Ari Galper has provided a gem of free advice to anyone with salespeople processing inbound leads and inquiries.
So rather than calling back a lead with a series of pre-planned questions to extract the information you need to keep them or let them go, instead, open the call with this (after you’ve introduced yourself and why you’re calling):
“Can you tell me a little about your situation…” (this must be delivered with a soft and nurturing tone)
That’s it, simple. That “zen” trust-based opening phrase allows them to start the conversation where THEY want to start it.
When they begin from their most important starting point, that begins the trust-building process because this shows them you are willing to LISTEN and not force them into a process.
It isn’t hard to see why this approach works so much better than pushing for information and posing pre-determined questions to “prospects” to determine if they are qualified to do business from you. You hand the power back to the individuals making the inquiry, and let them express what concerns them the most. You build trust.
There’s another message in Galper’s free eletter. He says he suggested this solution to an individual (high-paying) client to whom he reviewed sales call tapes and captured the scripted response that the representatives were giving, resulting in poor lead conversion ratios.
Galper offers the distilled, core advice free in his eletter. Or you can pay a rather signficant sum for the same advice, but perhaps in the form of an individual call. (Of course, I expect there are other advantages in the one-on-one advice, including a more comprehensive understanding of the follow-up steps once you ask the initial question — but the key stuff is still free, here.)
Simply put, there’s a wealth of resources out there that provide insights and powerful marketing and selling techniques, and they cost not a cent to implement. The challenge with the free advice relates to your ability to discern its value (separating the crap from the gems) and then to have the motivation to drive you to follow-up and implement it.
In this point, if you have significant skin in the game, you listen.
Yet that leads to another disturbing thought.
Say you have an organization and hear some well-thought advice and decide that your employees should also benefit. So you send them for the workshop, seminar and training programs. They don’t pay for the training — in fact, they get time off from their regular work.
Do you think they would learn as much as if they needed to scrape their last penny together to get the training, and they were ready to do what they were told to make it happen?
In this context, the advice isn’t free to you — but it is “free” to the individuals receiving it — and so perhaps has the same impact/power and effectiveness as the information you (or they) could receive without spending a cent.
The ideas here seem contradictory to anyone seeking to build/sell professional services especially in the marketing area. Of course, if you are an architect, engineer or contractor, you won’t go far by giving away free information and completing jobs or projects without a fee. The differentiation point will be, obviously, the customization — whether you are pulling things off the shelf, or designing or pricing work for individual requirements.
Then your challenge is to build the trust (heck, using the free advice here), and make sure you are paid for your time and resources. And you can certainly take this free advice in going there.