Tag Archives: call objectives

This is Why Calls Wander Aimlessly

by Art Sobcak (www.businesbyphone.com)

 

On a commercial for an online brokerage, one guy asked another,

“Does your brokerage house give you objective advice?”

“Yeah, their objective always is to sell me something.”

Of course that was meant to be a humorous slam on full-service brokers whose intent is to sell stocks instead of give objective advice.

A  Clear Objective

However, it got me thinking about how lots of sales reps do NOT have a clear objective when they pick up the phone.

For example, when I ask reps for objectives before calls I hear such things as,

“I want to see who they’re buying from now.”

“I’d like to qualify and send out some info.”

“Want to see if they have any needs.”

Granted, all of those should be accomplished, but none are the end RESULT you’re ideally looking for on a call.

You wouldn’t you get in your car and say, “I’m going to start my car, and then just go out on the road somewhere.”

No, you get in your car because you have a very specific destination in mind. And when you have a destination, then you figure out what route you need to take in order to get there. Then you follow that route. And usually you arrive.

Yet, many sales reps get on the phone with no clear, specific destination in mind. Then they end up cruising aimlessly, and not surprisingly, ending their wayward journey without a pleasing
result.

Maybe you’ve had that feeling after a call. Where you sit there shaking your head, thinking, “What just happened on that call? I was all over the place.”

This week’s Tip is boring, simple, but yet required for success:

Have a Primary Objective before each call.

I define your Primary Objective as what you want them to DO as a result of the call.

Again, emphasis on the DO. It must be action-oriented.

The ultimate Primary Objective is to get them to buy on this call.

Perhaps your objective is to “Get agreement that the customer will take your proposal to the board meeting and recommend its approval.”

Maybe you want to qualify, generate interest, and get the prospect to agree to do a side-by-side comparison between his existing product and yours.

Look at these again. They all involve your prospect/customer DOING something.

And think big. One thing’s for sure: if you aim low, you’ll rarely hit above your target. When you aim high, you’ll sometimes reach it, and on average, will achieve greater results than if you start low.
Action Item
So here’s your homework: For every call you place from here on out, simply ask, “What do I want this person to DO as a result of this call?” That’s your Primary Objective.

And when you have your end target in mind, it’s much easier to plot your map, and ultimately arrive at the target.

As Dr. Steven Covey says in his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” begin with the END in mind.

Art Sobczak is president of Business by Phone and is North America’s premiere B2B telephone selling trainer. Author of several books on tele-sales, Art’s practical, no-holds-barred approach to sales is refreshing AND effective.  Visit his website at www.businessbyphone.com or call him directly at 1 800 326 7721. Be sure to sign up for his newsletter!
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
Share

How Mr. Spock Would Plan and Prepare for a Follow Up Call

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.

Enter Spock.

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.

Mr. Spock’s Tele-Prospecting Follow Up Call Guide

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.

5. Notes

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.

Summary

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!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.8/10 (6 votes cast)
Share

The 7 Closing Habits of Highly Effective Tele-Sale Reps (Habit #1: Be Prepared for a Close)

Ever notice that some tele-sales reps consistently out sell other reps?

Why is that? Why do some reps continuously lead the pack in terms of sales and revenues and others don’t?

Sure, knowledge and experience play a role in their success, but when you scratch the surface you quickly discover that highly effective tele-sales reps all have one thing in common:  they are exceptionally good closers.

They know precisely how to get the client to commit, take action and buy the product. This is not an accidental trait. It’s a habit they have formed.  In fact, there are seven closing habits that highly effective reps share.  Here is the first.

Habit #1: Great Closer are Prepared for the Close

Hide behind a corner in your office and watch a top closer.  Very rarely do you see them pick up the phone and start dialling and smiling. What you’ll see is that virtually every top closer takes a few extra seconds to plan out their call on a pad of paper.

A good closer begins by assuming a sale has been made and then works backwards from the point. They ask themselves, ‘what must be done to get me here?’  While each rep will have their own individual approach they all focus on three core components of the call:

Objectives

First, highly effective closers have two sets of well-defined objectives.

Primary objectives are those objectives that they want to achieve on that particular call. Depending on the situation, the primary objective is often to get the sale – dollars in the door.  But not always.  For example, the primary objective might be to get the prospect to attend a webinar . The primary close is not the monetary sale but rather the commitment to the webinar. The sale might come next. Whatever the case, the rep knows the end game of that call and writes it down.  This sets the tone for the rest of the planning.

