Phoning new prospective clients

Phoning new prospective clients daily is probably the most important daily activity of any salesman. If the thought of phoning new clients at random puts you off then starting your own web design agency or working as a salesperson for a web design company is probably not your calling or the best career choice for you.

Firstly let me clarify random calling: We do not pick up the phonebook or the yellow pages and start from A and then follow trough to B. No! By spending a bit of time firstly identifying people who are in business, are actively marketing (be it on Facebook or in the print media) but yet to create a website one will have a higher conversion ration. That is the number of people you phone in total versus the number of people being interested in a website now or agreeing to receive more information and future communication regarding getting online via their own website.

Today I spent the best part of my day calling strangers with the aim of getting 20 people to say yes to receive more information about our web design services. At 17:10 while blogging about this exercise I am considering pushing it a bit further until I have achieved my set target. But perhaps I will rather try again tomorrow. (The only reason I am blogging now and not searching for new leads is because I am waiting for my phone to charge seeing I use it as my primary modem for internet connection.)

Because we are busy with the development of a call centre to increase our web design business we thought it good to start of with developing a script for our telesales employees. The best place to start is to do it yourself so you get a feel for the market and hear what the objections are which is why we decided today to put in some decent hours doing cold calling ourselves. We took an advertising brochure of a small neighboring town and looked at the contact details of the businesses advertising. When we see people using a free email address such as G-Mail, Hotmail or Yahoo and no mention of a domain then we would call. ALSO each and every time someone do advertise  a domain linked email address we would check and see if an actual website has been built for the registered domain.

When doing cold calling you are on a mission. That mission is to close a deal. Sales have and always will be a numbers game. You need to do the numbers to close the deals. That is as simple as it is. Whether you are selling insurance or selling web design services the principle remains the same so … get busy calling.

When selling a product it helps believing in the product which you are selling. People do pick up in the tone of your voice or in your body language when you are uncertain or when you yourself do not believe 100% in the product you are selling.

Fortunately for us the number 1 value proposition of our product is the affordability which in today’s economic recession is a big seller. The product which we sell simply has no other comparative product available in the market.

We sell a complete, user friendly, unlimited pages website starting from R2, 500. One of the few objections I received today was that we are a small business or no not now. It was easy to respond with either: “websites nowadays are not that expensive” or “we do allow for clients to pay the initial fee over 12 months”.

Before emailing each person who indicated that they are willing to receive more information I customized our standard introductory email to suit the specific prospective clients email. While this might be a little more time consuming one has to listen carefully to identify specific needs or objections which prospective clients might have and then to slightly adjust your standard product offering and introductory email. Remember Selling is not telling but listening!

For some people affordability is the key while for others it might be SEO or having someone who manage the updates of the website.

Each person who indicated that they would like to receive more information was firstly added to the mailing list before receiving a customized email – the standard introductory email customized to suit the client’s specific needs or industry. We do a monthly newsletter and find very often that someone will contact us years after we first contacted them regarding getting a website for a business. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, which is turning out into a prolonged boring lecture, sales is a numbers game. We like to see a wide as possible sales funnel in our business. That’s the only way to run a business in a competitive industry like web design. Like we all cherish the hot leads, the immediate yes we do have to sometimes be patient and trust on our great introductory email and the monthly repeat message.

When reading the about us of our website you will see our value proposition, that which sets us apart from other web design companies. I have also repeated that in our standard introductory email. For people doing cold calling on behalf of us it is important that they understand our competitive advantage. Affordability which, as mentioned above, is our main competitive advantage makes it easy to put forward the business case in a short as possible period as possible.

Today with mobile phones it is important to be polite and always start of the conversation with a question like: is it convenient to talk now? If it is it will lead to your first yes. They will teach you in sales training that all you need in a sales conversation is a few yes’s to close the deal or at least to get a foot in the door. I wish that I could close 16 website deals today but at least I managed to email information to 16 possible future clients.

Out of the 16 people who said yes today I guess there are 3 people who sounded a little bit more interested than the rest. Experience has told me that you better still cast out the net to all people who say yes, follow up on all but yes to zoom in on those who showed a bit more interest.

Its great that we are back in the new year and that people are doing business again. The economy of South Africa is under severe pressure and we are facing an election year so yes this year is the year to be in the web design industry because people have to market in order to survive, retain market share or to prosper.

Remember the ABC of selling: Always Be Caring! You can rest assured we sell a great product and give a great follow up / ongoing support service. Please have 100% confidence when recommending us or doing cold calling for us. We are online in the public domain, our clients are. It’s clear what we do. We have nowhere to hide.

We sell a great website management tool, offer expert advice and guidance and we walk the extra mile and all of that at an affordable price.

Keep it simple when contacting people via Facebook or doing phone calls. If they ask difficult questions be honest and say: I don’t know I will find out or I will get back to you. Having said that we do not mind spending time training our sales force to make 100% sure they understand our product and our value proposition, that which sets us apart from our competition.

While doing cold calling today our phone rang, people completed online surveys from our own websites – obviously we are super confident when phoning new clients because our system works. We offer all our active sales consultants their own website - for free - provided they have a clear business case. Even if it is for a close friend or family member- subject to proper text etc so that our sales consultants can really believe in the product which they are selling. Hows that for believing in a product!?

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