Here’s the Script for Successful Restroom Sales Calls

Here’s the Script for Successful Restroom Sales Calls

Kate Zabriskie

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Hi , this is Ahmad calling from Acme Industries. How are you today?”

“Well, Ahmad, I was a lot happier before you called and interrupted me. I’m behind with my project, and I’m too busy to leave my desk. Don’t call me again.”

The truth hurts, but it’s honest. Ahmad blew it. He had an opportunity to win the ear of the person on the other end of the line, but he squandered it by asking a silly question. 

Clueless, Ahmad probably won’t get another chance to engage that target. As anyone in the business-to-business sales industry will tell you, stepping off on the right foot can mean the difference between clicking and a terminal “click.”

Is there hope for Ahmad and the legions of desperate dialers like him? Of course there is. By paying careful attention to three basic things — preparation, practice and patience — almost anyone can improve their business-to-business calls.   

PREPARE FOR THE SALES CALL

Are you cold-calling people to sell portable sanitation services and simply hoping for the best? Or do you invest an adequate amount of time and effort into homework? First, do you know what you offer, and can you use fewer than 20 words of conversational English to explain your service? If not, don’t make the call.

Second, have you researched the people you plan to call? This doesn’t mean full-throttle cyberstalking, but at a minimum, you need to look for them in the usual places: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Search for people by name and company, by name only, and by email address. Together, those three inquiries will yield more complete results than any single query. Searching that way can also reveal personal information you otherwise might have missed that could be useful later. 

For example, maybe the email address search links you to an interest of your prospect, say a story about his involvement in a local youth sports. Now, you know something you might be able to weave into a conversation at some point in the future. A quick word of caution: If you discover information beyond what you see on LinkedIn, whatever you do, don’t admit to the depth of your research unless you want to sound creepy. “I saw on Facebook that you and your family had a great time at the Outer Banks last summer.” This comes off as extremely invasive.

In addition to research about the people you are calling, you should also know something about the company they work for. At least look at the organization’s website. You should also run a quick search for news mentions. 

If you fail to tend to those basics, don’t be surprised if you get caught and have your lack of knowledge held against you. Given the ubiquity of information in the age of the internet, there is no excuse for not knowing the fundamentals about the organizations you call and the people who work there. Period.

The third step in the preparation process is choosing a reason to call. The more specific it is, the more likely you are to get a thoughtful response. As a restroom provider, you likely call regularly on small construction company owners and special event organizers. Here are examples of how you may tailor your telephone sales pitch to get better results:

“Good morning. This is Jane Jones with ABC Portable Restrooms. I’m calling because I’m verifying a mailing list for a promotion we’re running next month. Could you tell me if you’re the most appropriate person to receive information about our special on units for construction sites and if you prefer email notification or a hard copy?”

“Good morning. This is Jane Jones with ABC Portable Restrooms. I’m calling because we rent restroom trailers for event service and weddings. I came across your profile on LinkedIn while I was working on something else, and you look like you may need our services at some point. I wanted to call to see if we could serve as a resource for you. Could you tell me how you are currently choosing your portable sanitation provider?”

Either of those is sure better than saying, “Good morning. This is Jane Jones with ABC Portable Restrooms. How are you today?” 

PRACTICE

Just as a skilled skater makes jumping, twirling and other acrobatics look as effortless as breathing, smooth phone selling requires athlete-level discipline. What you say should roll off your tongue and sound natural. A perfect conversation starter will often sound stilted if it’s not practiced. Be prepared to work hard to sound unrehearsed.

Where do you find the time? How about in the shower, while you’re behind the wheel of the service truck, or by doing some role-playing with others in the office? Role-playing can be painful and unpleasant, but as the saying goes, no pain, no gain. As uncomfortable as they may be, these exercises are one of the fastest ways to learn.

PATIENCE

You follow the preparation and practice instructions to the letter, and your first two calls are a bust. What happened? Maybe you’ve just been unlucky. Not everyone is going to want to talk to you, and that’s their loss. If you have a good reason to call and you offer service that might solve a prospect’s business problem, hold your head up and press on. Keep dialing, improving, and learning from what works and what doesn’t, and do it with a smile and a good attitude. 

Lack of patience will get you no place you want to be. Regularly practice and critique your performance, and you will get better. If improvement is not happening fast enough for you, enlist someone you trust to listen in on your calls. His or her comments may sting, but too bad. In the long run, you’ll be glad you got the help.

 There’s no secret sauce in the recipe for better business-to-business calls, just elbow grease. With better preparation, practice and patience, everyone can improve their results one call at a time. ν

Kate Zabriskie is president of Business Training Works Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. Reach her at www.businesstrainingworks.com.



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