In today’s ever-changing business world, more is expected of us in less time, and the same is true of the people we sell to. Whether your role is “Inside Sales” or “Outside Sales” you are probably experiencing a shift in how customers are buying today.
We absolutely still need to sell, but our potential customers are giving us less and less time to do that, particularly in person. A recent quote in Forbes Magazine states that for sale cycles less than 90 days: “75% of buyers would prefer to not spend their time meeting face to face with a salesperson.”
The question is, how can we be productive and do our jobs if we have fewer opportunities to get in front of potential customers?
We need to tailor our approach to what makes the most business sense, and think critically about the range of touch points we can have with our prospects (and customers) that are time efficient for us and honor their busy schedules.
Learning to properly utilize the telephone, email and social media as tools will help you stay connected and will keep time from killing as many deals.
If we focus on the telephone for connecting with our prospective customers, what are some upsides and challenges to consider?
Let’s say you have considered the pros and cons and you like the idea of using your phone more in an effort to adapt to the needs of your customers. How do you do this efficiently?
1. Make a list of what you can expect to accomplish by phone vs. face to face for each prospect or customer to make effective use of your time. There are times when a phone conversation can accomplish the same objective without having to make a special trip.
2. Establish certain hours each week to make pre-planned purpose driven calls to your customers and prospects. The purpose of the call can be to make appointments, make follow up calls if you won’t be in their territory, to thank them for their trust and loyalty, or to gain commitments for future business. These are your “money hours.”
3. Decide your objective before you call. These are not touch points to simply “check in.” If you do not bring value to your prospects and clients, there is not a great likelihood of them answering when you call again.
In closing, the average cost of an outside B2B sales call is $215-$400 per call. The average cost of an inside call, on the other hand, is only $25-$75.
Don’t keep that small but mighty phone in your tool belt. Take it out and consider its power. Adapt to the changing business environment and put it to great use today!
Phone Faux Pas – Forget about it!
Tell the truth. Have you ever inadvertently been rude on the phone? Even business people with the best manners have made mistakes here and there. Avoid future faux pas by keeping these tips in mind:
1. While on the phone, be sure to concentrate on the call itself and do not get distracted by other things. Composing an email, texting or shuffling papers all suggest your attention is not on the conversation. Yes. They can hear it.
2. Eating while on the phone is a no-no. Because sounds are magnified, chewing a piece of gum (or even sucking on a cough drop) can be heard. If you have anything in your mouth, don’t get on the phone.
3. Try hard not to sneeze, blow your nose, or cough into the receiver. If you sneeze or cough suddenly, be sure to turn the receiver away from your mouth and excuse yourself. As noted before, the sound is magnified to the other person.
4. Avoid using speakerphone, if possible. It can be very hard to hear and distracting for everyone involved. The cardinal rule when using speakerphone: Immediately tell the person on the other end of the line that you are using one and name all who are present.
5. Make sure your tone and the speed of your voice matches the person’s you are speaking to. If you speak too quickly or too slowly you can give the wrong impression. Your tone should be upbeat and pleasant. People like to talk to people who enjoy what they do.
Be aware of these five faux pas. Fine tune your phone manners and leave the best impression possible each and every time you make a business call!