October 24, 2014

How to Kick A$$ on the Cold Call

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gloved hand holding cell phone, snow covered mountains in background
Beat the tire kickers

Cold weather has a way of bringing to mind heating bills. Heating bills summon thoughts of money—or lack thereof. Lack of money leads one to think about bookings. And thoughts of bookings inevitably leads to ruminations about how much time is wasted on tire-kickers

And that’s where this post comes in, sales advice you can believe in.

How to best handle an incoming call from a potential client who’s just kicking tires without feeling the pressure to drop your price?

What follows is an example, some helpful role-playing from DJ Sal.

(DJ Sal: “One of the first things I ask for when a cold-call comes in is the date of their function.”)

Phone rings…

DJ: Hello, this is Dance Now DJs, Sal speaking. How can I help you?

Caller: Hi, I was calling for your rates.

DJ: Great. What’s your name?

Caller: Elaine.

DJ:
Great. What date are you looking at?

Caller: Well, I’m looking at September 12.

DJ:
Great. Let me check and see if we have availability. (DJ Sal: “In their mind, they now have to wait. I might already know that that date is available, but I’m always going to say, ‘Let me check the availability of that date.’ This serves two purposes: Now they’re thinking, maybe only subconsciously, ‘I hope they have an opening.’ But it also gives me the time to ask the question, ‘How did you hear about us?’ That’s a very important question, because that’s how I’ll find out if I did her sister’s wedding, or did the resort refer me, or the Yellow Pages.)’”

DJ: OK, looks like we do have that date available. Tell me, what time frame are you looking at? (DJ Sal: “Why is it important to find out about the time? If it’s daytime at the resort on the lawn, or nighttime in their backyard, that information will provide valuable clues into what the person is looking for and that will help you sell to them because you’ll have a better idea of what their needs are.”)

Caller: Noon until four.

DJ:
Great. What type of event is it? (DJ Sal: “You don’t want to be asking what kind of music they’re looking for while you should be asking questions about how they heard about you and when their event is. I’m not serving the customer very well by not finding out their information. After we find out the date, then you get a phone number.”)

Caller: It’s a wedding.

DJ: Great. Have you selected a location? (DJ Sal: “If you’ve been in the business for a while in your town, you’ll know all the locations. Offer them positive reassurance about their selection of a location.”)

Caller:
So-and-so location.

DJ: Great. That’s a great facility. Are you working with Don there, or Emily? (DJ Sal: “If you haven’t been to a certain location, before you do a gig there you should visit and introduce yourself. Now you’ve got all this information and you still haven’t given them the price, and they’re answering all these questions just as natural as can be. Remember, all the time you’re talking, you’re offering positive reassurance: wonderful, great, sure. What you’re really offering the client is confidence. Confidence in your experience, confidence in your ability to provide them with the best product they’re going to find. That great big wall that was there when they first called has now been broken down. They feel comfortable now. Then they’ll care enough to ask me the questions about what they need at their wedding.)

DJ: What kind of DJ are you looking for? What style of DJ?

Caller:
I don’t want The Chicken Dance or The Macarena…

DJ:
That’s fine. We customize packages to suit our clients’ wishes. Would you like me to put a tentative hold on that date? (DJ Sal: “One of the biggest thrills for me is when I get a tough client on the phone, and they’re trying to nail me against the wall on price. At the end of the conversation they’re laughing, they’re joking, and they’re telling me about their kids and telling me all this stuff, where usually, they’ll ask for price and then get off the phone. That’s probably the biggest obstacle that we have to overcome – they’re just shopping. But I do think that 80-percent of the time, you can keep these people on the phone for 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, and that leaves you more than enough time to find out what their needs are and tailor your responses accordingly. Then you can close the sale at the end of the conversation, or at least book an appointment.”)

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