Telesales: the art form that just won’t quit

/ Business and Economy, Join AIMS Accountants

Author: Henry Ejdelbaum

Tags: franchising, sales, SME, SMEs, telesales

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Telesales is an art form that just won’t quit. Sure, if you look at social media you might think otherwise because cold callers are not exactly popular. Does this mean that phone calls are ineffective? Absolutely not. Yes, irrelevant cold calls are annoying. If you’re a digital marketing agency specialising in Google Ads and someone calls you to flog their Google Ads package, you have my permission to bite. But this is rare and it’s certainly not the only type of cold call. 

Telesales has for 30 years been integral to the business that we do at AIMS. We even have a team of people calling SMEs to generate leads for our accountants across the UK. When new accountants join us, we also provide telesales training to make sure that they’re in the best possible position to pick up new business. Below, I hope to convince you that telesales is worthwhile and that it will help you grow your business. 

It’s just a phone call

First things first, let’s get the scary stuff out the way. If you’ve ever done sales, you’ve experienced the dreaded “GET LOST” followed by a dial tone. The language might have been more colourful, but perhaps too colourful for this article. 

Nonetheless, the most important thing to remember when you’re making calls is this: It’s just a phone call. The world isn’t about to collapse in on itself because someone shouted at you, nor are your family going to disown you because someone said no. You brush yourself down and move onto the next one. 

If you’re rejected, don’t take it personally. People are busy and sometimes the timing just isn’t right for them to make a decision. The important thing is not to give up. Instead, think of rejection as an opportunity to learn more about your potential client’s situation and what they might need from you in order to move forward. If they can’t see that they need what you’re offering right now, maybe they’ll be ready in a few weeks or months. It never hurts to say something like “shall I reach out again in a month or two to see if anything has changed?” 

Set a simple goal with every phone call. What are you trying to get out of it? If you want to arrange a face-to-face meeting, for example, tell the person that you’re going to be in their area next week and would love to take them for a coffee. Or something like that. And remember, you can’t always tell by the way someone answers the phone if they are going to buy. There are people who genuinely enjoy talking on the phone but might be having a bad day. You might be able to improve it by calling them!  

You’re actually helping people 

It’s time to change your mindset. It’s not selling; it’s helping. 

Yes, if you’re an accountant, you have a service to sell, but when it comes down to it, you’re solving a problem. One of our newest accountants secured his first client in week 1 by calling someone who said that they were furious with their current accountants and looking to switch. Oh the serendipity! It’s moments like these that make it worth it. If he hadn’t made that call, the business would’ve been sat there fuming, and our accountant wouldn’t have secured a client. Clearly, in this situation, you’re helping someone who has had a negative experience. There’s bound to be plenty of other businesses out there who feel the same. 

You can show off your personality through the phone

One of the main reasons that telesales is so effective is that it allows you to show off your personality. It’s super hard to do this by text message or email. How many times has your tone been misunderstood in a text? 

Everything amazing about you comes across in your voice and in your tone. If you’re likeable and personable, this will come across and this is much more effective than just sending an email.  

They don’t say people buy people for no reason!  

This is a double-edged sword, though. If you’re not having a good day, prospects will be able to tell and you should only attempt to make phone calls when you’re happy, energetic and when you’re feeling like the best version of yourself. It’s completely ok to not be ok and to not feel like making calls, so when this happens, do something else!  

How can you be effective on the phone?

One of the best things you can do is ask open questions. Instead of asking “do you need an accountant?” ask instead “what are your current accounting needs?” Asking closed questions with a yes or no answer is a sure-fire way to shorten the conversation and makes it easy for the receiver to dip out. 

It’s also good to learn how to read people. This skill will improve over time. You have to be able to understand what makes someone tick without coming across as overly personal. This might be recognising details in their responses that can allow them to open up further.  

This is also true when it comes to reading the situation and the market—you should find out everything there is about your client and their competition before calling. You have to be an expert so that you can get them to open up about their needs.  

Telesales is an art, but not one that is necessarily going away anytime soon 

Telesales is an art, but not one that is necessarily going away anytime soon. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and build relationships, but it’s also an excellent way to learn about your potential clients’ needs. You can’t fully understand these needs over email. You need to ask questions, get to know your prospect and get to know their business. 

We’re big fans of telesales which is why we do it for our accountants. Ask them, it works. There’s a fine line between being pushy and genuinely interested in a business’ problems. You’ll get some rejection, sure, but you’ll also make some businesses clients for life. What are you waiting for, pick up the phone!  

For more information, call James on 020 7616 6622 or visit our website here.