Mr. Spock, the venerable Vulcan from Star Trek would make a heck of a B2B telephone rep especially when it comes to making a follow up call to a prospect.
In many ways, a follow up call is more significant and critical than the initial cold call. While the cold call may have initiated the sales cycle, the follow up call (or calls) completes it. It is here that the prospect turns into a customer … or at least takes another step down the path to becoming a customer. Whether you are following up on a proposal or quote or webinar or whatever, making the most of the moment is the key to success.
Just in case you have never followed Star Trek, Vulcans are a humanoid species that value and cherish logic above emotion. They are trained from birth to think, analyze, and prepare for virtually every situation and event. And that’s precisely why Spock would be magnificent with his follow up calls. His dedication to logic and planning would ensure a highly effective call and increase his chances for a sale.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be from another planet to be successful with your follow up. All you need to do is apply Spock-like principles to the planning and preparation of your call. To help you with the process here is a downloadable call guide to get you thinking like a Vulcan.
Spock’s tele-prospecting follow up guide is really nothing more than a job aid that you can use with each and every follow up call. It provides you with a 7-step process for organizing and planning your call.
1. Background Information and Assessment
The first step to a Spock-like call begins with a review of your last call to the prospect. What was the key motivator that you uncovered? What were the hot buttons? Was there any personal information you can use to build rapport? Note these items in the space provided on your guide.
Of course, all this really does is force you to pause and ponder. It gets you to think before you dial. It takes only seconds but it will give you insights on how to proceed.
2. Objectives of the Call
It would not be logical for Spock to pick up the phone without having clearly defined objectives. Objectives force you to precisely determine what you want to achieve on the call. Spock’s call guide forces you to prepare at least three objectives.
The prime objective (#1) is the ultimate goal for that particular call. In a perfect world, this is THE NUMBER ONE thing you want to achieve. In many cases, that objective is a sale but depending on the nature of the transaction, it might be something that moves the sale further through the cycle. Either way, it is definitively established.
But Spock’s approach goes two steps further by getting you to establish at least two additional back up objectives. These are goals you would like to achieve in addition to the primary objective. Or they might goals you’d like to achieve if the primary goal is NOT met. In other words, it is a means of salvaging the call should a sale or an advance not occur.
3. Opening Statement
Spock would never speak to the prospect without having prepared his opening statement because he would know that this is the most critical component toa follow up call. It is here, at this precise moment, that the prospect’s interest must be re-kindled and nurtured. Prospects are busy. They either forget what prompted them to agree to your follow up or, over time, the sense of urgency has diminished.
Whatever the case may be, it is vital that you quickly bring the prospect up to speed to capture and keep their interest. Prepare your opener word for word and don’t wing it.
After introducing yourself and your company, take the prospect back to the prime motivator that was uncovered in the initial cold call AND the benefit that you could provide. This gets the client engaged and actively listening! Secondly, provide an agenda of what you’d like to accomplish in the call. This primes the client for the remainder of the call. It creates focus and efficiency. For example,
“Hi Carson, It’s Mr. Spock calling from Trek Training.
Carson ,when we last spoke on Monday you indicated that the average value of your sales were down and this was impacting your bottom line. At that time I promised to send you some ideas on how add on selling training could help improve the average value of a sale by as much as 25%. I sent that on Tuesday.
What I’d like to do is explore your situation a little further, review the proposal I sent and, if it makes sense, determine the next steps, if any, relative to training…”
4. Key Question, Key Points, Potential Objections
Bearing in mind your objectives, prepare three other elements to your follow up call.
First, prepare a few ‘killer’ questions to gather more information and ‘build your case’ for a sale. Killer questions are those that get the prospect to THINK. For instance, questions that get the prospect to quantify the ‘pain’ they’re experiencing . In turn, this magnifies the need for your solution.
Second, prepare a list of 1-3 key selling points that support the solution that you’re offering. Jotting these points down will act as a prompt when you present.. It ensures you don’t forget!
Finally, Vulcans know all about contingency planning. Objections can derail your call in a New York minute. Listing the typical objections that the prospect might toss helps ensure you’re not caught off guard. It takes only seconds but it gets your mind oiled and greased.
Spock probably doesn’t need to take notes because he has a mind like a steel trap. But unless you have that Vulcan-like quality taking notes is a heck of a way to stay focused and to remember key points, objections or issues. Don’t argue. Just do it.
6. Actions Plans
Spock’s guide also provides space for you to list any actions that might ensue as a result of your call. Of course, a sale would be great but sometimes you need to take a few additional steps to move the cycle forward. Whatever the case, note it.
7. Voice Mail Strategy
If Spock called and the prospect was not there at the appointed time, he’d have his voice mail prepared and ready to go. He would not stutter and stumble and ramble about. Do the same thing.
Spock’s call guide is not complex. In fact, it is common sense. Vulcans have common sense in abundance. Humans sales reps often don’t. Ultimately, the call guide creates a discipline process that trains your mind to thinking in a logical, step-by-step process. All it takes is a couple of minutes to complete. Peanuts. Use this guide to provide structure, direction and focus. When you do, you’ll get better results.
Sell well and prosper!