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Be.a.successfull.consultant

Be.a.successfull.consultant

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Heconquers whoendures.

Persius

Selling, developing and delivering a service such as consulting differs considerably from

selling a product like an automobile. These differences pose a special challenge to

consultants. How do you make relatively invisible services seem real and useful to

prospective clients? This is achieved by making sure the services are understood, and by

somehow making them more tangible by talking to and meeting with suspects and

prospects.

Generalguidelinesforsellingonthetelephone

Foul!

Remember,sellingbytelephoneisnotthesameas‘coldcalling’.Itinvolvescallingpeoplefrom

your network, suspect and prospect list to obtain ideas and information. If you are e¡ective

with contacting peopleyouknow,youwillneverneedtomakea‘coldcall’.

Telephone marketing

Advantages

Disadvantages

Saves time: you can cover many people No face-to-face contact: you are not able

in a short time. It is an incredibly time- to see body language cues and therefore

effective tool, particularly in the early it can be harder to build rapport.

stages of business development.

Difficulty in contact: it is becoming
Saves money: costs less than travelling increasingly difficult to talk to ‘live’

to face-to-face meetings.

people, instead of message machines.

Telephone marketing requires a concentrated, focused environment, plus rapid evaluation

and decision-making. But the benefits can be considerable in terms of increased business.

T|me out!

Generalguidelines ontelephonemarketing

‘Chunk’yourtime:planforatleasttwohoursoftelephonecallsthreetimesaweekinthe
set-up stages of yourbusinessandatleasttwoone-hoursessionsper week whenyour

businessis established.

Make sureyou utilizeyourbodyclocke¡ectively.Telephonemarketing ishardwork, so
makesureif youarea‘lark’(bestinthemorning)that youmakeyourphone callsthen. If

youarean‘owl’ (bestintheafternoonandevening), makeyourphone callsthen.

If youare organized, youcanmake30-45callsinatwo-to-threehour timeframe.
Mostofthetime(approximately80%)youwillbeleavingmessagesonvoicemailsforthe
otherperson. Make sureyouleaveaspeci¢cmessageincludingyournameandnumber,

thereasonyoucalledandagoodtimetocallback.

Ifyouareleavingamessageonavoicemail,stateyournameandnumberatthebeginning
ofthe call, andthenrepeatitagainattheend.

Don’t rushwhenyou repeatyourphone number!

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Evenif youhaveknownthe person for alongtime, alwaysleaveyournumber.You never
knowiftheyhavelosttheirorganizer,oriftheir systemhascrashed!

Makeatleastthreeto¢vephonecallswithoutgivingup.Researchwasconductedwitha
sales force.Womenweremore successfulthanthemeninthis studybecausetheymade

more callsthanthemen, andmanyofthedecisionstobuytookplaceonthe ¢fth call.

Oftenwetakeitpersonally whenpeopledo notcallusback. Realistically, theyare busy,

notignoring us!

Ifthe personstilldoesnot returnyourcall,youcouldsendthemanemailwith some
informationandwait for themtocontact you.

Callbackevery threeto¢vedays.Onaveragepeoplereturnthe call, iftheyaregoingto,
withintwotothreedays.

Theidealuse ofthetelephonein marketingyourbusiness wouldbetomaketheinitial
call, sendinformation,andthencallagainafter theinformation hasbeenreceivedand

enoughtimehaspassedfor therecipienttohavereadit.

Preparingforatelephonecall

As with most work, time spent in preparing and planning can save time when we are

actually making calls. Following is a pre-call planning exercise to help you prepare for

making contact on the phone.

Exercise 6.6

Preparingforatelephone call

Create a mental picture of the person you are contacting and what you both want to

accomplish as a result of this phone call.

What do you know about this contact, his/her company and background?

What is your objective in calling?

What questions are you going to ask?

How did you obtain the name of this contact?

Do you understand every conceivable aspect of your background that might be

relevant?

What specific questions may this contact ask you, based on your knowledge of him/

her?

How can you make sure your voice is pleasant and upbeat?

What were your insights from thinking about the call in this way?

As a result, how will you approach the call differently?

Coaching point

The more you plan, the more prepared and professional you will appear, and the greater the

chance of buildingyourbusiness.

Case study:Julia

Julia created her 30-second commercial and tried it out by calling friends and leaving

messages with them to obtain feedback on her voice tone, how sincere she sounded and

how clear her message was. She initially sent out an email targeted towards start-up

companies and then she followed this up by making her first 40 telephone calls. She has

been allocating two mornings a week for her telephone marketing efforts. She is using her

Palm Pilot to track whom she calls and the responses she is obtaining. She managed to

speak to five people directly from those calls, the rest she left a comprehensive message

with. Of those five people she managed to talk to directly, every call had a positive outcome.

She received four more names of people who might be interested in her services, and she

scheduled two meetings. One meeting was with a venture capitalist, who might be able to

sub-contract work to her. The other was with a small start-up that might require an HR

assessment. Even with the messages she left, she received call-backs from over 40% of the

individuals she had called. She sent the two people who gave her names a thank you email.

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Managingthetelephoneinteraction

Let’s look at the steps in the telephone interaction in a variety of situations for the people

from our case studies: when the person is there and it is a good time, when it is not a good

time and when there is a voicemail.

Foul!

