Warming Up To Cold Calls
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Will you do just about anything, including sending out hundreds of letters, to avoid making cold calls to your potential customers/prospects? If so, you're not alone. Millions like you have started their own businesses, only to find that the thought of making calls to potential customers/prospects leaves them paralyzed with anxiety. Believe me I was one of them. For those of you who know us and have read "Who Makes It Happen", remember what I used to go through before I would get on the telephone to cold call.
However, as an business owner/entrepreneur, the telephone is one of the single most important tools at your command. The key to getting over your hesitation is to stop thinking about your call as a sales pitch, and instead begin practicing "consultative selling." This means uncovering and filling needs in a friendly, supportive way. For those in lease purchase this is very conducive. We are helping buyers and sellers.
So for those of you in other types of businesses, before you ever pick up the telephone to contact a potential customer/prospect, ask yourself, "What does my potential customer/prospect need from me, and what does my company have to offer that will help this potential customer/prospect get what he wants?" Then set a goal for your call that will move the potential customer/prospect closer to a buying decision, such as gaining an appointment or preparing a price quote.
According to business owners/entrepreneurs in all types of businesses, one of the biggest reasons they hesitate to prospect by telephone is they're unsure of what they should say at the outset. A short, three-part opener, including an introduction of yourself and your company and an opening benefit is the best way to start.
When introducing your company, be sure you can describe what you do in just a short phrase: "This is Susan DeFiore, of DeFiore Enterprises. We are lease purchase consultants." Now mention the benefit: "We can move your home in 30 days or less with the lease purchase advantage." By stating your benefit clearly in your opener, you give the person a good reason to listen further.
Effective telephone contact is made up of two components: Asking good questions and listening carefully to the answers. Ask questions to qualify prospects and overcome objections. Again, for those of us in lease purchasing, we use our telephone script to obtain all the information we need.
There are two types of questions: closed-ended and open-ended. Closed-ended questions are fact-finders. They can be answered with a fact, a "yes" or a "no". An example of a closed-ended question is: "Would Lease Purchasing work for you?"
Open-ended questions are used to draw someone into a conversation. They reveal the emotion behind the facts. "What do you like best about your home?" is an example of an open-ended question.
So plan in advance the types of questions you'll ask prospects. Do this even before you get on the telephone. If you can, practice on friends or family. Get their input. Then be sure to record your information in a "call report" for future use. Your call report should include the prospect's contact data, answers to important questions and details on the steps you plan to take.
If you find out your potential customer/prospect is already using one of your competitors, rather than hanging up or ending the conversation realize that this indicates to you this individual is a qualified potential customer/prospect. They are already using this type of service. At this point you need to point out to the potential customer/prospect the benefits of working with you, and how you will make the switch worthwhile.
Let's say the seller is with a Realtor. Suppose you could still have your home listed, while we find a tenant/buyer for your home.
After your potential customer/prospect has answered your questions, it's time to close. You've asked good questions, listened carefully and provided benefit-oriented information. Now ask for what you want. In lease purchasing, "When can we set up a meeting so we can start the lease purchase process?"
If you can't meet your original goal, state what you will do, such as send the prospect more information and keep in touch. Then be sure to follow through. If the individual doesn't want to do a lease purchase, send out your follow up information.
Relax and follow these steps. With a little bit of practice, you'll find the telephone to be a powerful ally in building your new business.
Copyright DeFiore Enterprises 2002
About the Author
Interested in having your own successful, home based creative real estate investing business? Chuck and Sue have been helping folks start successful home based businesses for over 19 years, and we can help you too! To see how, visit http://www.homebusinesssolutions.com for the latest FREE tips and tricks, educational products and coaching in creative real estate investing and home based businesses. No time to visit the site? Subscribe to our "how to" Home Business Solutions Digest, it's like having your own personal coach: mailto:subscribeHBS@homebusinesssolutions.com
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-07-30 22:06:40 in Marketing Articles