[READ THIS FIRST]
This isn’t some magical eBook that’ll make you a super telemarketer or give a CRAZY ability to convert every person that you ever call! This eBook is fact, it was built on a foundation of rejection, objection and perseverance. To succeed at using the tips in this eBook it will require a perseverant attitude and bucket full of HARD work. If a silver bullet (easy way out) is what you want, then please, kindly leave now.
Dear Ambitious Business Builder,
It’s come down to fact.
You’ve bought every “Gurus” course, you’ve attended the training, and perhaps even completed the certifications. You’ve used the so-called “experts handbooks for growth”, spent thousands on lead generation strategies that over promise and under deliver. But the truth is that you still haven’t got a lead generation engine that consistently runs in the background (without you). Perhaps you’re even feeling frustrated or disappointed.
Your monthly revenue isn’t growing as quickly as you would like. Your appetite for new business is growing into a ferocious beast, starving for it’s next sale.
Take the time to review: write down your average monthly revenue over the last 12 months. Say for example it’s $5,000 per month, and your goal is to actually make $15,000 per month. That means the gap between where you want to be and where you are, is costing you $10,000 per month.
You’re an ambitious business builder wanting to transform, your business into a lead generation machine. You want the facts, the truth and nothing in-between.
In this eBook we will show you the most important lessons that we learn’t from over 1.3 million cold calls in 2019. I will briefly go into detail on each point, and then elaborate with examples and demonstrations from our exact conversations.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to uss using [email protected]
Sincerely, Tate Zanner Head of Growth @ Insil.
Our journey to 1.3+ Million calls…
Let me start by saying Cold Calling is hard VERY Hard!
The percentage of calls that end up converting into sales is frighteningly low – less than 2% of cold calls will follow up in a purchase (For the average call centre, but not for us… Keep reading to find out about the crazy strategy we used to reach a 10% conversion rate).
Cold callings is a skill that can be taught, but there is also a fair amount of natural talent and self-confidence required to be incredible at it.
From people who hang up you to those who outright abuse you, if you make sales calls for a living you have probably experienced it all. It is a difficult area of sales, but in many industries, it is still an essential part of a business – and when done well can be worth the effort.
This little eBook is your ultimate guide to telemarketing and the basics of sales calls. There are helpful hints and hacks in here for everyone, and whether you are a beginner or just need to brush up on your skills, you are certain to learn something from this handy resource.
It is important to remember that good telemarketing and lead generation involves a whole process. You can’t just pick up the phone and shoot from the hip.
There is a lot of background work that should go into compiling the list of prospects to make sure they fit your target market and they are the decision-makers you need to speak to.
You need to research your script and all the possible tangents it could go off into, and be prepared to answer any questions the prospect might have.
You should make notes, send follow up information and make follow up calls, as well as document what worked and what didn’t for next time. You should also be recording and rehearsing as you go along to make sure you are always getting better.
With many industries, you can’t expect to get a conversion out of the first contact with your customer. You may need to nurture a relationship with this prospect and have several points of contact with them to encourage them to the point where they are ready to buy.
You may need to work on getting this person to trust you as an individual and also to develop an awareness of your brand, which can take time. Not everyone you call will be poised ready to convert (and if they were ready to buy then it is likely they already have a company in mind to buy from). If you want to be there when they are ready to buy, you need to build a relationship of trust.
If you aren’t ready to commit to this whole process, then sales calls might not be the calling for you.
1. Bulletproof Data
Data is King.When you start you’ll be in one of two situations:
- You don’t have any data (i.e no database) and you need to start developing one.
a. You could purchase a database or pay a provider to prospect on your behalf
b. Start prospecting, LinkedIn is a great tool to find the right people, and their contact information.
- You have a database with either current or old information. If the information is old this will be a great exercise as it allows you to clean and potentially generate new business while you’re at it. Alternatively your data is clean, then your sole focus can be on generating new business.
You also need to start with the best possible list of prospects that you can. You can pay for lists of data to make sales calls, usually however purchased data doesn’t perform as well. The best way to know that you have quality data, is to compile it yourself.
You can compile a list from your existing customers, or develop a lookalike list which shares the same characteristics as your current customers. LinkedIn is a good source for current details.
If you don’t already have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution then I would highly recommend one!
It’s a great way to organise and list contact, account and campaign information.
If you create a database for sales calls or lead generation, it can be helpful to include the following:
- Annual revenue
- Number of employees
- Facility type (corporate, single-site, branch etc.)
What is your Outcome Plan?
Develop an outcome plan! We can’t stress this enough… Having a goal, or outcome that you’d like to achieve prior to making a call goes a long way.
No, just saying I’d like a sale is NOT an outcome plan, map out the possible ways a call could go, possibly develop an objection map and ensure you’ve visualised or practised the script you’re going to use.
