Deconstructing the First Phone Call

Apr 27, 2016 | 3 minute read
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Hello…” Now what?

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By: Carrie Miller

So, you’re a salesperson and you’re having a great day – lots of activity, phone calls scheduled, you are on fire!  When the time comes and the phone is answered, do you know what you are going to say?

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The Salesperson Plan vs. the Consumer’s Plan

Most sales people have defined certain goals, rubrics so to say, of their planned phone calls.  They want to cover many things like, how awesome the product is, how it will change the direction of your company, your life will be easier if only you buy their product!  But, research shows that when pressed, consumers really just want to get down to numbers – even on the first call.

Are you flexible?

To Accommodate or to Evade?

More than half of the pressed consumers admit to really wanting to talk price on that first call.  Knowing the price of your product ranks only slightly lower to the consumer than knowing exactly how the product works.  This says a lot.  Price matters almost as much as functionality.  So what do you do?

First, recognize that any consumer who wants to talk about either price or functionality is serious about moving forward with your type of product.  Second, the budget driven will always factor in cost early in any product research.  These are not negatives!

But, salesperson beware, that doesn’t mean that you should start off every call with pricing information.  Maybe have a couple of plans outlined for your different types of consumers and be flexible!

Go ahead, ask the Prospect

As a rule, it will always benefit the salesperson to start off a conversation asking exactly what the prospect would like to discuss and where they are in their research and decision making.  If done properly, this first step in a prospect call will feel more positive about your sales process and better heard by your sales people.  If your sales people are too focused on what they want to get out of the call, they will more than likely miss many opportunities to take that prospect from Lead to Customer.

Sadly, this is a very common mistake.  In an effort to maintain the control and direction of the call, the opportunity is lost.

Take the plunge

An easy solution is the two-part agenda.  Take the first minutes of the call to assess and be flexible in your path.  Qualify your lead first, present your pitch second, talk numbers third.  OR Qualify your lead first, discuss numbers second, present your pitch third.

Qualify your lead

Wondering how to structure your call?  Ask your prospect what they would like to talk about.

The difference between a successful call and a prospect who decides to “research your website” on their own might be as simple as “What would you like to cover on this call today?”  More than likely you will find the answer to be either product or price, so go ahead and map out paths for each and you will be prepared!

Product Pitch

Now that you have your call roadmap decided, moving forward with your product pitch is a cinch.  Or is it?

There are always multiple ways to handle a product pitch, and again, you have to be flexible according to the prospect that you are currently talking with.  Some will want to dive right in, get to the nitty gritty and see if your product will be the answer to their unique business need.  Others will be more laid back, allow you to qualify the areas that your product will benefit their business and present accordingly.  You have to be able to determine which is which.

Talking Numbers

“What is your pricing?” is a simple, straightforward question that you will be asked and it deserves a simple, straightforward answer.  If you are unable or unwilling to answer this question directly, it will make you look shady and will alert the prospect of a bait and switch type operation.  In other words, they will run so fast.

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