Telesales Techniques

Telesales techniques apply to telemarketing, telesales, cold calling ... whatever…. the professional use of the phone in a very important part of the sales process.

Many people have difficulty picking up the phone and making cold calls to customers. 
Let me say that I never had that problem; so, some would argue that I'm not the best person to write about this.

However, I think I know the reasons why I never had a problem making cold calls:

  • I didn't follow a script so I didn't have the pressure of remembering my lines
  • I only called someone if I believed I had a product that could help them
  • I was genuinely interested in what people did and how they did it, i.e. I was curious
  • I treated people as people, not gate keeps
  • I was courteous and polite
  • I knew how to build rapport
  • I didn't take rejection personally.

Most of the above items are a matter of attitude.
However, knowing how to build rapport is one of the telesales techniques that I cover elsewhere on this site.

So, if you are one of those people who looks at the phone and feels ill then you need to do some state change work to feel better about making cold calls. Anchoring a better feeling to the phone is one way of doing that. Anchoring is covered in one of the free articles on this site. If you need help with this I am available for sales coaching and the process of changing how you feel about cold calls is one of the critical telesales techniques and it can be completed very quickly.

Do yourself a favor before you start making a sales call and prepare for the call. 
This would mean things like gathering information about your customer and making absolutely sure you know what you need to know about your product including being confident that the product is of value to your prospect.

You may even want to set goals for the call including a secondary goal in case you don't achieve your number-one objective.
Objectives from a sales call could be as simple as getting an appointment, getting agreement from them to review your literature or maybe as critical as getting an order.

In my opinion the worst thing you can do is work out a script. 
That way you won't sound natural (as distinct from rehearsed) and you will sound like a salesman. 
It is quite okay to have some thoughts about what sort of questions you might ask to qualify your prospect but do not try to learn a "canned" presentation.

When you open the phone conversation please, please, please do not open with a comment like, "if I could show you a way ...", because that immediately sounds like a pushy salesperson angling for a close.

Open your sales call courteously like you would open any other conversation, explain who you are and why you're calling and that you think your product may be of use to them but you need to confirm that with them. Use words like; words like might, maybe and perhaps that facilitate exploration rather than appearing to be the expert that knows the product will be of benefit to them.

Let me repeat what I wrote before, treat everyone as though they are the big decision maker because I firmly believe you get a lot further by doing this. It is certainly a telesales technique that worked very well for me.

Keep in mind your voice while you're on the phone because it is the only mode of communication you have at the time. 
A UCLA study about selling on the phone revealed that 84% of the message that you convey is conveyed by the music in your voice (that is your pitch, tone and inflection). Now I'm not so sure about that term "music of your voice" but I can guarantee you that your voice has a large bearing on the results you will get from your sales phone calls.

You need to listen very closely to the first few words that your prospect speaks on the other end of the phone and then match the speed tone and volume of your voice to theirs because this will help greatly in building rapport.

I have also read that the brain has very sensitive credibility detectors based on the quality of the sound coming from a persuader. The way you speak gives unconscious indicators to the listener about your sincerity, integrity, emotional state and competence. If you don't project confidence about your product in your voice how else will your prospect get a sense that the product is a good one?

If you have never done it before it is a very good idea to record your own voice as though you are making a cold call and play it back so you can hear yourself. You may be surprised at the poor quality of your voice as a sales tool.

It is quite easy to change the qualities of your voice when you know how. It is not just a matter of where you project your voice from but the emotional state you are in at the time you are talking. The process of Anchoring mentioned before is a good way to lock in the emotional state you need in order to be persuasive on the phone before you even start talking.

So voice quality is one of the most important telesales techniques.
If you want help with this I am avaialble for sales coaching.

When you start talking to a new prospect don't just rattle off a long list of the benefits of your product or worse still rattle off all the features of your product. You need to ask questions to find out what the prospect wants, who they are (how they communicate) and who else is involved with the purchase before you present any benefits. You also need to quantify the problem because that will determine their motivation and your reward. When you know what people want you only present the benefits that are of interest to them. When you know who they are and how they communicate your present those benefits in a way that is understandable and attractive to them. (For information about understanding a prospect look in my free articles for titles such as, "criteria", "the convincer", "where do your prospects make decisions" and "sales and life purpose") Understanding your prospect is one of those telesales techniques rarely mentioned by other sales coaches.

The trick is to ask a lot of questions during a cold call without sounding like you're interrogating your prospect.
It will help if you use words like; perhaps, maybe and continue with a curious, caring, questioning tone. Ask your questions one at a time. Ask well targeted questions (I will be writing a future article about this as it's an important telesales technique and you'll find it in the Free Articles on my website). Phrases like, "tell me more" or "could you repeat that please" or "what exactly do you mean by that" or repeating the last word that the prospect has uttered but in a questioning tone or even the grunts and groans of conversation like "uhuh", "umm" "oh" will all help the prospect to keep talking.

Don't be scared of silence. 
Sometimes the prospect just needs to take some time to think about their response. The worst thing you can do at that time is talk because you're only interrupting the train of thought that is going to bring you the information you need to make a sale.

When it comes time to close a sales phone call it will become obvious, usually by the uneasy silence. 
At that time it is okay to talk and say something as simple as, "where do we go to from here?" Or "what's the next step". These statements are not pushy but give your prospect an opportunity to move things forward or voice their concerns.

As I said in the beginning telesales techniques are an integral part of the selling process if you are an inside sales person or a field rep and are of paramount importance if you are a telemarketer. Use the techniques mentioned above to enhance the results you are getting on the phone.