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After participating in one of my recent webinars a sales manager asked me a great question. He said “Why even ask the "green light" question? Doesn't that just give them an easy excuse to hang up.” He was pointing at what he considers a flaw in one of my steps to the outbound call. I had just explained in the webinar that after you have greeted the person on the other end of the call and verified to who you are speaking you should ask them if you are calling at a “Bad Time”. In other words get a Green Light to continue with the call.
There are a several solid, proven points that back up what I describe in the 3rd step of the outbound call. First of all, people are barraged by marketing calls daily and the professional phone rooms can sometimes be persistent and rude. If you show the customer some manners and politely inquire as to their availability you can earn valuable rapport with them. “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
Second, I suggest you use the phrase “bad time” rather than ‘Good Time” for the simple fact that although it may not often be a “Good Time” to be calling it is seldom truly a “bad time” and therefore you will stand a better chance of getting that vital permission to continue. I’ve always said that “a sale is all about the numbers”. The more opportunities you get the more sales you will receive. As infrequent as it is to get someone to pick up the phone you need to maximize every opportunity with persistence and proven techniques. “Bad Time” works better than “Good Time”. It is that simple.
I could go on and on with several more additional solid reasons but I’ll end with the best. Asking if this is a bad time is often the set up question designed to get the customer to actually actively participate in the communication. If they say it’s a bad time it may just be a smoke screen because they just don’t care to talk to you. If they don’t want to talk to you they will not likely be an active participant in the call. So when they tell me it’s a bad time I respond by asking them “What I have to say is IMPORTANT, but not URGENT…when is a BETTER TIME to get back to you…later today or tomorrow?” When you say this line the customer will often let you “go ahead” with the call right now because they know you will continue to call them. They may as well talk to you now.
From making and listening to thousands of calls, and through trial and error we have wordsmithed our word tracks and techniques to achieve the best results. I always encourage people to learn the word tracks through practice, role play and repetition. Once they have learned the words, then they should feel free to put their fingerprint on them to make the words their own. However, the closer you stick to the proven techniques the more successful your calls will be at creating solid appointments that show up.
I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.
Director of Training