I recently taught a crash course on Cold Calling 101 at Spectrum Federal Credit Union here in San Francisco. The class was made up of about 5 people all of whom made a point of showing up at 8 am for a 1 hour workshop to get them focused on the task of cold calling and cross selling. Since I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, I was quite pleased with the amount of information that was retained by me and assimilated by the group. Because I focus primarily on out bound calls in my workshops, I sometimes neglect certain aspects of good in-bound cold calling. Sounds like an oxymoron I know but stop and think about it. How many times have you had someone call your firm out of the blue and either want a quote or additional information on your services? How you respond to this call will initially determine what direction the conversation will end up.
"What prompted you to call us today" instead of “how may I help you” is your first opportunity to get the prospect to tell their story as opposed to making a single declarative statement. Let them.
Ex: 1" How may I help you?"
I’d like some info on your mortgage rates….
Ex: 2 "What prompted you to call us today?"
I was thinking about refinancing my home within the next 3 months to pay off some bills and I wanted to get some info from your firm.
See the difference? In the second example, you know what their time frame is, what they’re looking for and why they need your services. This is a powerful open ended probing question because people love talking about themselves and their situations. It also gives you an opportunity to find out why they called you in particular instead of your competitors. This is also the time to mentally catalogue what kind of services you can sell them, what services they´re currently using and how soon they´re looking to make a buying decision. In addition it determines how hot the prospect´s needs are and what their budget is likely to be. It also allows you to listen more closely to the prospect while taking notes to read back to the potential customer towards the end of the call.
If they´re already a customer it opens the door for cross selling your other products and services without being pushy. Because you´ve now asked the magic question, you can ask more in depth probes like "tell me about your experiences with the other company´s products and services". Be sure to manage the inbound cold call as you would an outbound call by continuing the probing process gathering enough info to either close the deal or schedule an appointment. As always remember that asking a probing question, the right probing question can lead to big profits.
Tony Wilkins is the author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column ,please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com