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Glass sales: it’s your call

You have less than 30 seconds. Make each word count.


June 17, 2009
By Mark Borkowski

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Humour me for a second. Think back to the last deal you closed and ask
yourself, “Who was the decision-maker I had to reach and influence? How
did I do it?”

Humour me for a second. Think back to the last deal you closed and ask yourself, “Who was the decision-maker I had to reach and influence? How did I do it?” I ask you to think about that because there will always be someone you will need to contact and influence to get the next deal and the one after that and all the deals you could ever possibly close in one lifetime. Your success does not just happen. You make it happen, and it all begins with prospecting.

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Prospecting is nothing more than the art of speaking with people who might do business with you, and engaging them in a meaningful conversation so they will want to see you and talk further. Let’s not make it any more complicated than that. At the end of the day, a telephone sales call is only a conversation between two people.

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We have already established that you are one of those two people. So who is the other person? If you don’t already know, here is where to start. Look at your overall business goal for the year and then look at the people you will need to contact to make that happen. They might be prospective clients or people you need to meet because they can refer you to future clients. Make a list of everyone you just identified. It doesn’t matter if you need to speak with 50 people or only one. Your focus is on precision not volume.

Once you have the names, write down the main issues facing each person on that list. The reason I am suggesting that is because you will have to address their issues, not yours. If you start your conversation rambling on about your products and services, you will sound like you are selling something. When you talk about their issues, you hit their “greed glands” which address what is in it for them. Retirees are not waking up in the morning wanting financial products, although it would be nice. They are, on the other hand, concerned about the rising cost of living.

Once you have worked out what you want to say, you will have to get the person on the telephone. The objective of your call list is not to make calls. Many financial advisors base their lists on volume. In other words, the more names on the list, the better, because if they don’t contact someone, there are plenty more to call. What happens with this approach is that most people end up leaving a lot of money on the table, missing up to 75 per cent of their opportunities, simply by not contacting people.

A call is not a commodity. It is precious. It would be nice if we were mind readers and knew where our biggest opportunity was, but we are not mind readers so we have to speak with everyone. Your objective is to book appointments. So, whether you have 20 people to call or only one, get them on the phone. All of them, without an exception.
Leaving a voice message does not count. That will only fool you into thinking you contacted someone when in fact all you did was leave a voice message. The easiest way to ensure you connect with your prospects is to simply find out when they are in, and then call at that time. By planning your calls and your message you stay in control.

Control builds confidence
Once you get your prospect on the phone, you will have the opportunity to speak for about 30 seconds, at which time you will either ask for an appointment or ask a qualifying question. From the time you introduce yourself to the time you ask for an appointment you will have exchanged less than 30 words. Make each word count. The words you speak paint images in people’s minds and you have complete control over what those words are. As long as you stay focused on the issues of your audience you will hold their attention.

Twice as important as what you say will be how you say it. Speak slowly and send the message that what you have to say is important. It is so important that you will take a minute before the call to focus on how you can make the prospect’s life better, and that will bring out the passion in your voice.

At the end of each call you will either be sitting there with an appointment or you won’t. Either way, self-assess to see what you did well so you can do it again on the next call, or look at where you need to improve. If a call does not work out, for whatever reason, figure out if it was them or you. If there was something you could have done better, make sure to take corrective action for the next call and then reward yourself for learning from your mistakes.

When you consistently self-assess, you stop repeating the same mistakes and when that happens, your performance benchmarks will rise. By making yourself more effective you ensure that your next deal will be more successful than your last.

*Mark Borkowski is president of Toronto based Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation in Ontario.


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