An interview with sales expert Vishal Arora
The traditional sales approach involved sales professionals vomiting away their product information to the prospect. It was the same for a sales Rookie with 2 years’ experience or a professional with 20 years of experience. Over the past 7-10 years, the buyers have changed. They are more informed and well connected to their community of buyers. There is the only way the seller can break through the clutter is by doing research.
Before even considering making a call, research the customer – that includes company details, products, market, competition, key decision makers and so on. Understand the profile of the recipient of the telephone call her likes / dislikes if possible.
The 30-3 rule:
The tele-caller has 30 seconds at best to make the first impression. A positive first impression will buy him the next 3 – 4 minutes from the potential customer. Any lapse here could close doors for good. This requires substantial understanding of the customer business, issues, and challenges.
Most research is secondary (read Google) that is focused on publically available information. However, it is also valuable to do a primary search of the potential customer. This could be accomplished by communicating with competitors, vendors, customers customer and employees in that company
Sharpen the knife:
Construct a 30-second pitch to be followed by the content for the next 3 minutes. Subsequently, sharpen the pitch to include new learning’s, benefits, technology and so on. Practice some more until, it’s almost second nature. Now learn to weave the pitch seamlessly in conversations. Since there is no one size fit pitch, you may have to spend time gathering your thoughts every time you are ready to pick up the phone.
Key selling skills:
The key selling skills in a potentially good telesales person are (not limited to)
- Communication – to not speak but also to listen
- Psychology – Since there’s no visual communication, the sales person has to pick up on the subtle hints in the words, tone, pitch of the conversation
- Timing – sensing an opening or an opportunity in the conversation and using it
- Hunger to learn – the buyer is dynamic and the salesperson should be willing to learn continuously
- Be consultative – many buyers are also looking for new ideas, they love to talk to the tele seller if there are no ideas on the table
Low value Vs High value:
Typically, low-value products are sold via phone and high-value products are sold Face-2-Face (F2F). Companies like McAfee and Oracle who had been pioneers in selling globally using India as a base have been extremely successful. New customer acquisition in the SMB (Small Medium Business) & contract renewals is good targets for phone-based selling. Tele calling has a role to play in “high value” sales process but it’s only part of the process and primary sales effort is F2F and relationship building. The bottom line is the cost of customer acquisition determines if it makes business sense to meet with the customer or just call the customer and steer her towards deal closure.
Telesales as a career (Rookies) :
Sales is a great career. Telesales is the emerging career path in the sales profession. Telesales will continue to grow and play a critical role in the sales process immaterial of the company’s sales process. Imagine making 60 – 100 calls a day, 5 days a week 12 months in a year with 90% rejection rate. It is important that Rookies have a passion for sales especially telesales because it really tests a person’s metal.
Some of the new age sales start-ups like Salesloft have been harnessing the power of inside sales in combination with automation.
Field to telesales or vice-versa:
Sales professionals considering lateral shifts, that is moving between field sales to telesales or telesales to field sales, is more or less a one-way street. Aligning the mindset of a field sales person who is used to physically traveling & meeting in person to a complete auditory stimulus of a telesales is quite challenging. Whereas transitioning the mind-set from a transactional 100 phone call to more relationship based could be relatively easier.
20+ years sales experience
Global Account Director – Pluralsight
Linkedin profile Twitter: @aroravishal