Using the right words and phrases on a sales call can have a big influence on the outcome.
George Dixon gives us a few pointers about how it’s done.
Never underestimate the diversity of your customers; coming as they do in a variety of ages, cultures, interests and personality types, there is no “one size fits all” sales patter that you can apply – at least, not without sacrificing that personal touch that so many prospective shoppers find endearing.
The trick to successful sales lies in your agents’ ability to identify the character type of each potential customer, and to quickly adapt his or her sales pitch accordingly.
So, without further ado, let’s examine the four most common temperaments your clients are likely to display, and explore the words and phrases most likely to win them over – once and for all…
The Early Interrupter – dealing with rebuttals
Hardened by irrelevant offers and telesales propositions, the Early Interrupter has the staunch resolution that any unexpected call is undoubtedly an unwanted one.
Since this type of customer is likely to signal disinterest and hang up within moments of your agent’s opening, it is important here to set yourself apart from the competition as early as possible. This can be done by adopting an unconventional sales approach as soon as the customer’s lack of interest becomes apparent. When it comes to making a convert of the Early Interrupter, originality really is your finest ally.
By delivering your pitch openly, then, and responding to rebuttals with as much non-aggressive, calm integrity as you can muster, you’ll demonstrate that yours is a company that really does offer something special. Once this has been established, of course, it’s only a matter of converting the customer’s curiosity into all-out enthusiasm.
As far as the agent’s lingo goes, continuous use of the first person singular will help enormously in distinguishing yours from the faceless corporations with which Early Interrupters are so disenchanted.
Here are some good rebuttal phrases.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Sir/Madam, but I thought you would be interested to know that…”
Opening with an apology will immediately set you apart from the norm.
“I’ll only take a moment of your time, Sir/Madam…”
The customer will appreciate the fact that you value his or her time.
“I’m just calling to tell you about an offer I think will appeal to you…”
The first-person singular here lends a deeper, more personal touch to the conversation.
“This really is an extraordinarily rare offer, Mrs Brown…”
Pointing out the limited availability of your product will serve to attract the customer’s attention.
“That’s true, Sir/Madam, but…”
This demonstration of honesty will set you apart from the competition, and help to build a degree of trust.
Ah, the Fence-Sitter – never was there a more tentative breed of customer. Ever-cautious of committing, this type of consumer can be a difficult nut to crack.
As picky as they are persistent, the key to this customer’s heart will be found through the agent’s speedy ability to acquire a concrete understanding of each Fence-Sitter’s desires. By then allowing your staff a high degree of flexibility in adjusting the offer that’s being put forward you’ll gain an invaluable advantage over your rivals.
Of course, nobody is psychic, and even the most well-seasoned of agents can have difficulty in assessing their Fence-Sitter‘s needs.
“Living in (City Name), we thought you might be interested to hear that…”
This will give a bespoke, tailor-made feel to your call opening.
“Unlike our competitors, we’re proud to offer…”
Stated without arrogance, this will project a sense of genuine confidence in your products/service.
“Let’s see if we can put together a package that’s perfect for you…”
Conveying an image of versatility will give you an invaluable edge over your rivals.
“I understand that you don’t need (the Internet/home insurance, etc.), Mrs Brown, but we’ve a brand new (TV/travel cover, etc.) package that looks just right for you…”
Showing that your company recognises the customer’s specific requirements will set you apart as a highly astute service provider.
“I can guarantee you that we…”
Weighty assertions will help to garner the sort of agent-client affinity that will have your customers coming back for more…
The Eager Rebound
Though decidedly few and far between, the Eager Rebound will come as a pleasant surprise to any agent fortunate enough to come into contact with one.
Typically sick to death of their current provider, this consumer type seeks quality of service over cheap-but-lacklustre thrills.
As paradoxical as it seems, however, it’s crucial to remember that the Eager Rebound is not necessarily an easy catch. All too often, in fact, agents misinterpret this client’s dejection as all-out desperation. This, in turn, can lead to a lapse in those all-important soft skills – the very thing the Eager Rebound was searching for in the first place.
Quite simply, this breed of customer should be treated with the very same courtesy and respect as any other potential client. You also need to add in an extra touch of gratitude, mingled cunningly into the wording.
“I’m so glad you’re interested, Mrs Brown…”
Expressing the agent’s own emotions will give the call a more personal, welcoming aura.
“We can certainly do that for you, Sir/Madam”
Strong, reassuring words will impress upon the customer your commitment to going the extra mile.
“Thanks so much for giving me a moment of your time, Sir/Madam”
The customer may not have experienced this sort of gratitude in a very long time.
“When would be a suitable (delivery time/start date), Mrs Brown?”
This will demonstrate your company’s convenience-oriented work ethic.
“I’m throwing in a (bonus freebie), just for you…”
Such phrases will lend the call a pleasingly bespoke feel.
Pitching to a Negotiator is like challenging a particularly accomplished player to a game of chess or draughts. The Negotiator has developed a shameless knack for exploiting the market in search of a bargain.
However, you do have a trump card. The very fact that The Negotiator invests so much time in haggling with you is inherent testament to his interest in your product.
Since retaining good profit levels is ultimately the name of the game, it’s important here to predetermine your best-price offers – and to refrain from “bettering” them, no matter what loyalty or good publicity The Negotiator offers. Instead, use the following phrases to show your client that the offer on the table already represents outstanding value for money.
“We always beat our competitors on…”
This provides a subtle aura of consistency and hints at the long-term support your company offers.
“Remember, (VAT/P&P/Extended Warranty) is also included in our price”
Indirectly draws to light the possible hidden charges imposed by your rivals.
“Recent surveys show that ours is the (fastest/best value/most trusted) service on the market…”
Drawing on positive statistics can give the customer a favourably subjective point of view.
“The difference is that we are committed to…”
A comparative style of language will give the customer a sense of context, and lend weight to your argument.
“Let’s move forward and discuss…”
The collective “let’s” gives a mood of co-operation and amicable partnership.
Click here for our Top Tips for Selling Over the Phone