Designing Strategies: The Blog
Does your approach to getting a new customer start and end with making a sale? I certainly hope not. If you take that hard sell approach to anyone who can pass the mirror test — fogging up a mirror because they are still breathing — you are in for a lot of disappointment. Think about the last half dozen telemarketing calls you’ve received. They were all trying to sell you something weren’t they? After their ‘Hello, my name is Peggy, how are you?’ intro, the next thing out of their mouth is likely to have been ‘Are you satisfied with your (fill in the blank) service provider?’ Admit it, even if you are totally fed up with that service, you’re inclined to say you are thrilled with them, just before you hang up.
I actually managed to annoy a telemarketer enough recently to hang up on me! I was so proud. This was a day I actually picked up the phone and said ‘Hello’ instead of picking up the handset and slamming in back down immediately. In a weak moment, I decided to let the guy at the other end of the line talk — enough to figure out in ten seconds or less that he represented my phone and Internet service provider. His mission was to get me to move my cable TV service to them as part of a bundle package.
A caller representing a company providing services I already subscribe to expected me to have my ‘average’ telephone bill and cable TV bill amounts on the tip of my tongue so he could ‘analyze’ my needs. He should have had that information at hand. If they truly have a ‘deal’ to offer me, they should already know if they are overcharging us and can save me some money. Instead, they call every customer in their database, drag them from something important to go through their scripted sales pitch. At this point my kindness factor was gone and I got a bit irritated. While I struggled to hold the phone, stretching the cord across the room to dig my checkbook out of my purse, he hung up. Yes, there is a God.
Who wouldn’t be in a rush to end these intrusions on you in your home or office? First of all, they interrupt you doing something more far important than being grilled by some stranger — like picking lint out of your belly button. Of course, this stranger knows absolutely nothing about you other than you have a phone and they have your number. Sometimes, you are lucky enough to get a living, breathing person and not just an annoying recording. This caller is not interested in you, your problems or anything but selling you something. He or she is on page one of some horrible sales script and hell-bent on reaching the final page before you hang up on them.
Developing that all important relationship that will result in a sale begins with baby steps. It requires you to invest the time to find out more about a prospect than their phone number. Why waste your time and theirs trying to sell something they don’t need or want? Take time to plan a series of goals to move you forward — step by step – in building a relationship with the prospect. Let them know you understand them, their situation and really feel your product or service can meet their needs by solving their particular problem. Become more than just a voice at the end of the phone — who calls at their convenience, not yours. Prospects are far more likely to listen to and buy from someone they feel they know and who can be trusted.
What is your process for developing relationships with prospects and clients?