6 Questions You Should Already Know the Answer To:
- What is your prospect’s current situation?
- What are your goals for this prospect in this phone call?
- What outcome do you want next?
- What are your strengths going into this conversation?
- What are your weaknesses or vulnerabilities?
- What other information do you need to be better prepared before calling?
You should know what outcome you are hoping to achieve from this phone call, and what step you want to take next. Possible objectives could include:
- Establishing rapport and brand awareness
- Booking in a follow-up call or a home visit
- Getting agreement for a trial period
- Getting an email for subscription purposes
- Making an appointment to meet a key decision-maker
- Discussing and clarifying information you have sent previously
- Making a sale
- Signing your prospect up for a course
You need to know everything you possibly can about your sales pitch before you start cold calling. Because you are dealing with humans, things will rarely go according to training or to your script, and you have to be prepared to wing it.
If your prospect asks you any questions, you need to already know:
- Your company’s services and products
- Your market
- Your competitors
- Your audience’s pain points
- Things your prospect is interested in and will enjoy talking about
- All the possible objections you could be hit with
You may need to send initial information to the prospect before making the call – or have information ready to send afterwards.
This should include Pre-Call Plan and Sales Call Tracking Spreadsheet templates?
Pre Call Planner 1: https://evernote.com/templates/sales-pre-call-planner
Pre Call Planner 2: http://templatelab.com/sales-plan-templates/
Pre call Planner 3: https://www.slideshare.net/jbargent/sales-call-meeting-planning-template
2. Objection = Lack of information
You will get objections, no matter what. The best way to be ready for objections is to play the devil’s advocate, and go through every possible objection you think your prospect could make. Write them down, and then rehearse several ways to get around each objection.
Zig Ziglar, famed sales ‘guru’ always stressed one, key, very powerful element of any sale.
If you struggle with objection, by default it usually means you feel guilty. As though what you have to sell/share isn’t worth your prospects time. This mindset is the demise of many great relationship builders (Sales people)
The question to ask yourself is “Who wins?” You may walk away with a few extra dollars, but more than likely your prospect will walk away with a product or service, that considerably changes their life.
You might save them time, money, or stress?
The best mindset to manage objections/rejection is to ensure you truly believe in what you are selling. It’ll make all the difference!
Combatting objections with questions can be a good move because it keeps the prospect talking, and the more information they give you, the more details you have to base the next part of your pitch on.
You should be responding to concerns, not just trying to overcome them. Your goal should be to advise your prospect not just to sell.
Try bouncing back their objections at them, such by saying, ‘I agree, but…’ or ‘That’s a fair point. What about thinking of it like this…
Try getting your customer to look at things from a higher standpoint or more optimistic view than their current one; ‘So if you could set the targets you’d love to achieve this financial year – what would they look like?’
Focus on the lowest standpoints of the company and how the prospect will address those without your service or product; ‘So how is your company going to deal with the high number of turnover without this?’
Find out more about any objection you are given.
Ask why, why not, what if, etc. Don’t just take ‘No’ as an answer, follow up with ‘Out of interest, why is that your position?’ If you are talking to the right prospect, they will appreciate the chance to chat about the challenges they are facing in their business.
You can try throwing in an objection and its solution as a pre-emptive strike.
You can also show the prospect that you can relate, and use these three keywords to turn their position around: Feel, Felt, Found. Such as, ‘I understand how you feel. A lot of our clients have felt that way. However, what they found was that when they tried our service…’
Here are some further good ideas for battling common objections:
‘I can’t afford it’
‘The cost may be high in a single purchase, but if consider how often you will use it…’
‘If you add up the total cost of the way you are doing things now…’
‘I don’t have time’
‘Some time spent doing this now will save you time down the track’
‘This should free up your time to focus on the more important parts of your business’
It’s not a priority right now
‘This is a limited time offer which needs to be taken up now’
‘If it was the right time for you, what would your dream service/product provide?’
I have to talk to my partner first
‘Let’s discuss everything you need to know to give you all the information your partner might need’
‘What does your partner think about this sort of product?’
3. You’ll want to classify the right way every time…
The difference between a properly classified lead and an incorrectly classified lead can mean the difference between a VERY successful campaign, and a waste of time. Different industries use telemarketing, telesales and cold calling as a lead generation tool, and not all would consider a ‘lead’ to be the same thing.
For example: larger corporations usually split leads into Sales qualified and marketing qualified leads, which they then go on to score using complex marketing and sales criteria.
Generally for a small telemarketing campaign the way in which we classify a lead will vary, but essentially a lead is usually what we (and the client) define the outcome of the call to be. This usually starts with the question: “What to you (Client, customer) would be a successful campaign?”