Itcanbetemptingwhenyougetthepersonyouactuallywanttotalktoonthephone,tojumpin

immediately withyourpitch. Don’t!

Alwaysask‘Isthisagoodtime?’ Youbuy yourself‘Brownie points’andcreatecredibilitybyso

doing.Thereisnothingworsethanpicking upaphoneandbeingonthereceivingendofadata

dump!

As you can see, the first step involves being clear about your expectation for the call, plus

being prepared will help you sound confident and organized, which in turn will help to

make your contacts feel comfortable helping you.

Person is there and it is a good time: Frank

Step in the call

Person is there: good time

1. Identify purpose for call: To generate a meeting

2. Short introduction

Hello: This is...We met at the recent Help Desk

Institute meeting and you suggested I call you about

process reengineering (personal information).

3. Ask for permission

Is this a good time?

4. Introduce purpose and story I have a Masters Degree in Quality Engineering

(30 seconds, two minutes (Educational).

maximum!)

I have spent the last 20 years both in the field and at

corporate headquarters managing and directing

technical support operations, working for such

organizations as Amdahl, Oracle and IBM. The specific

expertise that I bring is that I combine both strategy and

process improvement experience, with a practical

implementation focus (business background).

The reason I am calling today is because we discussed the

process-reengineering project you are undertaking and

thought I might be able to help (bridge/transition).

5. Transition into questions What was the driving force behind your process

engineering?

How far are you into the

process?

What are the results so far?

What is working? Etc.

6. Listen to answers

Make notes as required to act as the basis for more

questions. When there is a two-way discussion lasting

approximately three to four minutes, transition.

7. Transition

It seems like we might have a fit, in terms of your needs

and the services I could provide.

8. Date for a meeting

I will be in your area on.... Is there any time that day

that would work for you?

If Frank were calling to try to build his network and/or find advice his bridge would be:

‘If you were in my situation, who would you talk to? What would you do? Who else might

have ideas?’

Person is there and it is not a good time: Joe

Step in the call

Person is there: not a good time

1. Identify purpose for call: To ask for advice/information

2. Short introduction with

Hello. This is...We worked together at Sun, when you

purpose

were the VP Marketing and I was the Product Manager

for...product. I was calling to see if you could give me

any advice as I am setting up my consulting business

(personal information).

3. Ask for permission

Is this a good time?

4. Not a good time

When would you like me to try again?

5. Confirm time

So I will call you back at...

6. Finish call

Thank you and I will look forward to catching up

personally then.

7. Call back when promised If there: continue with purpose, story, questions and

summary.

If the person is not there, they now have an informal

obligation to call you back because you made an

appointment and they broke it.

8. Call back three days later if

don’t hear and start again.

126 / Be a Successful Consultant

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Person is not there and you get voicemail: Marie

Step in the call

Person is not there: voicemail

1. Identify purpose for call: to obtain names

2. Short introduction

Hello. This is...Linda suggested I call you regarding

sales training for your organization.

3. Introduce purpose and story I have a Masters Degree in Organizational

(30 seconds – two minutes Development (educational).

maximum!)

I recently left...organization where I was responsible

for rolling out sales training to over 5,000 associates in a

three month period resulting in a 17% increase in

comparative store sales (business background).

The reason I am calling today is because Linda suggested

that you might need help in training associates at your

stores (bridge/transition).

4. Transition into call back I would be very interested in talking to you about your

current sales training process, to discover in what areas I

might be able to help you.

5. Give availability

I will be available tomorrow and Friday.

6. Restate contact information Again, my name is...And my phone number is...I look

forward to talking personally to you soon.

Coaching point

Besuretosendathankyounoteifthepersonhasgivenyougood,usefuladviceorifhe/shehas

givenyoualead.Youwanttobe comfortablecallingagainifnecessary.

Exercise 6.7 Evaluatingyour telephonee¡ectiveness

Complete ten to 20 calls to your network and then answer the following questions to assess

your effectiveness on the phone.

Yes No
& & Were you talking less than 50% of the time in any discussions?
& & Were you 100% focused on the other person during the conversations?
& & Were you trying to put yourself in the customer’s shoes?
& & Did you ask questions? Both open and closed?

& & Did you let the customer finish what they were saying without interrupting?
& & Did you react to the ideas they provided? By repeating or verifying?
& & Did you take notes?
& & Did you review the notes after the discussion?
& & Did you send any follow-up notes/emails?
& & Did you make sure the exchange was two-way?

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than six questions, you are well on the way to building

your business by using the telephone effectively. If you answered more than six

questions with ‘no’ you may want to brainstorm ideas to improve the flow of

conversation.

What can you do to improve your telephone effectiveness?

Coaching point

Theaveragepauseonthephoneisbetweentwoandtenseconds.Managingthesilenceonthe

phone is often the greatest challenge.We may tend to talk and ¢ll the gap when we would

gather moreinformation and build better rapport if we were to allow pausing. So, ifin doubt,

be quiet!

As you can see, managing the telephone interaction is critical to optimizing your business

success. However many people feel uncomfortable about contacting others for information

or for ideas. By being clear about your purpose and examining reasons for your

reluctance, you can overcome this obstacle.

Justdoit!!

Courtesyof Nike

128 / Be a Successful Consultant

Selling your Service / 129

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