Even in a world of web leads, social media and targetting – there’s nothing that beats getting on the phone to pick up new clients. The only problem, is that it’s often difficult to get the right person at the right time. Gatekeepers, impersonal call centres and hidden direct numbers all combine to make getting hold of the decision maker tough!
As seasoned telesales people, here are our top tips on getting through to the person you need!
Call early or late to catch the decision maker
This tip is extremely simple and gets results. Many higher managers and directors will turn up for work early and/or work later than their main staff – even more so if it’s the managing director you need to chat with. The other benefit, is that early morning is often the best time to catch a decision maker – before they start to get into their daily work load. Even if they can’t talk right now, you may be able to diary some time to talk shop – awesome!
There’s another reason this works too. After 9am, you’ll likely get through to the company receptionist. One of the main parts of a receptionists job, is batting away the multitude of sales calls that come through everyday – leaving you at a dead end.
Sometimes, the early bird really does get the worm!
Become an expert in your product/industry
When you start a new product, it’s a great idea to research everything about that product. Pricing, competitors, technology and any future issues are all things you should be aware of before you make the first call. The main reason for this, is that the decision maker you get through to is likely going to be a domain expert themselves. In the world of B2B, once you get through to a person of authority, they’ll expect to have a chat at a reasonably high level.
If you can’t match this level, they’ll mark you as “spam” and ignore further calls.
Check who and where you need to direct your call to first
With larger SME and LTD/PLC companies, there’s many employees but only a handful you actually need to care about! Thankfully, tools such as LinkedIn and Companies House Search make it easy to discover who owns a company outright and also who occupies a high enough position to make decisions regarding your product.
Receptionists get calls all day that begin with “I need to speak to the person in charge of widgets”. Not knowing the right person is often a huge giveaway that your call is cold and they’ll often switch to “gatekeeper mode” in order to avoid connecting you. By knowing names and departments, you’ll sound more convincing and make the process of getting hold of your target person easier.
Short and sweet wins the race
When you do finally get through to someone, it’s best to try and get to the point quickly. Most higher level employees and directors are short of time and would rather cut to the chase. This technique is slightly different to B2C marketing, where the people you’re canvassing require more handholding. In B2B, keep it simple and short – if you grab your decision makers attention they’ll make the time to get into the nuts and bolts.
Try and obtain the mobile number if you can
Having a company mobile is pretty standard for many people these days. By obtaining the direct mobile, you can avoid call centres, receptionists and direct dial your prospect. Sometimes, it’s possible to obtain the mobile number on your first canvassing call.
Try and obtain a meeting, demo or conference call quickly
Once you’ve established a possible lead/sale – it’s extremely important to move towards the demo/trial/meeting that you’ll need to sign the deal. You can’t be too pushy with this; however, a subtle push can be all it takes to get something booked in. If you struggle to keep track of your leads and appointments, then now is the time to start using a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). Companies such as VTiger offer a free trial if you decide to go down this route.
Try not to get too annoyed with gatekeepers
It’s easy to start getting angry with receptionists who bat away your sales calls with ease. When you do, try to acknowledge that they’re only doing their job and that the average company receives more than its fair share of sales calls per day.
The most important element that runs through all of the above is preparation – whether that’s researching your client, or the target list, it is important to fully understand and immerse yourself in the project to really maximise the results.