It’s that time of the year where many of you are noticing your call counts slowing. I know there will be a temptation to start dumping money you didn’t anticipate spending into some marketing. Before you go off budget and get a little crazy with your hard-earned dollars, let’s talk about another tool you should be using to augment your marketing efforts: I’m talking about outbound calling.
You can fight it if you want, but outbound calling is a very important piece in the sales-and-service arm of many successful organizations. If you’re not outbound calling your current customer base during slow times, you’re losing out on a world of opportunity.
That said, outbound calling can be done poorly, and when it’s done poorly, it can be a terrible experience for the caller and the person receiving the call. However, when it’s performed properly, it can be a magical win for you—and your customers.
On an outbound call, you initiate a call to a prospective buyer or existing customer with an aim to achieve a goal: It might be to increase revenue by helping the client understand options that were presented at a previous service call; it might be to upsell products and services never offered to a customer; or it might be to fill the callboard or provide homeowners with club-membership information.
If you or your team are outbound calling, here are 5 tips to separate you from your competition.
Explain the Value & Know Your Goal
Before you dial a number, know what it is that you’re selling. Ask yourself, “What is the VALUE you are presenting to your client?” Link the features to the benefits and really understand what the product or service is designed to do. To be successful, you really need to explain the value of the product or the service to your customer and remember what your end goal is.
For example, if you’re asking if they’d like to have a repair made they previously rejected, you must be able to provide a few benefits as to why the person should move forward this time. Will it provide long-term peace of mind? Will it save them money? How will it make their life better? Have those answers prepared, and you will see success.
Know Your Clients
You can’t make successful outbound calls without knowing—at the very least—the names of the people you are trying to reach. Otherwise you create problems and look unprepared. Before punching those numbers into your phone, be sure you find the name in your paperwork or software.
If you’re not already, you should be capturing notes on each of your customers—and those notes should include proper pronunciations of names. It should also contain how the person prefers to be addressed: Do they go by their middle name? If a customer’s name is William, does he go by Bill? People buy from those who they feel connected. If you don’t even know your customers’ names, how connected will that customer feel to you? Not much. You’re reducing the likelihood they’ll have you come back out on an unsolicited call.
Develop an Outline—Not a Script
Once upon a time outbound scripts were a must-do. However, in today’s world, call scripts can be deadly! I highly recommended that you create an outline of how the call should be handled, but not a detailed script a person is expected to read. A good outline will sound far more natural. What should an outline look like? It’s simply a series of talking points. Those points should only help prompt what should be said; it shouldn’t be completely written dialogue.
The reason we frown on complete scripts is people don’t like being talked at. A good outline will help you or your team keep the goal of the call in-focus, as well as guide you. This way you are better able to concentrate on what is being said, and you can better tailor the call to the customer.
Handle Objections & Concerns
Let the person making the outbound calls know they’re going to face hang ups, and they’re going to face objections. Here’s the great thing about objections: If they’re talking to you, it means they’re at least open to the idea of having you out to the home. If they found you to be a waste of time, they wouldn’t talk with you.
To best handle objections, brainstorm every single objection imaginable. Write them down on a sheet. Just as you created some talking points for your call outline, I suggest doing the same for each of those objections. Once you have them written, you should use that material to assist with regular training. The goal should be that the individual can handle objections without any materials to act as assistance.
Succeed Through Improvements & Measurement
As much as you probably don’t like to hear yourself, recording and reviewing your calls—as well as receiving feedback from others—is an essential step to improvement and success when outbound calling.
Also, make sure you take clear notes on all your calls, as you may be able to rework your list later and turn previous rejections into successful calls and sales. Your notes also will prompt you to record information about customers who insist you not solicit them again. No need to anger anyone further. Finally, be sure you constantly track your results and measure your success!
Outbound calling isn’t always a favorite way for companies to generate calls. But when you’re struggling for leads, it can be highly effective. Implement these strategies, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy far more success and far fewer hang ups.