6 things to do before calling a prospect

December 22nd, 2016

Category: general

Cold calling has been consigned to the dusty history books of University libraries and pushy salespeople are akin to a wasp at a wedding. Modern consumers are more knowledgeable than ever and completely switched off from anything which isn’t relevant or personalised. Simply picking up the phone and hoping for the best is likely to […]

Cold calling has been consigned to the dusty history books of University libraries and pushy salespeople are akin to a wasp at a wedding. Modern consumers are more knowledgeable than ever and completely switched off from anything which isn’t relevant or personalised. Simply picking up the phone and hoping for the best is likely to do more harm than good.

However, speaking to someone directly remains a vital tool in the marketing mix of many successful insurance and professional services brands. The trick is to tailor a conversation entirely around the needs of an individual by adopting a new form of telemarketing known as Smart Calling.

The most important aspect of Smart Calling actually happens before you’ve even donned a headset and involves thoroughly researching a prospect’s needs, pain points and problems. By doing so, you can speak confidently as a consultant rather than salesperson. When you genuinely understand how a product or service solves a particular problem you’ll get a much better reaction on the other end of the line.

So, if you’re considering running a Smart Calling campaign, here are 6 things to learn about each prospect before getting started.

Who are you speaking to?

It’s crucial to approach the right people at the right brands. If you’re just looking through a list of names and numbers that you’ve gathered from some inbound activity, the chances are that many of them aren’t decision-makers. Begin by checking the company’s website as you may find lists of key employees with job titles. Also, check LinkedIn to find out how long the individual has been in that particular role. If they’re just finding their feet, they may not have enough sway to make a decision.

Gather a whole array of basic details about each company, so you don’t need to ask. Smart Calling is about consulting, not selling, so asking someone how many employees their company has won’t be a great start.

What’s their current status?

Understand the context of your call by researching the latest activity of the company in question and also its competitors. This kind of information is readily available by searching social media and you may discover that it’s launched a new service or a key partnership.

Or perhaps one its competitors has recently posted strong financial results, which means that the prospect you’re approaching could be seeking improvement in a particular business area.

Do you know them already?

Avoid any awkwardness by checking (and double-checking) your CRM for any previous communication that you’ve had with the prospect or their brand. If you spot anything, make sure that you pick up where you left off by referring to the last discussion.

Is there any common ground?

Discovering some shared interests is a good way of closing the gap between you and a potential customer. Express your human side and break the ice.

Maybe you’ve both attended a seminar on mobile buying behaviour and you happen to know of a useful report you can send them. You might even discover from Twitter that you share a hobby or follow the same sports team.

What are you trying to achieve?

It’s easy enough to just wander onto a call without a decisive objective or aim, so make sure you plan for your desired outcome. Are you looking to arrange an appointment or conduct some research?

Call structures help to drive the conversation forward, while also focusing on the needs of the prospect. Beforehand, you should be able to anticipate certain questions, so do your research and prepare some intelligent answers. At Xcel Sales, we build call structures around the personality traits of each member of the team so that each discussion feels natural and improvised.

Do you truly understand the product or service?

Do you appreciate the intricacies of the solution you’re recommending or does your knowledge just scratch the surface? You need to be ready with unscripted responses to a range of questions, so make sure you’re fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the offering.

Prospects may have a set of preconceived objections about a product or service that you need to overcome. Often these objections are unfounded and with a little prior reading, you’ll be able to talk them through it.

Smart Calling is essentially a traditional sales call flipped on its head, as it puts the emphasis on learning rather than pitching.  Speak to us today about your next campaign on how we can create your lead generation strategy for sales success.  Contact us on 0118 402 1440 www.xcelsales.co.uk


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