This article was written by Joel Rivera of Turn Key Tile TX
So you have the job of making calls for the new company, a realtor, started a business, or anything that requires you pick up that phone/cell. It may be a little daunting but as the saying goes, you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So in sales terms, you wont get closer to that appointment then sale if you don’t pick up that phone. An alternative is cold walking/ driving, but that another topic. I used to make calls for about 5-7 hours a day, three months straight, and you can learn a lot in that time frame to persevere when you have to pay bills next month. You just have to do it. Start. Go. Now! So for those of you out there that just don’t know how to make calls, I’ll leave you with this article and tips that helped me along the way. This was my method that worked for me, but you can always reﬁne yours based off of your industry. I wrote this for the purpose of how to get started, setting those appointments, getting passed the gate keepers/secretaries, staying focused, setting goals and following through. This is step one of the PCC Program.
The PCC Program Process
- Make sure you get comfy. I would recommend to make calls for at least an hour or more 1-4 times/week. Preferable times to call is late morning, 9am to about 12pm, and resume from 2pm-6ish pm. Some times the decision maker stays late.
- You need to know where to ﬁnd the leads. Depending on what you have at your disposal, you may already have a list or need to make your list. If you’d dot have leads, go through directories, phone books, trade magazines, referrals, Google search pages, online directories such as Houzz.com for example, which caters to every trade such as custom home builders, carpenters, tile installers, etc. Google it.
- Have yourself a notebook to take notes or whatever you need to make sure you know where exactly to look next time you need to reference a note. I would suggest this for two reasons. One, it lets your jot down appointment info and contact info and two, measure results. Remember, what gets measured improves over time. This will help you understand how you will progress through your journey to becoming a PCC Program graduate. What I did to keep track of my calls were simple tally marks. Tally mark all your calls, then appointments you set, and ﬁnally how many you closed. As you will notice, its a numbers game. With time you will become more proﬁcient at setting appointments in less time and less calls made.
- Once you’ve set up shop, create a simple excel sheet to take notes and input all info acquired. If you work for a company, they may provide you with programs dedicated to keeping track of every single thing such as http://www.salesforce.com. Attached you can see what I used for your use as well. I didn’t use Sales Force because I don’t need to save that much data. If your company has a system, use it.
- Now its time to call. Below I have detailed some strategies that I implemented and really helped me bypass gatekeepers, set up appointments, and get one step closer to that sale. Cold calling is not a short term process, it is a steady long term investment of your time that will pay off for you.
Route with Unknown DM’s Info
First step is to begin by asking who is in charge of what you’re calling for. This person you seek is also known as the decision maker (DM). You will get hit with some objections I hear very often. Here’s where you need to know what to say and stay on top of it until you succeed.
“Hello I’m calling with (_Company_) and was trying to get in touch with the person in charge of (X) or that handles the (X) account.”
Here you’ll be asked by Gatekeeper (GK)/assistant what you do exactly. Be broad in your response. Most GK’s are trained by the DM to ﬁlter through people like you. Here’s what I’ve used below.
Objection 1: They’re busy at moment or are not in. “Can you email me your stuff to send it to them?”
Solution: Have a default email (available for download) typed up introducing yourself with links to a gallery on your website and any social media (SM) links that show any reputable accolades/awards/reviews etc. you’ve earned. BBB, Houzz, FB, Twitter, Yelp, etc. will help. Before you hang up ask them to conﬁrm they received it by emailing you back. It helps a little more with their commitment. Once sent, you must take note of when you sent it and follow up within 2-3 weeks.
Objection 2: We have someone already and we’ve been happy with their work.
Solution: Agree with them and ask to send them an email. You never know when things can go wrong and they may just need you one day. With smart phones being able to search for anything in your phone, make sure to put keywords you think they may use to search for you in your email. The main thing to do here is follow-up in 2 months or more. Don’t be too pushy on these. Even after the 2 month follow-up, do it again 3 months later or so. You have to feel it out and know when is a better time to call. Don’t be pushy but don’t stop calling. Persistence is key.
Objection 3: Can you call me back later?
Solution: Call them back stating who you are again and that you’re just following up.
Route with Known DM’s Info
With this known info, you can breeze through a little more easily. Here’s how I would respond to the GK or even when the DM answers the call.
GK/DM: Will ask who’s calling.
You: “Hi this is (Name), with (Company Name), how have you been?” -The most important thing about your ﬁrst contact with the GK/DM over the phone is that you need to SOUND as if you’ve spoken to them in the past already. You have to sound as if you’ve known them and hung out with them previously even though you have not. I would follow up with this.
GK/DM: “Good, how can I help you?”
You: “Well I’m Just following up from that last time we spoke about 3 months back. You were busy at the moment and you told me to call you back, so I’m just following back up with you.” or you can say “I’m just calling you back since you said you were busy and told me to reach back out to you.” They may follow up asking what you spoke about. Keep it broad or let them know you didn’t have time to explain your product/service so you’re following up now. You have to remember that the DM has a lot on his/her plate and will sometimes want to cut right to the chase if necessary over the phone. Now’s your chance to either pitch your product/service or set up that appointment. Feel the situation out. One thing I’ve learned is that DM’s talk to a lot of folks over the phone, so they’ll assume you’ve talked before using this technique and give you that small window of time to speak to them.
