The phone rang. I picked it up. The woman asked: “Do you need any additional telephone equipment?” I said no. The call lasted less than 4 seconds. Later in the day I received another call. This was from Cindy at Forbes magazine. She asked: “Is Dave Rothfeld in?” I replied: “Yes. What do you need?” She said: “I’m responsible for handling your Forbes subscription, and just wanted to know if you’re receiving your magazine every issue?” I replied: “Yes.” Then asked, “Why are you calling?” Cindy answered: “I was calling to see if you wanted to extend your subscription beyond October 2003 and save $18/year.” I thanked her for calling, said no, and hung up. The call lasted about 11 seconds.
A few days later the phone rang again and the caller asked: “Who in your company is responsible for computer training?” In reply, I asked: “Why do you want to know?” The caller said: “My name is Tom. I’m from New Horizons and we’re offering free introductory computer training classes so you can get to know our company better?””Why are you doing that?” I said. Tom explained that New Horizons wants to establish a long-term working relationship with my company.””No Thanks.” I said, and hung up. The call lasted under 15 seconds.
Around 2:15pm that afternoon, the phone rang yet again. This time it was Phil from AAA, He asked: “Is Dave Rothfeld in?” “Yes, whose calling?” I replied. Phil said: “My name is Phil. I’m with the American Automobile Association and we’ve a wonderful new savings account program offering a TWO PERCENT interest rate.” It’s great for people on “fixed incomes”. Would you like to open an account?” [I thought to myself: At this stage in my life, I’m still on a variable income. And I can’t remember when I last became excited about getting a TWO PERCENT return on my money.] I said “No Thanks.” and hung up. The call lasted under 10 seconds.
How many of these types of calls do you get during a day or week? Plenty! How long does it take you to end these calls. Ten, 15, 20 seconds at most? I mentioned that I would be writing this essay to one of my
consulting clients and he said that he knew a salesman who use to say this: “You don’t want to buy any forms from us today, do you.” (With his voice dropping at the end.)
No wonder why business was so bad. Now let’s look at these examples from your perspective. How many telephone calls do you make that last less than 20 seconds? If you’re getting blown away like the people who called me, you’re using the wrong telephone techniques. Instead of going into a sales pitch, you should be asking your prospects questions that they can’t say no to. How would the dynamics of my recent phone conversations changed had the callers been asking questions like these: * “What are the 3 most important things you look for in a telephone equipment service provider?”
* “What are the 3 things you most enjoy about reading your Forbes magazine?”
* “How many of your people are fully utilizing the features in your word processing, accounting, or spreadsheet software?”
* “What kind of return are you getting on your savings?
Five-Step Telephone Technique
Follow a five-step telephone technique and you’ll see a dramatic change in your telephone activity:
1. Introduce Yourself To Your Propect (after Clearing The Guard at The Gate.)
Always say: “My name is…. I’m with….” 2. Can You Talk?
Then ask: “Do you have a moment?” You are asking for permission to speak to them for about 10 more seconds.
3. Elevator Speech.
Tell them what you do with your 6 to 10 second elevator speech. For example, I say: “I help people grow their business, close more sales, and make more money.” A client of mine who owns an art gallery says: “We help people have beautiful homes.” An investment advisor client says: “We help people manage their money so they can achieve their financial goals.” What’s your 10 second elevator speech?
4. Ask Permission.
Then say: “I was wondering if I could take a moment to tell you a little bit about what I do?” Here you are asking for their permission to continue the conversation.
5. Turn Around Question.
When the person gives you their permission to continue, ask a turn around question. Don’t talk about you, your products or your company. Ask them questions about them, their products, and their company. People love to talk. Encourage them to do so. All you’ve got to say is: “Tell me a little bit about your company [or whatever is appropriate].”
Use this five-step telephone technique and you’ll see dramatic improvement in your telephone activity. You’ll schedule more appointments, close more sales, and make more money.
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