Potential clients give you 30 seconds before they make a decision. They’ll either ask questions, or look for opportunities to end the conversation. Consider the fact that business owners receive countless unsolicited calls each day, and you’ve got an uphill battle. Your survival depends on standing above the rest and making use of your 30 seconds. Unfortunately every salesperson claims the “Best Product” or the “Best Price.”

Prepare Before Each Call

If you are going to call someone out of the blue its important to be professional, and on topic. Research your target, find out if they are hiring, how big the company is, and what their philosophy is. Its amazing how much information you can gather using tools like Linkedin, jigsaw, and Google. You should have a basic understanding of each company before you pick up the receiver. Quality is far more important then Quantity. Take notes of your research and have them handy during your telephone call. Also have main points of conversation written out, it keeps you on track.

Develop a Professional Greeting

Its important to distance yourself from the typical sales call “Hello, are you interested in my product.” Set the tone of the conversation with a professional greeting. This is not the time to sell your product, you have no idea if they need or want it. Start with something simple like: “Hello, I’m Rupert and I’m calling to introduce myself, and my company.” Keep conversation light, and simple. Make it an enjoyable conversation, show them you’re interested in them, and connecting. “We’ve had huge growth in your area and I wanted to connect and say hello.”

State Your Purpose

Respect your prospects time, don’t spend 10 minutes on pleasantries. Its important to lay a foundation of rapport before discussing your product but be mindful of time spent. Within 30 seconds they should have a clear understanding of your product. Without going into full details provide an overview of your products features and benefits. Touch on 3 main points maximum, give opportunities for questions to arise, this involves them in the conversation and confirms interest. You can even joke with them saying “I know you must receive countless calls, and I understand my product is not for everyone. This call is about discovering if I can help your business.”

Take Time and Thank Them

Its so important to thank people for their time. If you’ve got a low margin, low cost item a simple “Thank you for your time” will suffice. If you’ve got a large product that costs thousands of dollars I would recommend stepping up with a hand written note sent to them. This is a great opportunity to stand apart from the rest of the competition. How many times do you receive hand written notes from companies looking to do business with you? Take 5 minutes and make an impression. If sending mail is not within your budget, use Social Media. Is the prospect on Twitter? Publicly thank them.

Ask for Follow Up

You should always leave each meeting or telephone call with follow up. This creates movement for the sales cycle. When you contact someone you should follow up with an email for contact information if they seem un-interested, or a future telephone call if interest is present. Avoid a standard follow up and customize for each client. If they showed concerns with value, provide case studies, if they were concerned with quality, provide client testimonials. Tailor the follow up experience for a smooth sales process. Remember, if you don’t schedule a follow up, you’re not building rapport.

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Remember people hate being sold, but love buying. Empower the potential client and move the deal forward.