Future 50: Effective sales calls can increase the chances of securing business

Laura Morrison speaking at the Business Womens Network, Ickworth Hotel, Suffolk

Laura Morrison speaking at the Business Womens Network, Ickworth Hotel, Suffolk - Credit: Archant

Despite the growing resistance to cold calling, using the phone to make a sales call can still be effective if done intelligently and used as part of a marketing strategy that incorporates multiple communication channels.

So says Laura Morrison, managing director of EDP/EADT Future50 business Your Telemarketing, which offers an outsourced telemarketing service to companies, as well as training courses and workshops for individuals who want to sharpen their phone skills to enable them to close deals and secure business.

“According to the National Sales Executive Association, 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact with a customer,” she said.

“This means you are missing a massive opportunity if you don’t have multiple communications - made up of a mix of e-mail marketing, direct mail, phone calls, advertising and PR.”

Laura says statistics show that only around 10% of sales e-mails ever get opened while only a lowly 2% of recipients click through to relevant information. Frustratingly for marketeers, the efficacy of direct mail is even lower with only one in a hundred people bothering to open it and read the information.

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But follow-up these initial approaches with a phone call and response rates can be improved by between 20% and 50%.

Laura, whose company is based in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, says people from a wide variety of backgrounds attend her courses including many entrepreneurs and sole traders, such as web designers and accountants, who want to hone their phone manner.

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She says people are just as likely to use these new-found skills to improve rapport with established contacts as they are to approach new prospects out of the blue.

So what are some of the golden rules to successful telemarketing?

Laura continued: “Tip number one is make a plan before you call, so you have a strategy around what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.

Start with a short introduction and ask open questions so you can engage with the other person.” Additional advice includes listening clearly to what people are saying and avoiding distractions. Invest in a headset if that helps you focus better.

“And always smile when you are making a call, as that will make sure you come across well,” added Laura.

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