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How To Prepare for Cold Calls When Resistance is Likely

Simply dialing the phone does not give a person the right to take someone’s time. Promising or hinting at some value they could get does.

cold calls, cold calling

Many sales reps look at ads, direct mailing pieces, catalogs, the Internet, anywhere there's advertising as sources of prospects. This is wise. But I find so many of these people ill-prepared for what they inevitably hear on calls. Here's an example of what I received.

Caller: “Hello, this is Bill Jones with Video Recorders. I saw the ad for your Getting Through to Buyers video program, and we do video duplication.”

“Uh-huh.”

He became flustered at this point, probably because I didn't say, “Oh, you do video duplication? Where should I send my master copy; you can do mine.”

“Uh, I'd like to talk to you about doing yours.”

“Look I'll save you some time. I selected my existing company after evaluating quite a few. They have a very good price, quality is fine, and service is great. I have no reason to even consider looking around. Even if I did, I ordered enough to last me the rest of the year.”

“Oh, OK. Keep us in mind.”

Yeah, sure.

Analysis and Recommendations

So you might be thinking that I gave this guy an iron-clad objection that was impenetrable. And you're right for the most part-when it comes to getting a sale on that call. However, he undoubtedly runs into that same objection quite a bit, so I'm surprised he hasn't learned to use something that won't totally slam the door so suddenly in his face. Here's what I would do in his situation:

Call Strategy and Preparation: If I were placing this call, my Primary Objective would be to get commitment that the prospect would use my service the next time they duped tapes. Although that wouldn't be achieved on a majority of the calls, it's always best to aim high. After realizing on the call this wouldn't be reached, objectives in descending order would be: to get commitment that I could at least bid on their next job, and if that wasn't met, to get agreement that they would at least keep us on file as a back-up supplier in case their existing duplicator for some reason no longer met their needs, or if they had other future projects coming up.

Preliminary Information: He knew nothing about me when he called. He could have asked the person who answered the phone here about who we now use, how many we typically order, what we pay, and any other qualifying information which would have better-equipped him for the call.

Opening Statement: He gave no reason for me to even listen. He may as well just said. “Well, I've finally called you, so I guess you can start using us now.”

Simply dialing the phone does not give a person the right to take someone's time. Promising or hinting at some value they could get does.

I would have listened to this: “I'm Bill Jones with Video Recorders. We specialize in top quality video duplication, and now work with quite a few training organizations. Depending on the price you're now paying and your level of satisfaction with the quality and service you're getting, it might be worth it for you to take a look at a bid we could do for you. I'd like to ask a few questions to see if it would be worth your while to talk about it.”

I would have been more likely to answer questions at this point. However, even if I did retort with the same objection mentioned earlier, he could have picked up on it and used it to ask more questions. For example, “I see. What price are you paying?” If that resulted in a dead-end, a last resort question to at least try and accomplish the last chance objective would be, “What plans do you have in place for a back-up supplier, if for example, you needed a large quantity in a hurry and your supplier wasn't able to accommodate you for some reason?”

Determine if parts of your call process are similar to this one. Analyze every step of the process, determine your own strengths and enhance them, and shore up the weak areas.

 

How to Replace Your Sales Script with a Conversation

Sales Mini-Lesson Take-Aways
Change your mindset from trying to "close" the appointment to "opening" the conversation. Throw out your linear, step-by-step sales script and create a natural opening phrase that doesn’t put pressure on the other person.

cold call, cold calling, sales training, phone selling, phone prospecting, sales prospecting, sales scripts, telesales, telemarketing, mortgage selling, mortgage cold calling, insurance sales

<p>The main problem was that sales scripts ended up cornering the person I was calling into a "Yes" or "No."</p>

<p>And that made me feel sleazy and just fed the negative "salesperson" stereotype. It seemed too unnatural to pick up the phone and immediately pitch what I had to offer. I felt I was assuming way too much when the person didn’t even know me.</p>

<p>Now I want to share with you how my entire approach has changed thanks to Unlock The Game.</p>

<p>I spent one whole night studying your audio, video, and e-book materials from the Mastery program, and the next day the lightbulbs starting popping in my head.</p>

<p>I realized I shouldn’t be putting pressure on the other person by trying to lead them to say "yes" to my product or business opportunity.</p>

<p>I also realized that my mindset was backward. Mentally I was trying to get the appointment, but I was struggling to avoid using words that would give that away. And that was the conflict that was eating at me—I had a HIDDEN agenda, and the people I called picked up on the fact that I wasn’t being genuine.</p>

<p>So I shifted my thinking to what you suggest: "Focus on getting to the truth of whether there’s a fit or not instead of the getting the sale."</p>

<p>Once I began thinking that way, I realized that I had to first see if the person was open to the CONCEPT of another business opportunity before discussing whether they were interested or not.</p>

<p>In other words, I had to take a step back on the call, be humble, and begin with a new opening phrase. So here’s how it goes:</p>

<p>"Hi, my name is Ben, and we haven’t met yet." (This is great because it disarms any suspicion they might have about me.)</p>

<p>Then I say, "I’m just calling to see if you’d be open to the IDEA of a different kind of supplemental business where can generate income with minimal capital investment." (When I ask if they’re open to the IDEA first, people seem much more relaxed and open to talking to me about it.)</p>

