If there is one thing in life, we don’t like – it’s when we are unnecessarily interrupted during our busy day.
So, when someone we don’t know calls us on the phone immediately trying to sell us something we didn’t ask for, we almost have an allergic reaction.
As a sales person, I can fully appreciate the effort my colleagues have to make in order to do their job. Sales people have to constantly look for new leads and create opportunities to generate sales, especially when they are up against targets with tight timelines.
To be successful, they also need to have a lot of resilience in order to deal with the rejection.
However, what can sometimes happen is that the sales person’s idea of “tenacity" can be interpreted as being “over persistent and pushy”, especially when things are not going so well and they are under pressure. Very often, the seller doesn’t realise they are becoming annoying.
This is common with cold calls, as it the hardest call a salesperson will make.
Many sales people may spend weeks or months trying to get hold of a potential customer, so when they finally get past reception, their natural instinct is to start talking and pitching straight away. Yet, this is one of the worst things anyone can do. No one likes to be talked at. And we have to remember we have probably interrupted the customer when we called.
The advice I give trainees on my workshops is, if they notice the person sounds a little busy, distracted or in company to be polite and check if, they are free to talk?
I know some people will disagree with me. Yet if the customer is busy, they are not going to want to talk anyhow. And if we keep speaking, we will come across as pushy and inconsiderate, putting them right off.
Few people check if customer is free to talk. When we do, the customer can often be pleasantly surprised, gaining a better reaction and greater respect.
The key is to give your name, confirm who they are (always have a name first) and then check if they are free to talk. Never give your reason for calling before asking if the customer is free to talk – as it gives them an excuse to say no.
Most salespeople will get one of these objections and if we use these responses, we will be better able to deal with them.
- What’s it about? – The fact that you have not given your reason for calling can lead the customer to asking, “What’s it about"? This indirectly allows you to continue, so the response should be to say, “It won’t take long. Let me briefly tell you what I’m calling about…..” as you go on. Most people will be fine with this.
- Will it take long? – Similar to the situation above, you can reassure the customer you will be quick. Respect their time and stick to the point.
- Yes, they are busy – We need to respect the customer’s time. We don’t want to come across as desperate either. When this you get this response, simply tell them “It’s absolutely fine and you will call them back…” offering alternative options. We don’t ask permission by asking, “Can we call”, we make the suggestion "I will call..."
In my experience, people who embrace these techniques always outperform those who don’t. They have better relations with customers and a great chance of getting the sale, even if it means making an extra call. So, go on give it a go - it’s worth trying. And if you want to learn more about cold calling, check out our upcoming training programmes.