One of the most common things clients ask me is “how do we increase buyer interest in what we’re selling?” The answer I normally give is to tell them to make it interesting for them. A fairly pedantic answer you might say. But when I drill down into their current approach, I find a number of common problems with their telemarketing calls.
The Biggest Issues with Poor Calling Technique
These are not least:
- The caller pitches their products without focus on the buyer
- The telemarketer focuses on features not benefits
- The caller doesn’t understand buyer needs
- The telemarketer sounds scripted, stilted and the same as the last dozen cold callers
The are of course lots of other issues but let’s focus on the first three in this blog.
Too often, when I receive cold calls, the call starts something like.
Hi Jonathan, this is John Smith calling from ABC company. I’m just calling to introduce our products to you.
If, (and it’s a very big IF) they get past this point, they will proceed to pitch at me. This is very poor telemarketing technique and guaranteed to stimulate buyer objections you will struggle to overcome.
The First Rule of Telemarketing
First, prospects don’t want to be sold to and second, they still don’t want to be sold to. We’re all buyers. And, we’re all busy. The last thing we need, when we’re head down dealing with business priorities, is a poorly trainer cold-caller pitching at us.
If, and when, we do pick up the phone to an incoming call, want someone to understand our business needs and what keeps us awake at night. We want solutions not product pitches. We want buyer empathy not a list of product features
Confusing Benefits with Features
I’ve written extensively on this topic in other blogs. Often sales people confuse features with benefits.
I was with a client recently and asked them to give me a list of product benefits. They detailed the following:
- Stock availability
- Wide product range
- Range of colours
- Non slip
The problem is that these are features. They’re great, but they are what this particular client does, what they offer. We then spent some time working through what durability actually means for the client i.e. longer replacement cycles which mean higher productivity, lower costs and fewer claims from staff for injuries thus reducing risk. These are the real benefits. And this should be the emphasis for the call.
Likewise for the other features above, we flipped them to become genuine benefits. That way, when the caller eventually reaches a decision maker (no mean feat in large organisations) the focus of the call can now become buyer-centric rather than seller heavy.
Build Reference Points
Instead of saying “we sell superb products that are durable and are ex stock” they can say that they’re working with a named company with issues such as a need to reduce cost and claims for injury whilst improving productivity. If they buyer engages, they might go on to advise that ex stock delivery means clients can order fewer items more frequently and protect cash flow. Then they can advise that if these are issues for the buyer, they might have a solution but they’d love to understand how it works in their company. At this point the caller must move to the questioning part of the call rather than spraying the client with features like a machine gun. The idea is to stop talking and start asking.
The Same Wavelength
The above at least puts the buyer and seller on the same wavelength. It avoids the seller sounding like a telemarketer and makes it feel more like a partnership. It also helps avoid sounding like a stiff telesales script and pitch that is not going to enhance cold calling results.
The above is not fool-proof. Nothing is. However, telemarketing success is driven by understanding buyer needs, by focusing on genuine benefits, identifying decision maker pains and by looking at the call from the buyer’s perspective not the seller’s.
If you re-engineer your telesales call structure to focus on how you can alleviate buyer challenges, you are much more likely to find ways to improve telemarketing success.