<p>And that’s all I start with, because after that the conversation flows naturally to the end conclusion of whether we can work together or not.</p>

<p>Now I don’t have to feel nervous about getting to the next piece of my script because we just move into a natural conversation.</p>

<p>In fact, I’ve thrown out my script entirely and just begin the conversation as I’ve described it above. And here’s what tends to happen now:</p>

<p>The other day I called a lead and used exactly this approach. The conversation flowed naturally and he seemed interested in the business opportunity. My first instinct was to try to "close" him as I’d been trained to do. Instead, I remembered what you said about not putting pressure on the person as you near the end of a conversation. So I used the natural phrasing you suggested and said "Where do you think we should go from here?" </p>

<p>And he suggested we schedule an appointment to move things forward!</p>

<p>I love this approach because I can sell without being aggressive!</p>

<p>Also, people respond to me not as a salesperson but as a human being. I’ve had people book appointments and refer me to other prospects because they want to help me out. I’ve also found that when someone doesn’t want my products or service, I come away from the call with no rejection at all. There’s no doubt at all that my business has grown since I’ve been using your Mastery program.</p>

<p>Sales Mini-Lesson Take-Aways</p>

<p>Here are some key take-aways from Ben’s story that can help you get on the right track:</p>

<p>* Change your mindset from trying to "close" the appointment to "opening" the conversation.</p>
<p>* Throw out your linear, step-by-step sales script and create a natural opening phrase that doesn’t put pressure on the other person.</p>
<p>* At the end of your initial call, don’t try to "close" for the appointment. Instead, ask, "Where should we go from here?"</p>
<p> * Learn to think of yourself as a problem-solver rather than as someone who’s simply selling something.</p>
<p>* Focus on creating a two-way dialogue rather than just making your pitch.</p>

 

How to Cold Call without a Script

Linear step-by-step sales scripts have done a lot to give selling a bad name. Not because they don’t "work", actually some people who use cold calling scripts actually do make some sales.

cold call, cold calling, sales training, phone selling, phone prospecting, sales prospecting, sales scripts, telesales, telemarketing, mortgage selling, mortgage cold calling, insurance sales

<p>Linear step-by-step sales scripts have done a lot to give selling a bad name. Not because they don’t "work", actually some people who use cold calling scripts actually do make some sales. The problem is even if you’re a good-hearted businessperson, scripts make it almost impossible for you to avoid sounding like a "salesperson." This is a serious problem because most people respond to a sales agenda with something like, "Uh oh, I’m about to be sold something. How fast can I get this person off the phone?" If we turn away from the artificial beginning of a sales script, and approach cold calling in a different way, then we’re likely to get different responses.</p>

<p>The first step to cold calling in this new, natural way is to let go of your script as a crutch.</p>

<p>The idea may sound scary at first because you’ve been programmed to think you have to have a script to make a successful cold call. Let me share a recent experience.</p>

<p>Last week I was sitting at my desk and the phone rang. I picked it up and said, "Hello, this is Ari." The caller said. "Hi, Ari, my name is Steve, how are you today?" I knew right away that he was using a structured sales script, and that triggered the negative "salesperson" stereotype in my mind. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I let him continue with his pitch for a few minutes.</p>

<p>Then I gently said, "Hi, Steve." He was so startled that he completely stopped speaking.</p>

<p>He had no idea how to react to my simple, normal greeting. Why? It was because he was totally focused on his selling script and not on any real two-way conversation. This is the problem with using a cold calling sales script -- it doesn’t leave any room for a conversation to have a life of its own.</p>

<p>When people call me and ask how they can throw out their scripts and cold call the natural way, the first thing I do is ask them whether they’re willing to role-play with me using their script. As soon as they start reading their script, a couple of things happen. I hear their voices go up in volume so they sound enthusiastic. They also talk faster, and their voice takes on a canned, robotic quality. All these things trigger the negative "salesperson" stereotype.</p>

<p>After a few moments, I gently stop them and tell them they’re sounding like a totally different person from the one who called me and talked with me so naturally about their sales issues. You know what they always say? "Ari, you are so right. When I use a script, I feel as if I can’t be myself. I feel like a robot or an actor, and it’s very awkward and uncomfortable. Is there any way I can be myself again?"</p>

<p>Yes, there is a way to be yourself and still make successful cold calls. The way to be yourself is...be yourself! It’s important to stop trying to be an actor or even a successful salesperson. You’ll become more personable and more interested in the conversation itself when you do this.</p>

<p>We begin by focusing on relationship rather than salesmanship. We call with the anticipation of meeting someone new, and looking forward to a pleasant conversation to find out whether we can be of service. This new mindset is subtle but powerfully felt by the other person. </p>

<p>When we’re being real people treating others as real people, the difference is amazing. Both people are both more at ease. We anticipate talking with someone who may possibly have an interest in what we have to offer. If they don’t, we’ve enjoyed our time with him or her.</p>

<p>When others feel this relaxed mindset from you, they’re much more likely to welcome you into their day. However, if you rigidly follow a cold calling script, then your call is immediately pegged as something initiated primarily for your own gain. That will undoubtedly put you back to square one.</p>

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