With the growing use of teleconferencing, you will find yourself on multi-contact outbound calls more often than ever before. In fact, a number of sources point to how cloud technology is making phone or video conferencing a preferred marketing tool in many business segments.
Effectively Managing the Process
What this trend means to you as a sales person is largely positive. You are able to present your pitch to multiple decision-makers and support people at the same time. The ability to handle questions and objections in one session presents the potential to shorten the sales cycle and get to the final contract much faster.
However, anyone who has used this tool also recognizes one of the key downsides to the phone and/or video conference sales call: As a salesperson, you must be able to read your prospect and tailor your presentation to their reactions, but this is often difficult to do when your outbound calls involve multiple people, and it isn’t clear who is talking at any given point.
Geoffrey James acknowledges this challenge in a recent Inc. article and offers an elegant solution to the problem.
A Different Use for LinkedIn
James recommends that you prepare for a conference call that doesn’t have video by calling up each attendee’s LinkedIn profile ahead of time. If you arrange them on one screen with their profile picture showing, you can do a better job of keeping track of each speaker as they are involved in the call.
He also recommends you review and familiarize yourself with the profiles before the call. Not only does that help you gain a better lock on each individual, you may also pick up some key points to include in your discussion and presentation.
When the call starts, this simple preparatory step will help you mentally sort out the speakers, even when they start talking over each other, which is a common occurrence. James also indicates this practice will help you keep more organized notes.
Use of the profiles also provides you with several other potential advantages.
First, since you already have the profiles up at the end of the meeting, you can quickly message each attendee with a thank you and reference any specific question they asked.
Secondly, you can update each profile with any personal thoughts or information you picked up. For example, if one attendee mentions another’s birthday or other significant event, you can capture that tidbit and use it as appropriate when contacting that person individually. Also, you can home in on any attendee who seemed to be having problems with your proposal or pitch. The LinkedIn profile can help you determine a lot about the person’s background, and you may even find a common contact you can speak with to learn more.
Maintaining the Personal Touch
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Face-to-face communication contact is the broadest bandwidth communication you can have in professional life.” They report that 79 percent of HBR subscribers consider face-to-face meetings the most effective way to meet new clients, and 89 percent call such meeting essential for “closing the deal.” This simple strategy suggestion helps you trap part of that bandwidth when you use teleconferencing as a part of your sales process, even in a non-video call.
If you rely on outbound calls for a significant part of your sales cycle, you’ll find this nifty tip useful. Also, if you are a sales manager who uses a professional call center to handle part of your sales process, from prospecting to customer service, evaluate how you can have them incorporate such a strategy into their calling methods.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.