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Why Inside Sales Has Grown Faster Than Outside Sales

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Inside Sales Has Grown Faster

The most successful people in the world work standing on the floor – – on the phones (think: the New York Stock Exchange.)

The number of rising prosperous people sitting behind their desk writing an email to pitch, promote and persuade others is virtually nil. Despite all our hard-hitting high tech communication capabilities designed to connect us the simple telephone has proven itself to be an invaluable universal business staple and remains l’object de choix because if you really want to connect with someone and sell something, you get on the phones.

In addition to meaningful considerations pertaining to face-to-face meetings involving time away from office and family, travel costs and per diums, there is a reason why the world of inside sales has grown 300% faster than traditional outside sales. There is a reason why outside sales reps now spend 89 % more time selling remotely than in 2013, according to InsideSales.com.

The telephone enables a more personal connection, helps clarify mid-understandings, emits tones, inuendo and subtle messages. The telephone helps breeds trust and accesses emotion and the bottom line is: people buy with emotion. … versus an impersonal email which is a poor conductor of feelings, understanding and emotion. Therefore, the value of telephone training cannot be overstated.

Many are challenged, perhaps even intimidated, when it comes to effective use of this inanimate object. As most things challenging, the telephone has its own imperatives governing (exceptional) performance. And, as always, the more we practice, the more proficient we become. Being telephone savvy in business is an art and an area of productivity into which the judicious professional knows how to dial-up, ring-in and tap-into (all puns intended.)  Embrace the everyday opportunity of placing the seemingly ordinary “rote” cold call as an opportunity to ignite and kindle critical interpersonal relationships while significantly affecting the bottom line.

According to UCLA’s Dr. Albert Mehrabian, 55% of our presentation to the world is visual and 38% is verbal. Therefore, given that people buy with emotion, our voice e.g. what we say and how we say it on the telephone is key. Tonal quality, energy(!) – volume, clarity, grammar and diction and creating a sense of urgency – not necessarily possible with email, are central to our message.

From the strictly visual perspective, telephone challenges include: the inability to look into the other persons’ eyes (“eyes are a more exact witness to the soul”), shake a warm hand, read body language, observe “silent signals, perceive subtle messages conveyed, glean valuable information from attire, office surroundings, etc. and present yourself wholly, as “a man/woman well-met!”

Related: How Business Attire Builds … or Breaks Your Brand

On the other hand, telephone advantages involve the fact that neither party need worry about clammy hands, bad breath, being meticulously attired, office surroundings and personal effects being scrutinized, etc..

Advance Client Research – Research and pre-qualify before you attempt the connection and have your notes on-hand. Know your nearest competition and be prepared to articulate what distinguishes you/your firm. Let them know what’s in it for them.   Have a list of anticipated objections and company-sanctioned responses.

Mental Preparation. Be mentally and physically prepared for the day’s anticipated and unexpected activities. Project a positive attitude and strive to be your professional best.

Make each call sound fresh, like what you are saying is being said for the first time! Do not even place the call if you are not up to the task or distracted. Prospects will sense this and you will not be effective.

  • Endeavor to make each person feel special and not like just the next person on your call list.
  • Be yourself! …remember, people do business with people they like and trust.
    Props: Use a mirror; pretend your reflection is the other person and SMILE! You can literally hear a smile through the ‘wires.’
  • Ensure surroundings are quiet and remove distractions. Have your notes (including personal notes) and advance research specific to this prospect. Jot down talking points to be better prepared to leave a succinct voice-mail message. Position your seat upright to help you better project or best yet… STAND – (versus sit) for every call, to help prompt a more robust, confident, authoritative voice. Standing is also better for your physical health and well-being, opens your vocal cords and helps you better project… not to mention, standing burns more calories! There is a reason why the global standing desk market is set to hit $2.8 billion by 2025 according to Business Wire.

*Pacing may help to relieve tension, deflect anxiety and re-channel any nervous energy.

Invest in a good headset. Use a land-line (preferably) versus cell phone for better clarity.

Have water available. Be conscious of drinking healthy, i.e., water or green tea versus coffee – Note: tea actually has more caffeine than coffee if you are looking for a burst! (However… don’t drink directly into your mouthpiece.)

Have note paper and working pens at the ready. Should you chose to use an IT device be conscious of “clicking” sounds as you take notes and acknowledge this.

Their first “hello” conveys powerful information. Adjust your tone, pace, inflections, etc, to match theirs; be chameleon-like and mirror them to better connect. Refrain from multitasking. Be “fully present,” authentic, engaging … even fun! It’s okay to use humor and be a bit playful depending on personalities. Be inclusive… speak in terms of “we” and “us.” Assume that “you” and “I” are a “we.”

Placing The Call

  • Extend a warm greeting, identify yourself, company affiliation and say the (perfectly pronounced) name of your target.
  • Use your referral’s name to enhance credibility and advance the connection.
  • Use their honorific and ask how they prefer to be ad­dressed: “Dr. Jones, how do you prefer to be addressed?” Never assume the familiar form of address.
  • Ask probing, open-ended questions and use their answers in your summation of understanding and when closing.
  • Endeavor to ascertain what is being said between the lines.
  • Be “fully present” and listen. Employ the same active listening skills you normally use in face-to-face communication.
  • Take business and personal notes and use this information in future communication to help advance relationships.
  • Follow-up each call with a personal “thank you” e-mail note and include company information, if appropriate.
    Remember to ask for referrals in a respectful way.

Top Tips:

  • Use their name often in conversation.
  • Eliminate the “non-words.”
  • Close the “ING’s.”
  • “Yessss” vs. “yeah/yup.”
  • Adapt to them – use words they use, match pace, etc.
  • Be engaging, sincere.
  • You initiated the call; you end the call.
  • Follow-up ASAP. Remember, “The fortune is in the follow-up.”

*Send an e-mail “thank you” (along with company information) following your cold call to position and keep you, your message and your brand front-of-mind. Use words such as “chat” or “get together” versus “meet” or “schedule.” Use inclusive and collaborative words whenever possible (us, we, let’s) vs. individual words (I, me, you). Remember, we are courting relationships in business. It’s all about making a personal connection; make it personal!

*When concluding the call, whatever you do, never say “have a nice day!” The trite, cliched over-cooked, over-baked expression has negative effects. Think: a police officer – – after handing you a ticket! … Say anything other than “Have a nice day!” Rather, “Have a fabulousday” …”Enjoy the week!” “I look forward to reconnecting soon!”

*Rule: Always ask before placing anyone on speakerphone.

“Know when to walk away!”  -Kenny Rogers.

“The fortune is in the follow-up.”  -Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker

Q:  What is the most effective way to identify and reach my target internally?

A. After exhausting your own personal network of connections together with social media channels such as LinkedIn, we commend contacting the president or CEO directly, personally introducing yourself and asking for help – to be referred to the appropriate individual/s.  Being transferred to a department head at the recommendation of the CEO’s office is strong.

  • ask if you may use the admin’s name (CEO’s office is implied) and
  • use the admin’s name when introducing yourself to the department head.

I have had the experience of having the administrative assistant direct me to use their name to help advance me to the appropriate individual/s.

*Remember to cultivate relationships with each individual encountered along the way.

Conclusion:

Cold calling is an art requiring work and much practice to refine.  As a fierce demand and new respect for stellar Inside Sales professionals flourishes the value of telephone training, systems and structure cannot be over-stated.  I hope this all rings true for you!

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