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The Sales Buzz Issue 86 - Telesales and Appointment call Introductions
August 18, 2010

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In this week’s Sales Buzz!

Telesales and Appointment call Introductions

When making telesales and appointment setting calls do you ask the customer:

How are you today?

Or some other similar question. Should you ask a question like this in your sales call introduction? What effect does it have on the prospect? Are there any positive reasons for enquiring about a prospect’s health or well being?

Get some answers then make a decision for yourself by scrolling down to Telesales and Appointment call Introductions...

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Telesales and Appointment call Introductions

When you make a telesales call or an appointment setting pitch, should you include a question about the prospect’s health or well being?

The reason I raise this question is because I received 3 sales calls at home this week and all of the tele-sellers asked how I was.

Now I don’t mind receiving telesales and appointment calls.

I used to do the job myself many years ago, and also there’s the chance I might learn something.

I always throw an objection in there and listen to how they handle it, or how they don’t in many cases.

I’m always polite and controlled even when raising objections, but this time I had a natural reaction and responded as a prospect instead of a sales manager acting out a role play.

Maybe it was because I had received 3 similar calls, all from financial industry telesales and appointment callers.

Or perhaps they just caught me at a bad moment.

On the third call when I was asked, ‘How are you today.’ I responded with, ‘Why do you want to know, do you know me.’

This was a natural response made without thinking. It was a reaction to the question I had been asked. My tone was also very unlike me, a kind of half snappy half impatient voice.

This made me wonder how this question made real prospects feel. I know many telesales callers use the question. It has replaced the old purpose permission question of: Are you okay to talk right now.

This was fashionable in the 1980’s but in today’s fast moving world would only work to give the prospect a quick get out if you haven’t grabbed their attention.

So, do you use a question about the prospect’s well being, or something similar in your telesales and appointment call introduction?

Should you ask the question

Should you ask such a question on your calls, does it work for you or against you.

As a sales manager and trainer I try not to tell my sales teams what to say on their calls. Instead I work with them to encourage them to look at what they say and decide for themselves.

So let’s discuss whether these types of questions should be in your calls, then drop me a line to tell me what you think.

The negatives

You could lose any chance of making a sale or setting an appointment right from the first few lines of your call.

The prospect may think you are being false. You don’t know them, they don’t know you, so why would you be genuinely interested in their well being.

If you want to test the above theory try this. The next time you get a sales call and they caller asks: How are you today, give them some negatives. Tell them about how bad your day is going or tell them about your illnesses.

You’ll soon know how genuine their question was by how soon they try and change the subject and get back to their sales pitch.

Many people receiving a cold call will want you to get to the point and give them your reason for calling so they can decide on whether to listen to the rest of the call. Your question is a distraction and they may become impatient, as I did.

The question does not relate or connect to you, your business, product, or why you are calling. A better question may be one that asks if they do something that would lead to a need for what you sell.

In the first few seconds of a telesales and appointment call the prospect is searching for points of reference. Their mind works by making connections. They learn, including learning about why you are calling, by connecting what they don’t know to things that they do. A question about their health does not give them any points of reference.

So quite a few negatives there that may put you off including the question when you write your sales introductions for your calls. Let’s look for any positives.

The positives

You are showing the prospect that you care about their well being, but only if you can make it sound genuine.

Think about when you would ask this question in a none sales call. You would probably ask it if you knew the person or at least had spoken to them before.

In some ways it can be a sign that your relationship with the prospect is growing. It is good manners and something we ask of an acquaintance or a friend.

If the prospect answers it can give you a topic that you can use to break the ice and build rapport.

A polite answer from a prospect tells you that they follow the rules and practices of society. You can use this in the rest of your call, for example: A well structured presentation of that logically leads to a closing line will be a good way to gain agreement from this prospect.

In the culture of the prospect you are calling it may be polite and expected to ask such a question before getting down to business.

My conclusion

Iike I said earlier, I don’t tell my sales teams what to say on their calls. We look at what works for us and what doesn’t, as we have above, and then each person makes an informed decision.

If I was making a decision on whether to ask a prospect about their health or well being on telesales and appointment calls based o the above, here’s my answer:

There are a lot more reasons not to include the question, especially on cold calls, than there are potential positives.

I would not use it when building a cold call script as i could lose the sale at the introduction stage.

I would use it when phoning existing customers or prospects that I have spoken to before.

If phoning to different parts of the world I would try to discover if asking this question is considered usual business practice or not in that particular country.

What now

I would be really interested in hearing what you think. Do you use the question, do you purposely avoid it.

Have you not thought about it before now and are going to make a decision.

Drop me a message, make a comment, or even write a full page, and share your thoughts.

Just move to the Sales Training Blog then click and type. It’s that easy.

You can add more to your telesales and appointment calls

When you start to think about the phases you use in your calls, such as the question we discussed, you then start to think about the rest of your sales call introduction.

Now you have started thinking about making changes to your call scripts here’s where you can get more help Cold calling and appointment techniques...

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  • Simple to put into action

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Wishing you the very best with your sales career.

Stephen Craine

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