Great closers also have secondary objectives.  A secondary objective could be a contingency objective. For example, the primary objective might be to close the monetary sales but failing that, a webinar might be the contingency objective.  A secondary objective might also be an action that the closer would like to accomplish in addition to the primary objective. Perhaps it is a cross sell or a referral.

The Strategy

Once the objectives are clear, the next step is defining a strategy. A strategy is nothing more than the ‘way’ the objective will be achieved.  Typically, a good closer will address three issues.

Questions – Prior to the call, a highly effective closer will have a handful of key questions that are designed to direct the client’s thinking. Almost like signposts, these pre-planned questions point to the challenges or the opportunities that a client might be experiencing. These are the motivators that must be tweaked if a successful close is to occur. Motivators are what gets a prospect to take action … and hence, buy.

Selling Points – An effective closer will jot down the key selling points that will have the strongest impact on the prospect.  Usually in bullet form, the selling points revolve around the ultimate benefits the prospect will derive. Writing them down on a sheet of paper ensures that they will not be forgotten or diluted when presented.

Objections – Finally, great closers are never caught off guard. They  will note the major objections that he or she is likely to encounter and are prepared to respond accordingly.

The Close or the Advance

The third area that closers focus upon when planning is the ‘close’ itself.  Top closers are not hesitant about writing down a closing phrase or two.  For instance, “Would you like to give it a shot,” or “When would you like to get started?” “How many do you need.”  The act of writing the close imprints the close on the mind of the rep and increases the likelihood that it will happen.

Similar to secondary objectives, highly effective closers prepare a back up ‘close’ – called an advance – that they can apply if closing the monetary sale is premature.  An advance is action that the client agrees to take (e.g., attending that webinar) by a given date and time.  Effective closers do not say, “Attend the webinar next week and I’ll give you a call later on.”  Effective closers say, “Let’s sign you up for the Webinar on Tuesday, the  9th at 11:00 a.m. , and I will give you a call to discuss the session and the next steps, later that afternoon…how does 2:15 look on your calendar?”

Summary

Highly effective closers begin with the ‘end in mind’ (as Stephen Covey might say). They know precisely what they want to achieve from the call and have a written plan on how they are going to achieve it.  Having a call road map is the first step to a higher closing rate.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
Share

Why Secondary Objectives are More Important Than Primary Objectives

Before you ever lift the receiver to make a customer call or a cold call you need to established not one, two objectives.

By doing so you’ll increase your volume of sales/leads and reduce your level of frustration. While both objectives are extremely important, one is more significant than the other.

The Primary Objective

Whether it’s a call to an existing client or a prospect, take a few seconds to think about and establish your primary objective.  In a perfect selling world, the primary objective is the ideal goal you would like achieve.  It the ultimate result.  A primary objective does not necessarily need to be a ‘sale.’  Depending on the nature of your calling, a primary objective could be an appointment, or gathering a key piece of information, or a commitment to the next, or attendance at a webinar, or agreeing to review a proposal or whatever you decide you want from that particular call.

Write that goal down somewhere even if it is in the column of a sheet of paper. Studies reveal that writing a goal increases the chances of it being achieved compared to a goal that is not written. It seems that the ‘mind’s eye’ become more fixated on the attainment of goal and tends to drive behaviour to that outcome.

Of course, primary objective is important. It is vital. But curiously, it is not necessarily the more important of the two.

The Secondary Objectives

You see, most sales reps ‘get’ the concept primary objectives.  They are kind of obvious and intuitive.

But what many reps don’t ‘get’ is the concept of secondary objectives, and regrettably, they tend to ignore them completely.  But it’s these little puppies that often produce the best results because they maximize the moment. This is precisely why secondary objectives are more important the primary objectives.

Secondary objectives are ‘back up’ objectives; things you’d like to accomplish if you don’t achieve your primary objective or things you’d like to accomplish in addition to achieving the primary objective. They are the little extras; the nice-to-haves. Hidden gems. Diamonds in the ruff. They are the items that leverage your telephone contact and help make the very most of the moment.  Put another way, secondary objective can act as catalysts that help “synergize” the net result of your call.

Secondary objectives can be any number of things. For instance, they might include:

  • a cross sell,
  • a request for a referral or a testimonial,
  • an up sell,
  • a piece “market intelligence”,
  • a query about an ongoing project,
  • a strategic question,
  • an e-mail address of another contact,
  • a request for more information,
  • the mention of a new product,
  • the best time to reach someone
  • … virtually anything over and above your primary objective.

