Yesterday I received a telephone call from a salesperson. The voice on the other end was polite and friendly, and said “Hi, I’m Sarah from LMN Recycling. How are you this morning?” I answered politely that I was fine, and Sarah asked, “Do you know what we do?” My response was “I imagine that you deal with recycling, possibly electronics, computers, hardware and phones, correct?” I could hear her smile through the phone as she said, “that’s right. I was wondering if you would be at all interested in our services?” I replied “no,” and with the same smiling voice she wished my goodbye and hung up the phone.
I held the phone in my hands for a few moments, staring blankly at the receiver. It was obvious that the salesperson had not been provided with the correct tools to be effective on the telephone. It amazed me how many thousands of dollars are wasted by companies every year because of poor education or training. I felt sorry for her, wondering how she had been so badly trained. It must have been hard to make a living selling the way she was.
Ideally, the call should have gone like this. “Good morning, my name is Sarah Jones with LMN recycling. I know you weren’t expecting my call this morning, is this a convenient time to talk? We have created a unique process that eliminates the hassles of disposing of your unnecessary computer hardware or electronics. How often do you dispose your excess hardware?”
The question at the end is something called an open-ended question. Sarah is making the assumption that everyone has excess hardware, computers, or the like, and they all need some disposal method. An open-ended question makes it harder for the prospect to end the conversation.
Now, please be careful; not all closed questions are bad. However, in most cases it is best to be invited into a conversation. Try and pique the interest of your prospect. After all, you are trying to sell them exactly what they need.