01 Jun 4 Strategies For Starting Conversations With Your Leads
You’ve spent time and resources carefully crafting a lead generation strategy. Now that you are successfully funneling in prospects, holding an effective phone conversation is your next step towards conversions. Calls are a vital part of the sales process, but many agents do not feel comfortable with starting a conversation. Not feeling ready to answer questions quickly and overcome objections might deter you from placing calls, but with the right approach, calls can be productive and profitable. Luckily, the ZipQuote Team knows how to start stellar phone conversations with new leads.
Here are four, simple strategies for starting conversations with your leads:
#1. Plan Your Start & Review Your Script
Before starting conversations with your leads, be sure to review your call script. While you do not want to sound rehearsed, reading your script will help you prepare for the conversation and organize your thoughts. Create a simple script in advance containing your opening value statement. Determine how your value statement will pique your prospect’s interest. Plan for your caller to pick up the phone, so you don’t seem surprised or flustered.
Far too often, sales professionals are stereotyped and associated with an overly enthusiastic greeting. While it is important to convey a friendly tone, it is easy to go overboard and immediately signal to your lead that the call is not genuine. Avoid being overly cheerful with a loud greeting. You’ll want to consider your energy in addition to your speaking speed. Calls can often feel intimidating, and the rush of nerves might prompt you to speak faster. Instead, before you initiate a call, plan for a mellow, calm and conversational tone by slowing down your speaking pace.
#2. Get Your Prospect’s Permission, Early
Many people can seem defensive when they answer an unexpected call. You will want to counteract that instinct by lowering resistance as early as possible in the call. Instead of the standard and energetic, “Hi, how are you today”, consider saying, “Hi Prospect Name, Your Name here, did I catch you in the middle of something?” This type of opening immediately transitions the speaking role from you to your prospect and prompts a reply. The cordial but casual greeting will set you apart from other overt sales call. Based on their reply, your prospect will offer you permission to continue the call. Gaining permission often positions a prospect to be more open to your proposal and engage in conversation.
#3. Don’t Talk Too Much, Or Too Little
This may seem obvious, but too often agents can become verbose or silent when starting conversations with your leads over the phone. It can be easy for you to talk too much because you have the information, but keep in mind, in order to drive conversions you’ll need to build rapport with your prospects. The difference between a presentation and a conversation is mutually engaged participants who equally share information. An effective strategy will prevent the conversation from feeling one-sided. Remember to ask you prospects questions and bu ild off their responses. Also, prevent your prospect from dominating the conversation. If you do not engage in the conversation enough, you will miss the opportunity to present your value proposition and grow your connection with your prospect. Aim for an equal exchange that will allow you to present your services as solutions to their needs.
#4. Prepare To Identify Challenges And Respond To Contingencies
Your services are a solution, not a commodity. No matter how you were connected to your prospect, you can predict that they are in the marketplace because they need to solve a problem or satisfy a need. Be prepared to present common challenges your prospect may be encountering. Prove that you understand what is happening in your prospect’s world. Once you’ve noted a few common obstacles in your prospect’s world, pose a non-confrontation question to them. You can start your question with, “I totally understand, before you go, one last question.” Responding to your question encourages the prospect to share information with you. Do not use this time to ask if you can call them back at a later time.
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Even if the beginning of the call goes perfectly, your prospect may want to end the conversation and get off the phone. Be ready for your prospect to tell you they don’t have time for a call. This is your opportunity to interrupt the sales pattern and extend the conversation. Acknowledge your prospect’s request but present one more question. They are likely to provide you an answer before hanging up. The last interaction can position you for a follow-up call.
Remember, Phone Calls Help You Develop A Deeper Conversation With Your Prospects
With many advances enabling communication, you might feel that email, texting and social media provide you with plenty of opportunities to be starting conversations with your leads. The one thing missing from text-based exchanges is the human voice. Hearing the context and tone of someone’s voice can dramatically alter how the message is received. Being an effective communicator takes preparation and practice, but mastering the initial sales call can help you build relationships with your customers, drive conversions and increase sales.