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Top 8 Ways to Engage People on the Phone

Producers know how difficult it is to reach decision-makers when making cold calls. So when you actually connect with the right people, you need to make the most of that opportunity.
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Producers know how difficult it is to reach decision-makers when making cold calls. So when you actually connect with the right people, you need to make the most of that opportunity.

Here are some strategies for engaging people over the phone so you can make certain they want to hear what you have to say.

  • Watch your tone. When it comes to getting people to listen to you, how you sound counts much more than what you say. A strong (not loud), confident tone engenders trust and interest. An uncertain, hesitant voice does not.
  • Don’t rush it. While busy people don’t have patience for meandering explanations about why you’re calling, fast talk can come off as insincere. Speaking too quickly also signals anxiety and discomfort—emotions you certainly don’t want to project to a potential client. Worse still, not everyone will understand your words when you speak too rapidly.  
  • Be prepared. A lot of prospecting time is spent just trying to connect with the right people. So when they finally pick up, you’ve got to be ready. Prepare a clearly defined value proposition or benefit statement and deliver it succinctly so people are clear about why you’re calling—and what’s in it for them.
  • Concentrate on their business and their problem—not your solution. Once people know what your call is about, focus on their attitudes about meeting with you or hiring you to replace their current agent. On the initial call, you only have a few brief moments to determine if a prospect is viable. Use questions that are clear and precise.
  • Find your footing before you dig for their pain. As the sales process unfolds, you aim to uncover some meaningful dissatisfaction with the status quo that you and your agency can solve. As you engage further, you want the prospect to feel the depth of the problem and all its implications for their company—eventually. Initially, you only want to find the right ground to stand on while you investigate further.
  • Be genuine. If your words, tone, tempo and attitude aren’t congruous, you lose credibility—big time. If your words are focused on how you can help but your mind is focused on closing the deal, others will pick up on the disconnect. Drop any thoughts that aren’t directly related to what you’re saying and don’t be afraid to tell people how you really feel.
  • Meet people on their level. Before they picked up your call, prospects are doing and thinking something quite unrelated. Before you can get them interested in what you can do for them, you need to be in sync with their state of mind. That’s called attunement.
  • Be inquisitive. Let your genuine curiosity about prospects’ needs, challenges and attitudes carry you forward in the conversation. Keep asking questions. By training and practicing with both open-ended and closed questions, you’ll develop a fluid and effective prospecting style.

Joe Arak is president of Professional Marketing Associates, which has been providing lead generation and other marketing services for producers and independent agencies throughout the country for more than 25 years.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Agency Operations & Best Practices