Words or Phrases to Avoid When Calling
Below I have placed common words and phrases to avoid in my opinion when conversing with GK’s/DM’s over the phone. Try to look up alternative words on thesaurus.com.
- “I’m calling with the advertising department.”
- “Sales Rep”
- “Promotion we have”
- “It will just take a little bit of your time”
- “I’m with the marketing department”
- “Can I send you something?” -You may want to resort to this last, but avoid it as much as possible. The goal is to meet in person.
Words or Phrases to Use When Calling
- “I was assigned to your account and will be the point of contact for you now” Assure you can claim this account. If your co. has a process of claiming it, do your research ﬁrst. This statement makes the client think you’re now the point of contact for whatever they need. This helps you reduce their chances of going to someone else. Its not a guarantee but it improves your chances of them reaching out to you ﬁrst. This also gives the perception of them thinking they have a personal rep they can now call on when they need. Remember, your job is to save time for the DM.
- “If we can just take a look at project (x) or bid on it would be great.”- This helps you not be so pushy.
- “I can visit your location”- You save them the time.
- “I noticed you have a promotion available to you. When can you come in for me to show you what you can get?”
- “We do work off commission, so if you can, can you please ask for me when you come in? If I’m with a customer, just wait for me please by browsing” or “can we meet (day) at (time)?” Always get them to come in, meet them on site or meet in person.
- “Is there a way for you to come into the store so I can show you? Its kind of hard to explain over the phone.”
- “How about (Day) at (Time)?”- Always drive the conversation. Don’t let them tell you a day and time. If you do, your chances will go down of meeting them and they’re controlling the sale.
- “I’m just following up from that last time we spoke. You were busy at the moment and you told me to call you back. So I’m just following back up with you.”- Keep this simple. Be conﬁdent and act like you’ve known them. So that means you’re sounding upbeat and excited to meet with them. Smile too when you’re speaking to anyone over phone. Its a psychological way of changing the mood of things. Even though you did not talk to them at all, just tell him/her that you called about 6 months back and you’re just following up with them. One thing I’ve learned is that DM’s talk to a lot of folks, they wont remember everyone.
PCC Program Tips
- Do not focus on your commission. It’ll come. IF you FEEL and KNOW that what you’re selling is of great quality, and you know your customer will see the value in what you’re selling, both the product/service and your ability to convince/persuade/sell the customer will make bring you money. Speak to the client with passion and honest intention to help them solve their problem/s. When you can think to solve their problem/s, they can sense it, and know you sincerely want to help them.
- When calling DM’s, you have to remember they’re very busy and have a lot on their mind. Just because they do not return your call right away or at all does not mean they’re interested. DO NOT stop calling them or following up for an appointment. Keep calling until you’ve set an appointment. I repeat, DO NOT stop calling them until you set an appointment. You should temporarily stop calling when you feel that they really do not need your service/product of course. But that does not mean you have to stop completely following-up. Hold off for about 2-3 months and then call again.
- Keep a reminder in your phone calendar, computer or just notated on an excel sheet so that you can call them back.
- One thing to remember is if you work at a retail store where customers come to you, save every single number in your phone so that you can follow-up with each one. I realized that most of my business came from reoccurring clients. Don’t let the other rep take your customers. Show how you help them in each and every way, and the next time they do go with another rep by accident, they will see the difference between your efforts to solve their problems and the little effort the other rep put forth.
- If the DM says to call back at a certain day or time, notate it and call back when they said to. They could be testing you. Remember, persistence pays.
- Be persistent. Persistence truly does pay. Stay strong, remember to measure how your results are doing. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Be Patient and eventually something will hit. Each call you make gets you more experienced and with experience comes the knowledge to overcome objections faster. The faster you can learn, the faster you will get the swing of cold calling and closer to those sales. Remember what Warren Buffet said, “The more you learn, the more you earn”. So get your experience to learn so that you can earn. It all starts with the phone.
- Know that this is also a very effective way to getting appointments, but not only is this effective, it can also save you from spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on other forms of advertising that may not work.
- Always attempt to speak to the DM or meet the DM in person.
- If you work for a company that doesn’t have a very reputable name to get in with the DM, for example newspapers, use another name the company goes by. When people think of newspapers, they think adverting on paper, yet you’re calling for web optimization. For instance, the Houston Chronicle is owned by Hearst Media. Say you’re calling with the digital department of Hearst Media, you’re their new rep in charge of their account and would like to set up an appointment. Be creative and conﬁdence will come with experience.
- Stay Consistent. The hardest part is starting. Get over the hump and you’re golden after a couple of weeks. Trust me.
Try these techniques out for at least a month or so and see what it gets you. For any questions, tips or suggestions, please reach Joel Rivera at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter- @hoeltx, Facebook at facebook.com/ILIKEJOEL. Any and all feedback is important. Thanks…