Here’s the other thing about secondary objectives. Suppose you don’t achieve your primary objective. It can be discouraging especially when prospecting. But a secondary objective helps you salvage a portion of that call. It gives you the feeling of achievement; a psychological edge. It helps combat frustration and burnout. You hang up feeling that the call wasn’t a complete waste of time and effort. And of course, if you do achieve your primary objective, anything over and above that is pure gravy.

Like primary objectives, write them down. This will help you remember them as well as improve the likelihood of achieving them. It is that simple. Period. Do it!

Summary

Getting a hold of a client or a prospect by phone is tough at the best of times. And often you only have a minute or two of their busy time.  Make the absolute MOSTof those minutes and seconds by being prepared. Think of your primary and secondary objectives, jot them down and seek to achieve them.  Your results will improve dramatically.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.6/10 (11 votes cast)
Share

Are you Guilty? The Top 7 Mistakes B2B Tele-Sales Reps Make

Using the telephone to prospect and sell is tough enough without making matters worse.  Here is a little of the Top 7 mistakes the most B2B tele-sales reps typically make.  Are you guilty?

1. Not Having a Clearly Defined Call Objective

When calling there are two objectives: the prime objective and secondary objectives. The prime objective is the #1 thing you want to accomplish on this particular call. And no, the primary objective is not always to get the sale. The sale maybe three calls down the line. Primary objectives could be such things as determining if budget is available, identify ALL the key decision makers, spending time getting to know the client on a personal level, learning more about the company.  Primary objectives are what you MUST accomplish. Finish this phrase: at the end of this call I want to ________.

Secondary objectives are things you would like to accomplish. If you don’t achieve them, no problem; perhaps some other time. Secondary objectives are ‘nice to haves’ but not necessary to have.

Knowing your objectives provides you with focus and concentration. They dictate your opening, questioning, presenting, objections handling and advancing at the sale. They make you work smarter, faster and more successful.

2. Winging it – Not Having a Plan

Winging it refers to picking up the phone and hoping you have achieve your primary objective (if you have one).  Planning a call means knowing having a decent opening statement that engages the client, having questions prepared, listing key points you want to make, noting an objections you might encounter and having a close or an advance. It takes less than thirty seconds.

3. Poor Opening Statement

Most opening statements are lame and typically, uninspiring. A good opening statement features a benefit that intrigues the prospect (or the existing customer) to tune in and listen a little longer. A good opener differentiates your call and increases your chances of achieving your call objectives.

4. Surrendering to Objections

Whether they come at the beginning of a call or at the end of a call, objections are part of tele-sales and should not come as a surprise. Yet many reps respond as though they have never heard someone say, “I’m busy right now,” or “E-mail me something” or “Call me next week” and simply surrender to the comment. Don’t quit so easily. Learn how to respond to the classic objections by using questioning to determine if the objection is legitimate or false.

5. Failing to Ruthlessly Qualify

Some reps are so dang glad they’ve reached a live person who is willing to talk to them that they immediately jump to the pitch or the offer. They babble like brooks and hope that something they’ve flung out there will stick. Smart reps use questions to determine key information and whether it is worth their time and effort to pursue. Ruthlessly qualify and determine such critcal information such as is there a legitimate need, who are the decision makers, is budget available, when would a decision occur or whatever else you need to continue the sales cycle.

6. Failure to Get Firm Commitment

Some tele-sales reps make the mistake of failing to get commitment to the next step of the sales cycle.  For instance, the client agrees to reviewing a proposal and the reps says, “Great, I’ll call you next week.” That’s vague. Getting commitment means two things: getting the client to agree to some sort of actions (a webinar, a tele-seminar, review a proposal, examine a quote etc.) and agreeing to a date and time for the next step.  For instance, “Okay Mike, I’ll sign you up for tomorrow’s webinar and what I’d like to do is recommend we set up Thursday morning to review your thoughts and determine the next steps if any. How does 9:15 look on your calendar for then?”

7. Not Being Persistent in Following Up

About 87% of tele-sales reps give up after one attempt at cold calling or follow up. About 97% give up after the second attempt. To avoid this mistake, you need to go beyond one or two follow ups. Think three, four or five follow ups spaces about three days apart. Use voice mail and e-mail. Be polite but be persistent.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
Share

site designed by: Interface Web Solutions