Estimated reading time: 2 mins
Have you noticed that when your organization announces something in the press that you begin to receive an unusual number of calls offering consultation and other services? Your company may have just announced a new product launch, division, lay-offs or a serious accountancy error.
It can be a pain in the ass, quite frankly. But remember, these guys are trying to earn a living and meet their quotas. And sometimes, you’ll become aware of an organization, product or service that you just hadn’t considered until then.
The thing is though that a lot of these guys are prospecting and call without doing any serious research, which can be irritating. The question is, do you bat them away mid-sentence whilst they babble their sales patter, or do you listen and help them direct their pitch to something that might be a mutually beneficial outcome?
Sort the wheat from the chaff as quickly as you can… and don’t give everyone your time or else you’ll be overwhelmed by it.
Well there isn’t a straightforward approach to this, but I can share with you what I’ve done before. To filter out the prospectors from the serious, I ask a few questions. The pattern of these questions is typically:
- Can you tell me why you’re calling me at this particular time?
- What can you tell me about my organization’s current situation?
- What do you think the outcome of this situation will be?
- How specifically does your service/product help my organization through this situation?
This line of question would normally take 5-10 minutes if it goes all the way through. I use it as it tests the caller’s depth of knowledge in both my organization’s situation, and the caller’s understanding of how their product/service can be applied to it, in that order. If they don’t know why they’re calling (other than to broadcast a message), I end the call then. I want them to show me they understand the problem before talking about the solution. Those that pass the test will tend to be quality callers who may have something to bring to the table.