By Kathy Sisk
The key to telemarketing, whether it is prospecting, appointment-setting, or sales, is the relationship agents develop with contacts. Part of this relationship is an understanding that the people being called have three primary fear points that need to be overcome in order for telemarketing efforts to be successful.
If the agent is aware of their prospect’s fears and the agent has the skills to overcome these fears, then that agent is more motivated. The agent can then spend more time to learn what it would take to have a successful encounter when prospecting. The three primary fears are:
- The Approach: “What does this person want from me?”
- Prepurchase Insecurity: “What if I make a decision and later regret it?”
- Post-purchase Remorse: “What have I done now?”
I have created a twelve-step method to help agents overcome these fears before they emerge as objections. These twelve steps will be covered in future articles in Connections Magazine to help agents satisfy and overcome potential objections before they surface.
Many companies are spending too much time and money teaching their agents how to overcome objections. This is contrary to the way I’ve designed the twelve steps. An objection is not just an opportunity to sell, and it’s not raised because your prospect just needs more information (although both are partially true in some situations). Essentially, an objection is an indicator that you have not done an effective presentation.
When you make it your primary objective to conduct an effective presentation, you will have a better opportunity to effectively sell your prospect. This is accomplished by the information you provide. However, in the event the agent is unable to an overcome objection before it occurs, I have built into these twelve steps methods that will help outweigh and overcome the objection when they surface.
However, before the twelve steps can be taught, we need to first understand the prospect’s three fears:
Fear 1: The Approach. The first fear is the approach (steps one to four are designed to overcome this fear). Within the first thirty seconds of your presentation, you will tell the prospect:
- Who you are
- The company you represent
- Where you are located
- How you acquired the prospect’s name
- Respect for their time
- The purpose of your call
Think about it. If you were the prospect, would you want to know this information? So do your prospects. In fact, many prospects will interrupt the agent’s presentation to ask, “How did you get my name?” or “What’s this all about?” or “I’m busy right now!”
Fear 2: Prepurchase Insecurity. The second fear is prepurchase insecurity (steps five through nine overcome this fear). This is where you begin to qualify your prospects, establish their wants, and create the need for your products or services through open-ended, probing questions. The probing step not only gains insightful information you need from your prospect, it’s a time to establish rapport with them.
Once you have successfully gone through the probing step, you will fulfill their needs and attempt the trial close. This is the bulk of your presentation and – aside from getting through the first initial barriers – the most critical.
Fear 3: Post-purchase Remorse. The third and final fear is post-purchase remorse (step twelve overcomes this fear). By incorporating this step into your presentation, you will reduce your cancellation factors tremendously. Most agents are trained to hurry up, close, get off the telephone, and move on to the next call before the prospect changes his or her mind. Because a post-close was not incorporated into their presentation, once the call is terminated, the prospect will begin to talk him or herself out of the commitment they’ve just made. This is why many companies experience cancellations as high as 70 percent.
As you may have noticed, steps ten and eleven were not included when addressing the three fears. Step ten is the objection step. Remember, an objection is an indicator that you have not done an effective presentation. Therefore, since the presentation is designed to overcome your prospect’s fear, objections typically do not occur – providing you have presented well. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? This is the precise reason why the twelve steps have been created; they are designed to overcome resistance before it occurs.
Step eleven, the close, is also not included in addressing the three fears because this is a natural transition based on successfully following the previous steps. However, according to national statistics, most salespeople do not know how to close. The three possible reasons for this are: they don’t close, they don’t know when to close, or they don’t know what to say when closing. In this step, you will know who to close (you will not close everyone), you will know exactly when to close, and you will know what to say when closing. This step is the simplest part of your presentation. What is incredible about it is that you will never get objections in your close step.
The twelve steps address your prospects’ three fears. To successfully complete a presentation, it takes approximately three to five minutes (depending on how long the prospect takes to respond to your questions in your probing step). By following this method, you will have the tools to be in complete control. If you follow the steps and use the correct verbiage, there is nowhere within your presentation where you will ever give up your control. As you study and practice the steps and implement them into your telemarketing operation, you will be impressed with the increased production your agents will receive. What is more important, your prospects will even be impressed.
In the next issue, we will begin learning the steps overcome your prospect’s first fear!
Kathy Sisk is president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc.
[From Connection Magazine – June 2011]