Most of the time this is a lead that meets the following (BANT) Criteria:
As we mentioned earlier, you should define your outcome during the planning stage. This could include a sale, a free trial, an email address, an appointment for follow up, or a sign-up to a course, to name just a few examples.
It becomes a little more challenging if there isn’t a clear box to tick. You should establish before starting how you are going to measure interest, and therefore at what level you would consider someone a lead.
A business needs to develop criteria around their sales cycle that specifically defines what is and what isn’t a lead/prospect and what level of interest their audience should have.
It is also important not to let potential leads go by setting your definition of a qualified lead too high. There are many levels of interest that you are raising that can snowball into a conversion when the buyer is ready, or with the proper nurturing and encouragement.
4. Argh… You forgot to ask…
It will help to have some idea even before starting to make calls if a prospect has high, medium or low – no intent of closing, which may also be called hot, warm or cold.
- A hot lead would be someone with the money, authority, need and time frame to take action now.
- A warm lead could be someone who has the need, but may be missing either of the other three qualifiers – these can be nurtured with a little effort into qualified leads.
- A cold lead is someone missing 2 or more of the qualifiers (usually budget and timeframe) and will take a lot longer to nurture.
Once the call starts, some ways you can start to narrow down how to classify your prospect include:
Be prepared to discuss their budget from the first phone call. If you avoid this, it may turn the prospect off building rapport with you, and you also might end up wasting time cultivating a relationship that was never going to be a good business match for you both. In fact, most buyers want to honestly discuss the budget in the first phone call and will appreciate your ability to do this.
Timing and Growth
Is rapid growth important to their business? If this is the case, your prospect may be more willing to buy sooner and spend more upfront – realising that productivity and traction early on will repay these kinds of costs later.
Find out from the start when your prospect is looking to make a decision. If it is immediately or soon, then you can be more aggressive in your sales pitch. If they say ’12 months’ then your approach should change and be based more on the development of the relationship than on getting a conversion at this stage.
Focus on the Negatives
Find out upfront all the factors that could stand in the way of this sale or conversion happening. Find out if the prospect has any deal-breakers or constraints outside their control. Find out who else you need to talk to to get a decision made. Find out exactly what is holding them up or stopping the deal from getting made.
Without any doubt, and with 100% confidence I can say that throughout our 1.3 million cold calls we discovered that confidence, above all else proved to be the most effective natural method for cold calling success.
One of the secret tips for being a good telemarketer is to not sound anything like a telemarketer. Let’s look into that a little deeper, because it sounds a whole lot easier than it is.
Speak clearly but naturally. Usually you’ll be following a script, but this should and is ONLY a guide! The goal, is to essentially be yourself (or a slightly polished up and interesting version of yourself). Prospects can tell if you’re putting on an act. They love to hear stories and will respond well if they relate to you, but all of this has to come naturally from you, not just be put on, or from a script.
Be conversational and ask open-ended questions, this isn’t something we just found for cold calling, we soon discovered this is a technique used by the FBI for over a decade (Check out what Chris Voss, lead investigator for the FBI for over 20yrs had to say). Be inquisitive about your prospect and interested in what they have to say. Ask good questions and listen to the answers, then use these to summarise points back to your prospect, to let them know that you are interested.
Some of his recommendations:
- What about this is important to you?
- How can I help to make this better for us?
- How would you like me to proceed?
- How can we solve this problem?
Don’t think that because your prospect can’t see you, you can get away with looking or acting unprofessionally. Don’t lie on the couch to make calls, or sneak one in while you’re on your toilet break (gross!)
Your body language and attitude come through on the phone, so practice dressing professionally, and sitting up straight at a desk in a quiet place free from distractions. Don’t have the TV going in the background and try to minimise other noise. Speak clearly, don’t mumble or stumble, and make sure that you project your voice from your diaphragm (down in your belly).
Smile while you are speaking – you will sound better, I promise you.
It will help if you are passionate about what you are pitching. If you don’t care about what you are trying to sell, then it can be very difficult to get your audience to care either. Get excited and creative and use words that will light a fire under someone’s butt.
Roleplay your calls with someone else to help you improve and gain confidence. Recording and listening back over them is another great tool, although it can be cringeworthy to do so.
6. Beat the Gatekeeper
The gatekeeper is one of the biggest obstacles in telemarketing – this is your person, or series of persons, that you have to get past before you can speak to the person who makes the decisions. If your calls are B2C this is less of a problem, but if your industry is B2B then you will be very familiar with gatekeepers.
Here are some excellent tips for success:
- Get creative with your timing and be prepared to call at odd hours. Lunchtimes can be great for getting past gatekeepers to the decision-maker, you just need to work out roughly when they take their breaks.
- Sound confident and in control – even if you don’t feel it. The more authoritative and certain of yourself you sound, the more likely you are to get put through.
