2012 is well into Q1 now and Vendors are having their sales and marketing teams hammer their hopefully well developed lists to generate new business and reawaken existing clients for 2012. Software firms, hardware sales, professional services; you name it and they’re out selling it. And if you are someone who is the recipient of these marketing calls, you are receiving it.. in a big way! Your phone is ringing off the hook from sales and marketing people of all skill levels. Rookies and seasoned marketing pros alike are vying for your time, for just a brief moment so they can give you their pitch and determine if there is any level of interest at all.
Now when that phone rings, or that call is transferred through from your admin there is a brief moment from a psychological standpoint; of wonderment. What awaits on the other end of that ringing phone? Or you are so up to your neck in Q1 work of your own you have just that rushed 30 seconds to hear a quick elevator pitch and either blurt out a ‘Not Interested!” or quickly say “Send me more details.” Either way that person on the other end of the phone is coming in cold with absolutely no idea how you the target exec is going to react to their message. Will they have success the call? Only if the target + messaging is a fit.
Flip that standard ho hum marketing script and be engaging and knowledgeable
Flip the phone around and you have the sales or marketing rep on the other end of the line. They have just navigated your complicated phone system, or possibly are staring at a screen that auto-dialed you with your name/title up in big bold letters with the top of the script loaded into the monitor. Most calls will begin the same with some sort of general salutation, personalized if their list has the contact information available. Using your marketing skill to divert any lapse of data is always critical, lead people to the knowledge you seek for conversation flow. Don’t just drop questions like bombs from the moment you get on the phone, that’s sloppy marketing.
This is where all similarities END. Poof! Now you are into the call itself and it’s where you as a caller need to separate yourself from the pack of marketing professionals out there. Are you working in a telemarketing cubicle in a boiler room with a cowbell being rung every time a light RFI type lead or better is obtained? If so you probably don’t care much beyond getting stats to pad your weekly numbers hoping to be the person winning the TGIF’s Gift Certificate. You will be identified by the target executive and either passed down the chain quickly, or discounted altogether as a waste of his/her time. Are you blindly reading through a marketing script just to get your work done? That’s not marketing either and is helping nobody in the process.
How will your marketing separate you from others?
Separation is key. But how do you as the caller separate yourself from that marketing pack that is constantly calling target executives day in and day out? It’s pretty simple, stop selling and start helping the people you call. Not everyone is going to be a fit for your client or marketing list each call; understanding that is the first key to success, not wasting your own time on non-targets. But when you do find that executive who is a perfect match for what you are trying to sell, help them understand the benefits to their organization more than trying to make a fast lead / appointment conversion will be savvy marketing and pay divedends. Taking that extra moment once you hear a sense of interest from a prospect will make a world of difference in the final result. Barreling in with the usual sales and marketing jargon and catchphrases just puts you back down into the pack. They’ve heard it all before, and if your best “line” is just that… a line.. Why should the target exec care why you have to say?
Understand their business, and in turn understand your offering. Be it a hardware device, software tool, professional service, it does not matter what the item is. What only matters is that you understand it well enough to be able to articulate to someone in under 60-90 seconds how that offering can be a benefit to their bottom line. It’s a rough economy out there for both corporate and individuals still and every business needs to make smart choices that benefit them. Effective marketing strategy will make a difference. The days of lavish spending on technology without a proven track record are over for the majority of companies out there. People put their name, their job, on the line when they start the chain of communication with a new Vendor. What will make them want to say YES! to you in such a short window of opportunity during that first cold call?
Hit them at their PAIN point. If they show initial interest in your pitch they most likely have some sort of pain in their organization that your offering could at least be a point of conversation in the process of them addressing it. Ask meaningful questions. Not the usual “Can I have for email?” that’s not the point of the call. You want to establish that: A) You have a product / service / offering that is of elevated value to the 100s other calls they have received in the past 14-30 days and that B) They truly have a NEED for who you are calling on behalf of. Because if they don’t need what you are marketing in the first place, why are we wasting their time and your clients money?
Your next marketing call will be a success
Think about this on your next cold call. What are you offering the person on the other end of the phone? What is your value proposition to them as much as what is it for your client? How can you help the target exec you are calling?
If your sales and marketing calls come from a true desire to help establish and build business relationships of value, instead of empty leads just to pad your numbers, you will find that when you do make that connection it will be that much deeper. Your clients will thank you in the end for that extra effort marketing on their behalf.