Conference calls must be carefully planned to maintain control. Meetings beforehand help clarify roles and goals for the call. Always know who will be on your client’s side of the call. Be on time and know how much time is available. Send any materials in advance and refer to them during the call. Gather your team in one room and introduce them at the beginning of the call. Make and use an agenda. Say hello and goodbye to each person. Take notes and follow up in writing.
As for professional faxing, have a goal set before faxing and don’t neglect deliveries and mail. Large and time sensitive documents shouldn’t be faxed. Don’t share everything, especially prices, on a fax. Send only information that leads to a follow-up call to discuss. Don’t send too many faxes. Follow-up with a call to make sure important faxes are received.
When dealing with voice mail, don’t forget these need to be short and clear. Slowly say the telephone number and say you need a few minutes of their time to increase chances of a return call. On the other hand, don’t be afraid not to leave a voice mail. However, always try to find out if the client has caller ID before making calls and hanging up on the voice mail. If you always get voice mail, try to reach the operator to work around this. Check your own voice mail every few hours.
When using the hold button, etiquette still applies. Always tell the client why they’re being put on hold and for how long and give them the option to be called back later. Don’t be afraid to place a client on hold during a tough negotiation to think about the next move.
As for the actual conversation, remember positioning benefits your prospect as the days of dumping products through self-serving presentations are over. Positioning is gearing a sales pitch toward a client’s needs. Without getting the appropriate background information, positioning can’t happen. Before, during, and after a call, think of ways to talk from your client’s viewpoint.
There are many competitors in telephone sales, so you need to position well and create a true “win-win” situation to succeed. Always know why you are what’s best for the client. Have three reasons why the prospect needs you, but don’t use all the reasons at once. Always know information on the prospect and his business.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you meet their needs and always listen to what the prospect has to say. Know exactly why you’re calling and plan to measure that. Get to meeting the client’s needs early to avoid disconnection. Take notes on what your prospect says, stay positive and helpful, and don’t ever say “product.”