A Buying Signal is the Holy Grail for sales people. It’s when the buyer says ‘Hallelujah, the messiah has indeed arrived. Let me take all of your services at full price for a 12 month lock-in contract’. Or at least it goes something like that in my dreams.
Of course that’s not the real world. The customer is empowered and has so many choices. There are so many suppliers. Most offer broadly the same services and buyer attention is limited due to the pressures of work. And, it’s pretty hard to reach the buyer in the first place due to data quality issues, voicemail, gatekeepers and so on.
With the above scenario, it’s is essential that telemarketers pick up on the buying signals that they receive from buyers. Too often these are missed. Below are our five reasons why cold callers fail to seal the deal.
They‘re too Interested in their own Sales Pitch
Cold calling has changed. In the good old days, you didn’t have the challenges of voicemail and ‘secretaries’ just put you through. Equally, often cold calls were the only way they found out about a particular product or service. Today’s buyer is time poor and flooded with marketing messages. There are so many suppliers to choose from.
In answer to these challenges, what does the typical ‘cold caller’ do? He or she resorts to a stiff and scripted sales pitch at which the buyer baulks. The reality is that the seller is so self-interested that they focus only on what they have to sell and not what the buyer needs. Therefore, they never get the chance to pick up on buying signals since they do most of the talking!
They Don’t Differentiate
As I mentioned above, in most markets there is a stack of competitors vying for business. It’s hard to differentiate. In service businesses, I often hear the proposition ‘we’re really good to deal with’ or ‘we give great service’. The problem is that everyone says that. The first few seconds of the call are critical. At that point, the caller must not only differentiate the product or service but must also set themselves apart from other callers. People still buy people and the caller has to be credible, compelling and engaging. They need to back that up with an opening line that instigates a two way dialogue. If there is two-way conversation, there is a better chance of picking up buying signals.
They Don’t Ask Good Questions
When running telemarketing training for clients, I always advise that a cold call should be a dialogue not a monologue. The only way that this can happen is if the seller knows how build rapport, to ask good questions that encourage the buyer to talk and to provide useable information for the sale. Good open and even closed questions illicit information that can enable the seller to focus in on challenges and to gauge whether the buyer has interest in solutions for those challenges. Without effective questions, the buyer will never find out what the buyer needs let alone identify buying signals.
They Don’t Listen
It stands to reason that good questions are of no material use if you don’t wait around for the answers before launching back into your sales pitch. A question isn’t a precursor to the pitch. It is an opportunity to understand genuine concerns that the buyer may have. It allows you to unearth issues that you can potentially resolve. It also ensures, hopefully, that you shut up thus enabling the prospect to talk. It’s only when they are talking that you can apply active listening and thereby pick up on potential buying signals.
They Can’t Manage Objections
As mentioned earlier, cold callers often spend too much time talking and not enough listening. This frustrates the prospect and opens the door to common objections. Whilst objections are a fact of life in telemarketing, they can be minimised by the caller focusing on buyer needs rather than their own. Providing information relating to typical buyer challenges can open up the dialogue. And, once in conversation, objections are much easier to deal with especially if the objective of the call is to set up a sales meeting. That’s always a good default position allowing a fuller face to face conversation around the subject matter.
Sales people love to talk. The problem is that they try to ‘answer’ objections rather than clarify them. During the process of clarification and questioning, the seller is more able to build rapport that leads to identification of an opportunity. Jumping in and trying to ‘convince’ the buyer of the error of his or her ways may lead to alienation and conflict. That masks any potential buying signals. It is much better to once again ask good questions for clarification to see if there may be merit in further discussion at which time buying signals are more likely to be in evidence.
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