5 Books I Recommend You Read This YearFebruary 9, 2019
Sales Success comes from How We Think and ActMarch 7, 2019
When it comes to finding new sales leads, there are ways to find new potential prospects.
From website optimisation and paying for traffic to engaging on social media with your ideal client, you can put new prospects at the top of your funnel, but unless you’re able to convert those leads into paying customers, it’s pretty much a waste of time.
So why is it a struggle to convert leads into customers? There are two reasons why most companies fail. The first is that they don’t make any effort to nurture the leads that come in and the second is that they don’t make effective and engaging sales calls when they do finally speak with someone.
Maybe you're one of those people that constantly struggles to engage effectively with a prospect over the phone? Are you unknowingly sabotaging your own business simply through how you communicate? If you’re struggling with what to say, or even how to say it, you might want to consider a sales script.
Why bother with a script?
The common misconception with scripts is that it makes you sound too robotic and come across as rigid and impersonal. If you practice a script enough, this won’t be the case. You will sound confident about your product or service, and your conversation will flow because you won’t be worrying about what to say. You will sound more professional and knowledgeable, and your mind will be free to focus on your message and listening to how the other party responds. Scripts work well if you have practised them countless times in advance.
Think of your sales script as a template for your conversation. It should outline all the things you wish to cover in your call and be able to handle different responses that your prospects might respond to you on. The very best salespeople know the exact words they will look to use but using a range of words held within a framework is a starting point which will deliver better results for you.
What to put in your script…? Let’s get personal!
Best practice is to use the name of your call recipient. It shows that you have prepared, and you know who they are and what they do. Using terms like ‘Can I speak to James White please?’ usually means you have done your homework.
Make sure you also introduce yourself immediately and clearly. Failing to do this may result in a hung-up call! Practice this introduction and use a couple of different alternatives.
Should you ask if now a good time?
There are different views on this one. Some sales gurus will tell you that asking this question to a cold prospect will immediately result in them saying no and you losing the chance to speak with the prospect. Others say it’s the right thing to do and it’s polite.
In my experience, if you are engaging in colder calls then asking if it’s a good time to speak will invariably mean the conversation comes to an end, and it's sometimes difficult to get the prospect back on the phone again. If you have spoken to the person before, then ask them, but if it’s the first time you have engaged, I would have a sharply focused script that tries to capture their attention, asks them a question and which demonstrates your respect for their time.
I do think it’s courteous to check if your recipient has time to chat with you first and it shows that you are considerate, but sales is about results and sometimes we must capture attention to ensure conversations are continued.
Sometimes you may get a negative response to asking whether it’s the right time which may mean you need to do a little bit more nurturing of this lead with some valuable content. You may get a ‘not right now’ which means the door is open for you to schedule a call at a more convenient time.
So, why are you calling?
After your introduction, don’t waste time with small talk. How annoying is it when someone asks how you are, or how the weather is where you are? The prospect on the other end wants to know the reason for your call so they can decide whether they want to continue with it. It’s also incredibly fake to ask someone you don’t know very well these questions when you don’t care about their answer.
I believe you need to be clear about why you are calling and ensure you outline that the focus of your call is about them and not you.
“I am calling to understand more about you and your business with the intention of setting up a follow-up face to face appointment if you feel what we offer is of further interest to you?”
After this point, show that you value their role and time and indicate why you think they should want to have a conversation with you. Try and build a position of strength and authority by referencing your experience of working with others similar to them and appeal to an aspiration that they may well have as a business.
“As the CEO of a growing company, I respect your time and will be brief. I am working with several business owners like yourself who sell consultancy services about achieving even better sales results and maximising the potential that their business has.
Many of them feel whilst they are doing well; they could be achieving even more.”
Use this final part of the outline script to define the ‘why’ that clients work with you and ensure you ask an open question which is of relevance to the prospect. Do not finish with a closed question. Try and ask something that can prompt them to explain more about them or their company.
“The clients I work with are incredibly happy to testify about the improved results and returns they are now getting. How do you feel about the sales results you are achieving now? What would the impact be for you and the business if you could convert more prospects at higher margin rates?”
Once you have asked these questions, you then need to shut up and listen to the response that the prospect gives.
So, here you have a full outline script that you can use to engage with new prospects.
“David, it is James White here from James White Sales Success.
I am calling today, to understand more about you and your business with the intention of setting up a face to face appointment.
As the CEO of a growing service company, I respect your time and will be brief. I am working with several business owners like yourself about achieving even better sales results and maximising the potential that their business has.
Many of them feel whilst they are doing well; they could be achieving even more.
Can I ask you a question?
What would the impact be for you and the business if you could convert more prospects at higher margin rates?”
It takes around 30 seconds from start to finish, and when done a number of times and said with the right tone, it works well.
You are likely to get around three or four different responses to this question, and the best companies have already pre-empted what these responses will be and have an answer when this happens.
For example, when the prospect says, ‘I don’t have time to talk about this now’, you can respond with;
“Most of my existing customers felt the same when we first spoke, but they were really pleased they spent just a few moments talking with me as they knew they could be achieving more, but we're just not 100% sure how to make it happen.
What would an increased prospect conversion rate mean for the business?”
If at this point you get the reply ‘I really don’t have time for this’ then you need to accept that now is not the right time to speak with the prospect – you don’t want to upset them further. If you get a sense from their tone that they are getting frustrated by you, then cut your losses for now.
Thank your prospect (by name) and confirm that you will follow this call up with an email outlining what you have discussed so your prospect can go over it. Then establish a time for a follow-up call to see what they thought.
Quick tips on how to make your sales call more successful…
• Remember that this is a conversation. Listen as much as you talk… maybe even a little more. How do you know how you can benefit the prospect if you aren’t listening?
• Get to the point of the call early. You are calling as you feel you could help them and you would like to meet them and understand more about them to confirm if this is the case.
• Be positive before you start. If you think it will fail then it’s likely it will. If you believe this call and this prospect could be your next customer then you have a greater chance of that happening!
• Practice, practice, practice until the words come naturally… just like an actor. They rehearse over and over until it becomes second nature.
• Don’t be afraid of ‘No’… it’s not always the negative response you might think. Sometimes it’s a ‘not now’ and calling on another day might result in a different response. Or, the prospect might not be the ideal person to speak with and may pass you on.
• Keep refreshing your script on a weekly basis. You need to keep it fresh for it to sound natural. Some scripts might work better than others… make notes on how they go.
• Measure your success. Which script did the best during the month? Take your best script and tweak it and go again. It should be a constantly evolving document.
If you’re finding putting a script together a challenge and would like some help, please reach out to me via my website www.jameswhite.business. I would love to help you get the best of your sales calls and most importantly achieve better sales results and targets!
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