Before you even consider an e-mail correspondence (if there is a phone number available), calling is the best way to qualify leads. A prospect will tell you their level of interest more readily if you speak with them directly, as opposed to communicating via email. Whether the potential customer answers or returns a phone message, a live conversation is the goal. Why? Because live conversations are the most productive encounters. You get the best sense of what a person feels like and what their needs are if they are in front of you. What is the most effective way to talk customers into the store? Invite them. What is the best and most convincing way to extend an invitation to get someone onto the showroom floor? A personal invitation. Ask them, either in person or over the phone.
Now, let’s qualify the above sequence by saying that sales and marketing involve human interactions, so there are no absolutes. However, there are immutable trends that the best sales people pay attention to. The entire purpose of lead generation is to search for people who want to engage in dialogue about your products and services.
Let me state that the phone is a great way to place prospects into buckets or, as we like to consider them, a color-coded status. Those who are willing to talk are the very easiest to qualify. Those who are willing to talk to you and appreciate your assistance are naturally green or “go” in nature. Sometimes people act like downright jerks, which is helpful to know, too! Those people who aren’t interested in your product or service turn red in a heartbeat. After speaking over the phone, you often color them yellow, because you hear true interest in their voice. These people may need to get themselves into a better position to buy or their personal circumstances might be currently distracting them. Or they might be stressed because they are piling the kids into the van. These are the folks you stick in the pipeline and work as time goes on. In time, they will work into a position to be fully qualified one way or the other. You can get a better sense of a prospect’s situation on the phone than you can by communicating with e-mails. Another reason the phone should be your first qualifying tool.
The trick to creating the highest level of reciprocity is by using question-based selling and partial information. In an effort to be the best possible support system, consider the following scripts. There are three scenarios here, one that has the prospect answering the phone, the second and third with the sales representative leaving a message.
Example #1 – where the prospect answers:
Piano Rep: Hi! David, this is Joey from Prestige Pianos Internet Sales Department. I promise to be brief. How are you today?
Prospect: Fine, a little rushed at the moment. I have a minute but not much more.
Piano Rep: I promise to be brief and respectful of your time, sir. David, we’ve been helping people find the perfect piano inside of their budget for over 25 years. Prestige Pianos is committed to growing our Internet Sales Division so we are helping people save money who have responded to us online. I have two quick questions and an invitation. As I said, it will only take a moment. Question number one: did you find the type of piano you were interested in test driving on our list?
If no, go into quick fact finding and ask what type they are looking for, the end result being that you will have it or something comparable. So then you can proceed…
If yes: Super. David, I don’t want to take your time right now to talk about specific pianos, but we do have that particular type of piano in different price ranges in the gallery. It is my job to help people find the perfect piano inside of their budget and, of course, the only way to do that is for you to see, touch, feel, hear, and experience those which meet your criteria. As a piano specialist, I work by appointment. Have you ever been into Prestige Pianos? [The dialogue will continue with or without the insertion of how easy it is to get to the gallery or not, depending on their answer.] I would love to be your personal guide in helping you find the right instrument. What day of the week is best for you to come in and visit with me?
After they answer, you naturally nail down a morning or evening time. Since you have their e-mail address (it is an Internet lead, after all.), tell them: Please be watching for your confirmation; I’ll e-mail it to you. I am so excited about meeting you in person! Have a great rest of the day/evening, David!
At this point, I would like to encourage you to look at this article: https://prospectsint.com/eventflow-appointment-setting-method/ under Resources on our website. read about appointment confirmations, scroll down to the paragraph which begins: “Let’s move now to a critical step which will cut down dramatically on the “no shows” ratio.”
Method Summary of Example #1: There are two critical aspects of this script: the time references and the fact that the representative at no time speaks about specific instruments. We are selling the opportunity, not the piano. We repeatedly make references which honor the prospect’s time in an effort to reinforce the fact that we are not pushy or invasive sales professionals. By referring to the online advertisement, you validate the savings benefit to the customer. Using the Internet Sales Department as the excuse why you can give them a better-than-average deal will make it more believable. In fact, the consumer naturally buys into the fact that a company wants to expand their internet sales. When all else fails, try the truth! Lol at myself.
Example #2 – when the prospect does not answer:
Hi! David, this is Joey from the Prestige Pianos Internet Sales Department leaving you a brief message. David, we’ve been helping people find the perfect piano inside their price range for over 25 years and I hope to be able to do the same for you. Prestige is dedicated to saving people money through the Internet division so thank you for reaching out to us online.
I have a couple quick questions that will help me find the perfect piano for your budget. Please, call me back at your next convenience at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Once more, this is Joey at xxx-xxx-xxxx [don’t speak too fast here] and I look forward to speaking with you.
Method Summary of Example #2: The voice message left here hits on the position of the person calling, making them sound credible, and it immediately manages the time element. The message references prices and savings in a positive manner, continues to manage the prospect’s future time investment, honors their schedule with the word “convenience” and invokes a call back in more instances than a lengthy, detail-ridden dissertation.
Example #3 – when the prospect needs a follow-up call:
There will be an inclination to resort to e-mail if you don’t get a call back that day, but resist. Give the customer a full 48 hours to respond. Folks be busy dees days (just seeing if you’re paying attention). After two full business days, call them again in this manner:
Hey, David. This is Joey from Prestige Pianos Internet Sales Department following up after my last voicemail. Let me know if you didn’t get it. If you did and you’ve been too busy to respond, then please call me at your next convenience at xxx-xxx-xxxx [again, speak slowly and clearly]. We are dedicated to saving people money through our Internet Division and I had a couple quick questions I would like to ask you. I want to be able to serve you in the best possible way. Once more, that’s Joey at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Method Summary of Example #3: This last phone message restates the “Internet Division” and the more informal tone also positions you as non-invasive. It is purposely friendly and less formal. Sound as friendly as possible. Many calls are unsuccessful because the listener isn’t hearing someone that sounds like they would be fun to talk to. The best sales persons realize they are “on stage.” So sound friendly and excited to serve. Be a friend – you’ll make more!
If the phone doesn’t work in the short term and you need to see if the prospect is the type of individual who responds exclusively to e-mails, you may refer to the section in the “Best Practices” article and view the script there.
At Prospects International, it is our passion to be the very best support system we can be to our clients. We have referenced the fundamentals of sales communications as scripted by the masters in the basic language of these examples. They can be edited and personalized when certain words or phrases don’t feel comfortable, but edit with caution. Since the content is fundamentally sound, try not to ax psychologically advantageous and positive positioning words or phrases such as brief, price range, convenient, permission, savings, dedicated, perfect piano or committed.
In summary, you are searching to find, then polish, that personal formula which talks people out of the cyber world and onto the showroom floor in front of you. The vehicle? Questions. Questions position you as a trusted advisor worthy of the prospect’s time. The prospecting goal? As many appointments as you can set. The more people you get in front of you, the better off you’ll be. Be creative in finding ways to get your leads into dialogue with you.
Finding a way to convert internet traffic into live encounters is a new skill we are developing in the piano business. I’m not worried about what happens when the sales reps get into the demonstration mode. We’ve been good at that for quite some time.