It seems that the world and his wife is out to destabilise the humble marketing and salesman these days. Following on from Bill Lee‘s pronouncement that “Marketing is dead”, Lynette Ryals has agreed that “face-to-face, transactional sales are dead”. It’s all very morbid.
But there is hope. Ryals has offered 4 tips to make the most of your sales call; and, lest we forget, the Batman of the face-to-face sales pitch has the Robin of the telemarketing lead-generator to back him up. Questionable costumes aside, the collaboration of these two parties, when trained and managed effectively, can prove a powerful force for business growth.
First of all, as discussed on this blog before, the key is to sell value, not products. We’ve discussed in depth the need to identify your value proposition and match this to your customers’ needs. Listening, in this way, is the central skill in selling, and framing your approach to the individual. If you are meeting a new prospective customer in a face-to-face scenario, this becomes easier if the lead is warm; this is where an internal or outsourced telemarketing team can help you make the most of your sales opportunity. By generating qualified leads, telesales people achieve half the job of value-identification before you set foot in your prospect’s door.
If your telemarketers are intelligent and informed about your product (and you know your product is relevant to the market they are calling), you can be confident that the prospect you are now facing will already feel a connection with your proposition; and therefore be more willing to buy into it.
Just a brief reminder before we continue – try not to bore your customer. Relevent anecdotes and examples are all for the good, but there is such a thing as too many. They will need evidence of your product’s efficacy and succeses, sure; but they also want to know how it will work for THEM. Ask questions; presume nothing. If you have a strong outsourced telemarketing agency on your sales project, their account managers will have done the attention-grabbing for you. In partnership with you, they will have honed your proposal down to a short introduction, and identified key questions and points of interest with which to reel in prospective customer – the one that you’re now meeting in person. So don’t screw it up.
Research is vital.
Great sales aren’t just thrown together; indeed, the worst outcomes are often the result of mavericks who pull up outside the prospect’s office, take a deep breath and decide to “wing it”. Research is vital, particularly if you are going in cold – what sector does the prospect’s c0mpany work in? What is their annual turnover? What do they currently spend on your sort of product or service? Most importantly – do they have a need for your product? Do they have an incumbent contractor? If so, in which department, and when is that contract up for renewal? Of course, a telemarketing team will have found out this information for you, and delivered a comprehensive set of call notes so that you know exactly how to target your face-to-face pitch.
Moreover, alongside this investigative planning, it is also a good idea to role play meetings as part of your internal training – going over possible objections and FAQs. Here at Broadley Speaking, MD Hilary encourages the team to imagine a call before they pick up the phone. By constructing a conversation, you can pre-empt any challenges or tricky questions, and ensure that you are ready to answer them if and when you encounter them in reality.
Finally, it is important to respond flexibly and always manage objections (you can listen to a podcast about managing objections from our Speaking Broadley series). Poor salespeople can in fact generate their own objections, by going for too much of a ‘hard sell’. Attitude is everything when approaching a new prospect, and this can be cultivated or improved by sharing skills, experience and knowledge with your colleagues. Customer relations requires continuous training and development – after all, sales should be about having a conversation with an opinionated human, not talking at a robot which is programmed to say “Okay” at the end of each of your sentences. People buy people: so a good salesperson must be personable, responsive, and bright enough to professionally tackle their prospect’s objections.
See, face-to-face sales transactions needn’t be a thing of the past. With some training and investment – and in partnership with a strong outsourced telemarketing partner – good sales practice can continue infinitely.
If you enjoyed this post, you will also enjoy reading this one on how to influence people during sales calls. If you would like to know more about how Broadley Speaking’s Telemarketing service bring value to our customers, visit out Telemarketing and Sales page.