I run a lot of telemarketing training courses and one thing that struck me more than anything was when we do exercises and role-plays is the lack of understanding that the call should be less about products and services and more about the customer and their needs.
Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it. But despite the theory being simple to grasp, the practicalities of making that work when cold calling, seem to be lacking. Where does the problem reside?
It sits in two main areas
1. The lack of understanding of what is a genuine benefit
2. The inability to position the call from the customer perspective
How does this work in practice?
For example, a benefit is not 24-hour delivery. That’s a feature and people don’t buy features. The benefit is what 24-hour delivery means for the customer. For example, it means the customer needs to hold less stock, which uses up less cash. It means that the customer can place smaller orders. That means stock absorbs less space in-store or at a warehouse. That delivers better deployment of resources meaning they can also replenish quicker. There are of course other benefits of having quick access to stock but you get the point I’m sure.
On a cold call, often telemarketers pitch their wares at customers. So they might say that we offer a range of products all with 24-hour delivery. That’s fine but a better way to position this on a call might be to say something like.
A lot of our customers have concerns about cash flow and limited space in the store. They like what we offer because we provide 24-hour delivery which means better use of space and less cash tied up in stock.
In my telemarketing courses, I generally tell delegates that the call must not be about them and their products. It must be about the customer and their needs and challenges and how your business and services help the customer with those things. The first part of the call intro needs to recognize this (you need to know your market and the likely issues to be able to do this). That’s how you grab decision-maker attention fast. Once you have got their attention, ask a good question to start the dialogue. Resist the temptation to immediately pitch your product and service at the prospect. Ask good questions to probe and clarify and show that you are interested in their needs. They know you want to sell but they will engage more and buy more from suppliers they believe have a genuine interest in them.
So, when doing cold calls, think about the customer first and your product second. Position the call that way and you will (1) stop sounding like all the other cold callers that phone the prospect and (2) be more likely to secure your desired outcome and gain trust that leads to sales.
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