Written by Sean McPheat |
The cold call went so well, you wished it were recorded so you all of your peers could hear. The prospect sounded glad you called, and seems anxious to receive your information package.
However, when you call back, it sounds like you are talking to a totally different person. Suddenly, the prospect became defensive and short. The rapport you established in the first call is gone and the prospect seems to be rushing off the telephone.
While there are several possible reasons for this, let me concentrate on just one culprit that you can eliminate right now and immediately begin having more success on that follow up call.
Watch the Sales Pressure
In that first contact call, even though it may have been a cold call, the prospect felt no pressure. You were not too aggressive and all you wanted to do was send a package. However, when you call back, the prospect can feel an enormous amount of pressure concerning if they have read the material and can recall it. Most of that pressure of reading the material, actually comes from you.
Usually, the first words in that follow-up call are something like this:
“Yes, Steve, I sent you out some literature in the post last week, have you had a chance to look at it yet?”
This question, while seemingly innocent, can cause immediate harm. In most cases, this nice prospect begins searching his or her memory, trying not only to remember the information, but trying to remember YOU. Remember also, this is a phone call, so the prospect has but a second or two to respond. That is why you usually hear responses like:
“Ah, I, um…well, I was really busy last week…” or, “Ah, I was out of the office…” or, “No, I don’t think I got it…”
An Adversarial Position
The prospect feels the pressure of an obligation to explain WHY he has not read your package. It is an offensive motion that forces the prospect to adapt a position of defence. That innocent question often produces an adversarial atmosphere that is usually impossible to reverse.
Redirect the Responsibility
The solution is simple; just do not confirm if the prospect has actually read or even remembers the material in the beginning of that call. Of course, you want to know if the package arrived, so ask exactly that, and put the blame for the prospect not seeing or remembering it on someone else.
Put the responsibility on the post or someone in the prospect’s office:
“Sarah, I sent a package to you last week, did the post get it to you safely?”
“Steve, I got out that literature pack that we spoke of, I was just wondering did it ever cross your desk?”
If the prospect begins to offer excuses for not reading or remembering, exonerate them!
“Well, I, ah, I haven’t had a chance to get a look at it yet…”
“Oh no, Steve. Please don’t worry about that. I know how busy you are. I just wanted to make sure it got there in one piece. Anyway, the reason I’m calling…”
Your literature pack should be a mere extension of the first call and a way to move the sales process forward. Do not allow it to become the focal point.
Originally published: 15 March, 2012