Before the call: what can you do to increase a prospect’s interest?
“I’m not interested.”
We’ve all been on calls where a prospect says these words.
But what exactly do they mean?
Are these words the end of your relationship with that customer, the end of that conversation, or an opportunity to connect further?
When you’re involved in outbound marketing such as telemarketing, you need to know how to react when a customer expresses disinterest.
Is it worthwhile to continue to pursue the sale and how exactly should you respond?
When you’re telemarketing or cold-calling, you’re moving into the flow of someone else’s day.
They probably didn’t expect your call, and chances are they may be busy doing something else.
So they are not prepared for your call.
And most professional people don’t like to be unprepared.
This means that they may be defensive.
They don’t know what product or service you have or how it could help their business.
You may have called at a time that’s less than ideal.
Whatever the reason, your goal is to move beyond this quick initial response and connect with the person – quickly.
Do Your Homework
First and foremost, research your call.
Unless you work in a 90’s style call centre environment where you have to make 50 calls a day, you should always place quality over quantity.
You will have your list of what you want to do and say on your call.
You know what you want to get out of the call; you know what it is you want to say; you know your facts about your product/service.
Great. You’re prepared.
Or so you may think.
You are not; you’re only half prepared.
Yes, these are all important, but all of these points are focused on you.
You need to focus on your prospect.
What is it they will want out of your call? If you could ask them before calling, what would they want to discuss?
There are some things you can do to prepare.
Check their website – and not just for their customer testimonials and case studies.
Read their News section – have there been any new clients signed recently? Does your organisation work with similar companies to their customers or competitors?
And don’t forget to look at their Careers section.
Companies often have information here about the company culture, the type of people who work there and the people they want to work there.
This is all valuable information.
Use it to talk about your company culture, perhaps you both support a similar charity – would there be a good fit working together?
Next on your list is who will you be calling?
The CFO has a very different set of concerns & interests compared to the IT Manager, the Sales Manager, the Head of Marketing, or the Operations Director.
Perhaps your prospect contributes to their company blog or is active in social media and talks a lot about a particular topic.
In doing this background work, you will significantly improve your chances of being well-prepared to be able to carry on the conversation and develop a rapport very quickly.
Start a Conversation
The best way to overcome resistance is to start a conversation with your prospect.
What does the customer need right now? How are their current products working for them or not working for them?
Be gentle with your questions, and you’ll get your future customer to open up and share information with you – particularly if you have done your homework outlined above.
This accomplishes two goals: you continue the conversation, and you learn more about your prospect’s needs.
Get to know your lead as a person, and show interest and empathy for their needs.
If your prospect says “I’m not interested,” that’s an opportunity to connect with your lead in a new way.
Weave empathy into your conversation with them.
Discuss some of the challenges of their business.
Let them know that you understand how they feel.
If they’re feeling interrupted, offer to talk with them at a different time when they are better able to focus on the products that you offer.
Sometimes, “I’m not interested” simply means “I don’t understand what it is you are trying to sell me.”
Before you let a sale go, make sure that your prospect understands your solution and how it can fill their needs.
What features does your solution have that distinguishes it from others and meets your lead’s needs?
Invite your customer to learn more about the business benefits of your offer before concluding that it isn’t of interest.
Some people are wary of a generic sales pitch.
They need statistics and examples to show that your product, service or solution works.
How have other companies or individuals used your service successfully to achieve similar goals?
Make sure that you have information at your fingertips to place into your pitch if you sense that your lead is someone who likes solid information and success stories.
Testimonials from similar industries or companies are always a positive influence.
It may be that your lead just doesn’t want to buy at this time. However, they could still become a customer in the future.
Make sure that when you hang up the phone, you track the information you’ve gathered.
If you know that your lead has specific needs, flag these for future calls.
Because you won’t remember that information the next time you try to contact them and it may be that your future product or service is of more interest to them down the line.
Most of all, stay in touch with them.
Social media offers great opportunities to do this very easily without coming across as a stalker. But we’ll cover that another day!