ business – you are constantly being rejected and frankly, it can be difficult! Our training and management programs provide you and your inside sales team with the skills and oversight they need to succeed!
Don’t have an inhouse sales team? We can hire one for you! Don’t have the bandwidth or patience to set up and monitor a team? We can make your calls for you! We LOVE Cold Calling!
Give us a call today at 908.879.2911 to see how we can help you and your sales team SUCCEED!