As I’ve said before, one of the great things about inside sales is that unlike outside sales the prospect can’t see you. They can’t see you roll your eyes or make a chatting motion with your hand or practice your putting game as they ramble on and on about the economy and why they’re not buying today.
If outside sales is the equivalent of television then inside sales is radio, and with radio you have to be more imaginative to hold the audience’s attention and keep them tuned in.
Speakerphone is an excellent way to set the tone of the conversation, specifically if you’re trying to bypass Shirley the Gatekeeper. There are a couple of reasons why speakerphone helps you get the information you need.
Number one, using speakerphone gives you the appearance that you’re more important than you actually are. Shirley might picture you in your own private office, spacious, overlooking downtown San Francisco, telling your own Shirley to “pull the Jones file and get me a slice of that marble cake I like so much,” when in reality you’re in a cubicle or at home in your pajamas. People’s imaginations are stimulated much more if you’re on speakerphone than if you’re not.
Number two, Shirley doesn’t know if you’re alone or with other “important” people at a meeting.
“Hi, Shirley, I’m with Carl and Steve and Little Joe, is Bill in? … He’s not in guys … Shirley do you have Bill’s mobile?”
Now, she might not give you Bill’s mobile but if you ask she may give you the contact name for another decision maker or point you in the right direction. Why? Because she doesn’t want to appear unhelpful to a room full of “clients” or “prospects.” And she’s not sure about you, doesn’t really know who you are even if you identify yourself.
“Maybe these gentlemen know Bill,” she might wonder.
Do I recommend pitching Bill on speakerphone? Absolutely not. If he picks up take him off speaker immediately. You do not need extra noises (and a “whatever” attitude) to compete for his attention.
Think of it this way: With the use of speakerphone you’re grabbing at more opportunities to “entertain” your audience (Shirley) and getting what you want (a cell phone number; another contact; to be put through, etc.) Once Bill picks up, the spotlight is on you and you alone—the other “actors” have left the stage.
Now, hit your notes and close the deal.