Within the realm of person-to-person phone based marketing and sales, your ability to communicate live with the intended customer base or prospect is your bread and butter. But actually getting these potential sales leads onto the phone can present serious challenges (not to mention actually converting that person into a sale once you’ve got them to listen).
Just think, what proportion of your outbound calls actually reach the intended caller? I wouldn’t at all be surprised if many are looking at single figure contact rates, way below even a 25% threshold. Beyond this, factors such as the time it takes to reach out to each contact and the cost of making sales calls must also be taken into account.
You can dial numbers all day and leave messages all night, but ultimately the reach rate is going to vary by industry, level of contact, and prospect versus customer. That being said, the following are some things to keep in mind when trying to reach prospective sales leads:
Earn That Call
Many high-end business professionals will make a serious effort to budget their time and calls, avoiding interruptions at all costs. This means only scheduled calls from known contacts are going to make it through to them; thus, you’ll first need to find a way into these individual’s circles, so they at the very least know you exist when you make initial contact. Secondly, it’s wise to communicate with them through a medium other than the phone and use this as a time to schedule an inbound call.
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It’s not uncommon for many business contacts to be totally overwhelmed by the volume of tasks they have to accomplish daily, especially if they happen to be the survivors of a staff cull and are taking on the workload of several other people. This just makes it more unlikely for them to take an interruption from an unknown caller. So it can take serious persistence to hammer through those prospect calls.
Clever Email makes things quicker
People are always going to respond faster to a visual stimulus. Email as a medium operating on sight wins in grabbing a customer’s attention quicker than a phone call or voicemail. However, the sheer volume of email we receive in this day and age means that for you to cut through the clutter you need to utilize powerful and compelling copy, especially for the subject line. Attention grabbing, not overly ‘salesy’ subject lines perform far better than bland, generic ones.
Phone marketing gets a bad rep
There’s an inherent difficulty with phone based marketing and sales. Due to the way some companies go about it, it’s garnered extremely negative connotations as a sales medium, so much so, that peoples defenses are up much higher when exposed to it. For you, the sales professional, this means there is less tolerance for error.
Some seriously bad practices you need to avoid include:
- Out of nowhere calls.
- Auto dialers or predictive dialers placing your calls.
- Nothing but pitch, with no conversation or dialogue with the customer.
- Unprepared representatives making calls with no knowledge of their customers, product, accounts or history.
There’s no sure fire tactic to increase your reach-rate, however, the following steps should certainly be implemented to help improve your phone marketing and sales lead generation:
- Analyze the times of day when your calls are most frequently completed or refused with your most frequent contracts. Continue or alter your pattern accordingly.
- Call at 25 or 55 minutes after the hour, this is the time most executives are likely at their desk.
- Speak to admins to clarify the best times that you can reach bigger contacts (as well as times to avoid). Also, clarify the times different mediums (phone, email, post or in person) will be most effective.
- Rehearse your voicemails before you leave them. Think from the customer’s side of the fence. Would you feel enthralled to call you back if you were them?
- When you do get through to them live, make sure that you are firing on all cylinders. That you understand every nuance and aspect of what you are selling and to whom you are selling it to. Give a compelling reason for the call, based on them and not you. And always, ALWAYS make sure you ask “Is this an okay time to speak?”
Research for this post was provided by eFood ERP – a provider of software for food processors.