Virtual Sales Team compile recommendations shared during our weekly campaign reviews. The following lists a sample of the outbound lead generation and appointment setting guidelines.
Keep it light
When appointment setting, it will be expected that you would have “read up” on all the best techniques and tips for selling over the phone, and naturally, that may involve applying some pressure.
We don’t do this at the Virtual Sales Team!
People buy from those that they trust, and over-applying pressure could cause the prospect customer to feel uncomfortable.
So use persuasive and positive language, but don’t force ideas on customers. Tell customer success stories and let them come to their own conclusions.
Also, demonstrating courtesy over the phone is important to put the customer at ease. So preparing a list of courtesy words and phrases that can be sprinkled into the conversation at any given moment can be a useful strategy.
Checked Against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
Too often, cold calling through prescribed lists of data, without enough information, can prove a waste of time for both the calling and called parties.
Making sure that your data have been TPS checked beforehand will ensure a better contact rate once initial calls are being made.
Be empathetic but remain confident in your value
Rushing into a sales pitch without asking if the person has enough time to talk can potentially put them off wanting to listen.
If possible, make sure that they have the time, and if not, arrange a more convenient time to call them. This may prove to be a more successful conversation overall.
Don’t panic if the prospect doesn’t have time right there and then. If it isn’t convenient, just try to establish when is a good time for them.
Support the Prospect with the information they need
Towards the end of the call, provide the prospect with the right links to access company information for themselves. This can give them the chance to ask any additional questions that they may have prior to the arranged appointment.
Think of a Good Hook That Will Grab the Prospect in the First 60 Seconds
The most important thing during outbound calling is to have a tried-and-tested hook (or a number of hooks) you can use. These should be benefits that will get potential customers interested within the first 60 seconds.
People are busy and a cold call usually happens when you are not expecting it. If you don’t get the customer’s interest immediately, you will struggle to pull it back, no matter how well trained and knowledgeable your people are.
Ask for a referral
Potential clients will be more likely to speak with an organisation if they have been referred to them by a friend or family member.
So, once an appointment has been set, make sure the customer has the correct contact details and say something along the lines of: “if you know of anyone else who you think could benefit from our product/service, please feel free to share my contact details.”
It could also be useful to contact old customers to ask if they know of anyone who may be interested in your services.
While this should be done by email – as you do not want to irritate past customers by calling, because of the risk of harming any future deals – this can be a very useful tool to make another contact.
However, asking for referrals should not be the sole purpose of the email. Instead include the request in an email (or letter) that thanks to the customer for their deal and gives them contact details for if they have any queries with the service.