Ensure you have a clear objective for the phone call, which in this instance is likely to be agreeing and confirming a time and date for a face to face meeting.
Prepare thoroughly for the phone call, just as you would for a face to face meeting:
- Research the person you’re speaking to, look at their experience, previous companies/roles etc. as well as their interests – try and find a touch point which helps to build trust and confidence
- Research the company and their recent/current marketing activity
- Look at their competitors and see what they’ve been up to
- Identify the key issues and challenges that their market sector is experiencing so that you have opinions and observations to share
- Walk a mile in the prospect’s shoes:
a. Consider why they might want to work with you – this ensures you highlight and focus on those relevant elements of your proposition, skill set and case studies
b. Consider why they may NOT want to work with you (lack of experience in their marketplace, size, location etc.). This enables you to pre-empt any potential objections and consider how you’re going to deal with them during the meeting (NOT afterwards, it’s too late!)
- Prepare a list of everything you need to gain from the phone call and then think of how best to ask those questions.
- Always remember to qualify those tricky questions, for example, ‘Would you mind telling me your budget for this project, as that will help me come up with a proposed solution within your budget’
Set the scene at the beginning of the phone call – this should include the following:
- Lay out a clear, well signposted agenda for the phone call and ask if they would like to cover anything else
- Ask how long they’ve got for the call
- Explain that the main reason for the call is to understand their specific priorities, challenges, objective to see if you can help solve these
- Explain that you’re going to send them RELEVANT work/case studies following the conversation about their objectives/challenges
- Also state that you would really like to meet them face to face following the call so you can show them how you can help them solve their problems
Summarise your understanding of the call before agreeing next steps – this ensures that you have heard AND interpreted everything correctly. It’s also an opportunity for them to add something into the mix they may have forgotten.
Close on agreement to the next stage, which in this instance should be a face to face meeting, or at the very least, an agreement to another call.