1) Determine Your Valid Business Reason: we call this “VBR” for short. A VBR establishes what’s in it for the people on the other end of the line. What is the benefit of taking your call instead of working on their businesses? Do you call with an important purpose or are you just calling to “check in?” This sets you apart from “professional visitors.” I’ve conducted 100s of interviews with customers and what I found was they want three things from you, 1) ideas 2) facts and information 3) ways to solve their problems. What they don’t want is a call to “check in.” Most of the time you call, you’re going to get voicemail (1 out of 12 calls roughly). The key to getting a returned call is to leave a message with a valid business reason.
2) Warm Up with Your Favorite Song! That’s right, turn up your favorite song and sing at the top of your lungs. Your pets will think you’re nuts, your spouse might too, and if you’re in your car, the other drivers definitely will, but who cares. You will increase your endorphins by that beautiful music bellow into your ears and get your excited and ready to rock your next call. You’ll also get oxygen into your lungs and your brain. This helps expand your lungs keeping you from holding your breathe while you’re on the phone. Breathing helps keep your anxiety and stress down making your more calm on the call. Oxygen in your brain allows you to think more clearly to know what to say, listen to your prospect, and develop ideas to help him or her solve challenges with your solutions. 5-10 minutes of music before you start dialing for dollars.
3) Visualize Yourself Successful. This goes along with a smile, but it’s a bit different. Most people dread making sales calls. Maybe that’s not you, but 90% of the women entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with rank it #1 or #2, before public speaking, in their list of least favorite tasks to do. Now, that’s interesting since the #1 fear is public speaking. The researchers forgot to include fear of sales calls in the list, apparently. One way to help you overcome this fear is to close your eyes and imagine yourself having an awesome conversation with the person you are about to call. Think of yourself as giving this person massive value and helping or serving her, not “selling” her. Selling can infer negative thoughts of being pushy or aggressive and that’s not what we’re here to do. You will be of far better service to you and your clients if you visualize yourself as building a relationship, finding out their needs, and putting a match together between their needs and your products.
4) Put On Your Smile. While this may sound a little funny, the truth is, I know when someone on the other end of the line is happy or irritated. I want to talk to happy people, and so do your future customers. Get a mirror in front of your phone, and get a big smile on your face before you dial. It will make a big difference in your conversation and getting your voicemail returned. I have heard people say they can feel my energy coming through the phone.
5) Grab a Pen or Pencil and a Call Form. Yes, you need to take diligent notes. You may even want to type up some power questions for your call to ensure you uncover important information. I like to have a simple paper with a line down the middle, one side says “wants” and one side says “needs.” Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have paper and pen to capture the information you want to help your prospect uncover what they need.
6) Have an Easy Yes! Offer. I find it easier to have a conversation with someone if I have something awesome to offer her. I like to have small events, either virtually or in person to invite the prospect to check out what I do and how I do it. It’s a great way for them to test me out without having to make a big commitment. Another purpose of the Yes! Offer is to minimize risk. Selling is all about minimizing the buyer’s perceived risk. If they have a chance to experience you, and you provide massive value, then they may consider working with you on a higher level. The side effect is that if she is ready to jump all-in and needs your help today, the call could turn into a bigger opportunity on the spot. You have to keep your antenna up for this, but she just may ask you how to get more help which is very exciting!
7) Remember to Ask for the Next Step. Always ask what the next step is to follow up after your call. It is a great opportunity to get your prospect on your calendar again and keep the momentum moving forward. Make sure to calendar it yourself and send an invite. Never put the ball in their court to go to your calendar and schedule something. It’s a much better customer experience if you do the scheduling and you will get a higher success rate of your prospect or client taking the next step.
About the author: Jennifer Darling is an expert sales coach serving women in business. She has worked with 1,000s of businesses in strategic planning to grow their businesses. She provides sales, marketing and business coaching for women in business, corporations, and groups. Jennifer possesses 20 years in sales, marketing, leadership and personal development for companies such as NBC, CBS, FOX, and Comcast. She holds a Master’s Degree in Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising & Promotion.