PROSPECTING FOR NEW CLIENTS

Telesales is used to identify if a Prospect has potential business and if so, to make an appointment to see them. So before you pick up the telephone, what are the golden rules about telesales ?.

What specifically do you want from by the time it’s over ? The names of the decision makers, are they interested in Executive and if so when?.

Does your list of questions cover all the info you need and prevent any embarrassing need to phone back to complete your research ?.

Are you in the correct frame of mind to interest the client in what you are saying and in the right environment to take the time to prepare for the call ? Telesales must be conducted with a positive and confident manner.

Preparation is the key to success and all too often forgotten.

Firstly the prospect name must be known and pronounced well. It can help you in many ways. It will help you to handle the telephone operator and bring warmth to the relationship with your prospect more readily, particularly as you only have few minutes to win them over by phone.

All prospect data should be available during the call. Previous files or prospect cards giving information such as previous requirements, complaints, buying objections and competition used are essential to help you anticipate likely reactions to your call.

Directories, brochures and market research, such as recent happenings to your prospect company are also vital.

Existing clients can also be a good source of new leads for you to follow up if you should ask them.

List all names and telephone numbers you are going to call so that you can move swiftly onto the next one rather than holding on for a client. Always call the client, do not leave a message for them to return call, as they are unlikely to do so.

Your diary is a must for telesales to enable to suggest options on visit times and dates.

And now you are ready to pick up the phone……………………………

One of four things will probably happen when you dial and are greeted by your prospect’s telephone operator :

a). You will obtain the name of the decision maker and ask to be put through to them. Hopefully the telephone will transfer you immediately.

b). You will obtain the name of the decision maker and the operator will put you through to their secretary.

c). You will obtain the name of the decision maker and the operator will inform you they are in the meeting or out of the building. You need to ask when they will be available, say you will call back and thank them for their time.

d). The operator won’t know who the decision maker is.

Should option a) occur then you can go straight into your sales pitch, that is stage 1- The Opening as below.

Should option b) or c) occur, you will be faced with trying to secure an appointment through the secretary as you would with the decision maker using the three stages below. Asking the secretary for their help or advice usually gets you off to a good start. If option d) occurs, ask to be put through to the Managing Director or Chief Executive ‘s Secretary. They invariably know who is responsible for what in the company. Remember also that in certain types of companies ( say for example in the pharmaceutical industry ) they do have similar types of decision makers.

Stage 1 – THE OPENING

Introduce yourself, your company, and why you are calling. Then ask whether they have a few minutes to talk.

Some telesales experts will say this is a prime opportunity for the client to say “ No, I don’t have time “, but let’s admit, if they are busy and don’t have the time it’s better to say “ I understand you are busy, would it be better for me to call on Monday morning or afternoon ?”

Then, you will get either :

a) A time to call because they will appreciate that you’ve considered their priorities. Or,

b) They may give you an objection as to why they don’t want to speak with you.

Should a) happen then you can move onto Stage 2 – Presentation.

Should b) happen then you need to move directly onto Stage 3 – Objections.

Stage 2 – THE PRESENTATION

In previous sections, we have talked about features and benefits. At this stage in the call we need to present personalized features and benefits to interest the client. What particular benefits of Executive are going to be of real interest to them ?.

Unless we ask open-ended questions to glean information about their personal needs, we really don’t know. So ASK them and LISTEN.

For instance, “ We have developed several new services, may I ask what services you normally use within a hotel ?” Only then you can present one or two benefits tailored to the clients needs; no more tough, as giving a lot of information at this stage over the phone can lead to objections.

Stage 3 – OBJECTIONS

Naturally, some prospects have objections to your request to meet with them ; too busy ; too expensive; happy with the present company; thanks but NO! They come in all shapes and sizes and can be simply answered.

Firstly, don’t argue ! Be tactful and genuinely empathetic. For instance :

Objection : “ Happy with present hotel company / Thanks but No! / Too expensive “.

Reply : “ Apparently you have some reason for feeling that way- do you mind me asking what that is ?” Or,

Objection : “ I’m too busy “

Reply :” I understand you are busy- the discussion about the hotel services you have just told me you use will only take 7 minutes, unless you have questions – so would tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday any time be better?”

The golden rule about objections is not to give up at the first one, or the second for that matter. Obviously you don’t want to irritate the client but don’t be put off either. Making appointments is difficult – see it as a challenge!

Here is an example of a hard selling script that needs practice.

INTRODUCTION : Salesperson ( S ) Client Mr. Smith ( C )

S :“ Hello may I speak to Mr. Smith please ?”

C :“ David Smith speaking “

S : “ Good morning Mr. Smith, my name is Ellen from XYZ Hotel. I believe you handle your company’s Dinner Dance, Conference , Meetings, Individual booking etc.

“ Has anyone mentioned my name to you recently ?” Or,

S : “ Good morning Mr. Smith, my name is Ellen from XYZ Hotel . Did you receive the literature we mailed to you regarding our special promotions?” ( name the promotion ) Or,

S : “ Good morning Mr. Smith, my name is Ellen from XYZ Hotel. Did you receive my letter ? “ ( letter sent ) Or,

S : “ Good morning Mr. Smith, my name is Ellen from XYZ Hotel. Has Mr. Riupassa mentioned my name to you recently ?

( referral ).

Example reply :

S : “ Fine. The reason for my call today Mr. Smith, is that XYZ Hotel has developed a number of unique services designed for managers like yourself and I would like to drop by for 7 minutes to discuss these with you. Would Thursday or Friday be convenient ?”

This is often OBJECTION time ……too busy / not interested / already using / too expensive.

Whatever the objection you reply :

S : “ That’s OK Mr. Smith. I understand, however, some of my current clients also felt that way, until I had the opportunity of presenting our services to them, giving them the opportunity to see the benefits for themselves “

If you still get an OBJECTION then :

S : “ I appreciate your comments Mr. Smith, I will just drop the literature in so you have it to hand. Will you be there on Thursday or Friday ?”

This sort of script may get you the appointment but feel free to use your own words if these examples don’t fit in with your situation.

Remember, selling is tough and you need to keep your goal in mind all the time- that is the appointment don’t give up –

be persistent , smile, no smoking or drinking when on the phone and keep going with your telesales calls one after the other. Play the law of averages and make as many calls as you can.

Good Luck !

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