Over the course of the next few posts, we'll be examining some telephone selling skills, specifically tips on how to get through (or past) the screen, also termed "gatekeeper," around the prospect (or decision maker within a larger organization, abbreviated as DM). This screen may be a secretary, receptionist, executive assistant, or perhaps a security guard.
Whether you choose to cold-call or to phone ahead for appointments, you still need effective telephone selling skills in order to get past the gatekeeper or screen so you can talk directly to the decision maker.
Here's the first of these telephone selling skills and tips to get you started, useful both in phoning and cold-calling. (The same tips apply if you meet the screen face-to-face while making a cold call).
I discovered Lee Child's Jack Reacher thriller series this spring, and, unusually for me, read three in a row . . . in part because they were so good, and in another part to try to find why they were so unusually gripping.
Turns out that Lee Child hadn't always been writing thrillers--- fact is, he took it up only after being laid off unexpectedly from a job he loved, and had expected to hold till he retired. This from his article in Parade Magazine last Sunday. http://www.parade.com/news/2009/07/26-my-good-life-after-being-fired.html Here's how he put it, and I think that resonates with a lot of readers of this blog:
"For 13 more years, I was happy as a clam.
"Then the management changed.
"We were always profitable, but the new guys wanted more. They got it by cutting costs to the bone. I was a cost. I got cut.
"I felt a lot of things. First, anger and frustration. My “family” was getting trashed. It was like watching an uncle getting kicked to death by a mob and being unable to intervene.
"Second, I felt betrayed. Not by the people I had worked for—they went in the very first wave. I felt betrayed by my own naiveté. The modern world had snuck up on me, and I hadn’t seen it coming. The rules had changed, and I hadn’t noticed. My fault, basically.
"Third, I felt scared. Remember that old saying, “one missed paycheck from disaster”? That was me."
He doesn't say in the article whether he ever wishes he had the old job back, but I kinda doubt it . . . not after that "tough break" propelled him into a new career with 13 best-sellers to date.
My point? Sometimes what seems like the worst thing can turn into the best thing that ever happened . . .if we're flexible and open. And if we can envision ourselves in a new role and sell that vision to others.
Voice mail, or answering machines on either land lines or cell phones, works as another kind of screen or gatekeeper keeping you from talking directly to the prospect in organizations both small and large.
Here , as part of our series here on telephone sales skills, we look at five key rules that apply when you encounter the Prospect's voice mail.
Buying signals from the gatekeeper or screen: What kinds of cues should you be alert for? (For the records, gatekeeper and screen are usually interchangeable terms, and may apply to anyone from the guard at the gate to the secretary to the personal assistant to the Decision Maker.)
Be attuned for the subtle clues, or buying signals, gatekeepers may send that indicate that this secretary or other screen is becoming interested, and hence relaxing the barrier.
25 tutorials, plus checklists and worksheets. A larger, more detailed how-to guide that covers all aspects from defining the product in terms that will click with prospects' needs; through finding and getting through to key prospects with buying authority; using a consultative selling approach to develop awareness of needs; closing for the order; responding to objections and questions; when and how to provide proof such as demonstrations, formal presentations, and free trials.
Designed for use both individually as well as in classroom/ sales team settings. An accompanying Sales Manager/Instructor Guide will be available soon.