By Kathy Sisk
In the last issue of Connections Magazine, I covered in detail the “introduction” phase of making a phone call, which is the first of the twelve steps to successful telemarketing. In this issue I will address Step Two: Reference. This step is as short as Step One is long.
There is only one function in the reference step: Your prospects want to know how you got their name. They either interrupt you by asking you this question, or they are no longer actively listening; they have shut down because they are wondering how you got their name. You do not have to specifically tell them where you acquired their name, but you must satisfy their curiosity about why you are calling their home or business. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of creating an unnecessary barrier. Remember, barriers prevent active and positive listening, so they need to be avoided – or dealt with, but it is easier to avoid them in the first place.
The reference statement you use will depend on the type of calling you’re doing and the objective of your call. The idea is to keep it simple, brief, and nonthreatening (that is, non-selling). The following are just some of the possible reference statements that may be suitable for you to use:
“My company requested (…pause) that I contact you personally.” (This reference is very effective when cold calling.)
- “I recently sent you information.”
- “You requested (…pause) that I contact you personally.”
- “(Name of referral) requested (…pause) that I contact you personally.”
- “I understand you recently had a baby. Congratulations!”
- “I understand you recently purchased a new home. Congratulations!”
- “My company is actively advertising in this area.”
- “I specialize in (give line of business).”
- “We spoke some time ago (give the date or event).”
These are just a few of the types of reference statements you can choose from. You can also create your own. The objective is to not use a selling statement or spend too much time explaining or detailing your reference. You want to sound professional, without being too specific, in order to satisfy the prospect’s curiosity for the moment. This will allow you to confidently move to your next step: respect their time.
In the next issue, I will share the best practices in respecting your prospects’ time so as to overcome a premature “I’m not interested” and effectively communicate the purpose of your call.
Kathy Sisk is president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc.
[From Connection Magazine – October 2011]