Using the phone successfully to market your products and services to potential new clients often requires you to navigate through a labyrinth of people to find the correct individual(s) who can provide the information you seek. Whether for pre-sales research or to determine who has the ability to acquire your products and services, here is a quick summary of proven techniques for achieving these objectives from Ron S. La Vine CEO of Accelerated Sales Training, Inc. a Live Telesales Call Sales Training Company.
Know the purpose of your call in advance. Before placing a call, have a clear and specific objective or purpose of what you are trying to achieve. Prepare a list of questions that need answers prior to your call. This will help you stay on track and meet your objective.
Purchasing, Investor Relations or the CEO's office are all good places to begin when you don't have a contact within a company. Calling into multiple departments in a company or organization can not only provide the information or person sought, but also give a unique overview of how a company's internal processes work. This can be useful information if further calls are required to the same or similar companies. As these individuals are usually very busy, have a short direct question prepared, such as "Who is responsible for evaluating [insert your product/service]?" This makes possible for either a quick or detailed answer.
Take advantage of the corporate hierarchy. When being referred from a higher level person (such as the President or their office) to a lower level person, use the higher person's name or office to lend credibility and importance to your request. For example: "Mr. Smith's office referred me to you."
Always ask for permission to speak. After briefly introducing yourself and your company, ask for permission to speak, before explaining the reason for the call. Do not speak with people who do not want to speak with you. You will not have their full attention. Getting permission first is the polite thing to do.
Set up a telephone appointment. If the person sounds busy, make an appointment by asking a directional question Do you have a pen handy? Follow with When would be a good time to schedule a two minute call to see if my company can be of service to you? Nail down a specific time and date and follow-up with an e-mail reminder.
Listen to what is going on in the background. When a phone or distraction occurs in the background, politely inquire whether that situation needs to be dealt with and offer to be placed on hold. This shows respect for the other person and is greatly appreciated.
Use open ended questions such as Who, What Where, When, Why or How to gain information and closed ended questions such as Do, Are, Correct, Right to confirm what was said and gain agreement for action.
Practice the Q/A/F/Q technique. Ask a Question. Wait for an Answer. Feedback what you heard to be sure you have a clear understanding of what was said. Then ask another Question to direct the conversation into the area where you want it to go. The person asking the questions controls the direction of the call.
Keep track of your phone menu choices. If you get stuck in one department, these choices will enable you to go in a different direction and reach a person (any live body) who can transfer you to the department you need.
Finally, and most importantly, is to remain polite yet persistent in your quest. By remaining polite and persistent, you will find the person who has the information you seek.