Outbound call center services providers spend their days “pounding the phones” and “dialing for dollars.” It’s not easy to deliver great results. It takes hard work, resilience and talent. It also requires the right perspective.
This means viewing appointment setting not so much as cold calling or even, generally speaking, as sales. It means viewing it as table setting.
What’s the significance? Because too many cold callers at outbound call center services organizations mistakenly take their initial phone call too far down the sales cycle. The goal of the first phone call isn’t to close the deal; it’s merely to start a process that will, we hope, result in a close.
With this perspective in mind, the cold caller takes the pressure off him or herself, it reduces the element of desperation that is a sales killer, it enables the first phone call to proceed at something approximating normal human interaction – that is, within a social environment where the sale process is most likely to thrive.
We’re not talking here about selling kitchen floor mops, pet odor eliminators or windshield ice scrapers. This applies to the sale of more complex products and services, such as a software application or a business service, that requires a more involved sales cycle.
Looked at this way, the appointment setting representative can focus merely on setting an appointment, not selling a product. The initial pitch can be a blend of extolling the benefits of the product along with a low-key pitch that asks for 15 minutes of the prospect’s time.
Taking a low-key approach also reduces the intrusiveness of the call. The caller can sound and behave in a normal way, as in….
“Hi, my name is Bob. I’m sorry to interrupt your day but I’m hoping you have 30 seconds you can share with me.”
An approach like this, which conveys respect for the prospect’s time, is a good way to establish rapport, and many prospects are willing to risk the 30 seconds.
The next statement is critical for moving the phone call along the right path:
“I believe you manage widget manufacturing at your company, is that the case? Then I’d like to see if you have time for a 10-minute call next week to look at a new manufacturing software technology that saves companies between 25 and 40 percent on their production costs. Is that something you might be interested in?”
Again, this is a relatively soft approach and one that shows understanding and insight into the prospect’s professional challenges and business need.
If the initial statement receives a positive response, the next step is to ask for a convenient time to schedule the appointment the following week. After that has been completed, ask one, at most two, questions regarding the issues (or “pain points”) that the prospect experiences.
It’s important to not carry on the conversation too long because you don’t want to jeopardize the sales appointment that has been scheduled and because you don’t want to break your initial promise to respect the prospect’s time. That’s known as “selling after the sell,” and the sales goal of the first call has already been accomplished: Getting the sales appointment.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Call Center Services