- Be brief in providing details to the gatekeeper – you need to keep this simple yet enticing. The more information you provide, the more the gatekeeper will be able to block your call from being put through.
- Do as much research as you can beforehand (LinkedIn can be good for this) and make sure that you have the right name and contact details of the relevant decision-maker.
- Be prepared to name drop to the gatekeeper. Having connections within the company, knowing someone through a network from university or a previous job, having met someone at a recent conference, having read something your decision-maker published – all of this can help.
Mindset and Space
Here are some keys to having the right mindset for making sales calls and for rolling with whatever happens when you do.
Attitude and communication skills
Be prepared to really listen to your prospect, not just to talk. The best telemarketers listen well to their audience and pick up on points they mention that can help the sales pitch. It can help you to convert, but it is also a basic skill for etiquette and building rapport.
In addition to this, being able to quickly assess how good a lead is during the conversation is an incredibly valuable skill for a telemarketer, as successful sales calls owe a lot to intuition and being able to think on your feet.
Be honest. Don’t lie or make up answers to things you don’t know. If you don’t know something say so, and then make a point of finding out the answer for next time. You could offer to look it up and then call the prospect back with the correct information – you’d be surprised how many people appreciate this level of effort.
Be in the right physical space + Ergonomics
Make sure you’re comfortable, and working on and in an environment thats suitable to your lifestyle, body type and surrounding conditions!
Things to keep in mind:
- Chair position
- Keyboard & mouse setup
- Monitor & screen
- Audio equipment
- Desk height, position and size
(For more information have a chat with your local osteopath, doctor, or local ergonomics company)
Make notes while you are talking. Although most telemarketers will make notes on a computer, some prospects, especially older ones, can become annoyed by the constant tapping of keys while they are speaking to you. Either make certain this noise doesn’t travel down the phone connection – or be prepared to go old school with a notepad and pen.
Have water and some snacks on hand, but don’t eat on the phone. And watch how much sugar and caffeine you are having throughout the day because these stimulants aren’t always good for telemarketing. Don’t have alcohol before making calls, and if you are feeling sleepy or unmotivated, take a break or get some fresh air for a little while before making the next call.
Smashing targets is great, but so is recognising when you are at your best, and when it’s time to call it a day. Calls can be exhausting and if you aren’t in the right mindset or physical condition, you aren’t going to do them well.
One of the hardest hurdles to get over for telemarketers can be procrastination. If you don’t look forward to making these types of calls then it may seem like every task should take precedence suddenly before picking up the phone.
Just do it. You will miss 100% of the calls you don’t make.
There is a great quote from Mark Twain: ‘If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it First Thing in the Morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first.’ He was almost certainly talking about telemarketing.
7. Look forward to Rejection
At the end of the day, you should still always be respectful and professional in every call. You don’t need to accept rejection instantly and hang up then and there, but there is a certain amount of pushing back that is acceptable and then beyond that, you just become arrogant, obnoxious and even abusive.
Treat people as you would like to be treated if you were being unexpectedly cold-called. Be intuitive and read between the lines of their conversation or pick up other cues.
Be persistent and prepare to call back. Many prospects will get off the phone by saying they are busy now but will be free later. Don’t let this go – push for a day and time that you can call back and then make certain you stick to this.
If you call back – be on time. If you say you will send follow-up information – do it promptly. Then follow up with another call a couple of days later to ensure they received it.
If this pitch doesn’t suit your prospect then you may have erred in putting them in your target audience in the first place. What can you do going forward to make sure that the prospects on your list are more likely to match your target buyer persona and turn into conversions?
Being a great telemarketer is a challenging balance between being optimistic and realistic. If you aren’t optimistic enough you might find it hard to continue in the face of rejection. Yet if you aren’t realistic about receiving some rejection, you may get quickly worn down. Have a good idea of the usual ratios of calls to conversions in your industry so that you know you are setting the bar at the right level (perhaps set it a tiny bit higher than the right level – just for that extra bit of motivation)
Surround yourself with positive people or inspiring quotes or mantras.
Don’t take rejection personally. If you are passionate about what you are pitching, you should be able to rely on your belief in the product or service and pick yourself up again for the next call.
Focussing on the goals instead of on the individual calls will help. Start each new call with a clean slate and fresh attitude and keep your eyes on the goal you are trying to achieve.
It isn’t easy, but there also isn’t many easier ways to do this when it comes to some industries. It does take skill, but the main things you need to nail those sales leads is to:
- Commit to the process
- Be thoroughly prepared
- Be your best natural self, and be passionate about what you are selling
- Be polite and professional
- Roll with rejection
- Approach every call with fresh confidence
- Keep learning and practicing to improve.
Good luck, and happy selling!