All too often, TSRs fail to truly recognize that maintaining the direction of the telephone call is the most important fundamental of them all! Obviously, there are a variety of reasons why maintaining the direction of the telephone call is so fundamental to telephone sales.
1. Customers are going to attempt to take the telephone presentation all over the place. There will never be a period in a telephone call when a customer isn’t going to be dodging questions in order to ask his own, or asking questions the TSR is completely unprepared to answer. Customers tend not to know where they want to go with the conversation, and this, of course, can be very dangerous. If customers knew where they wanted to go, then a simple focus of the call between customer and TSR would be established. They don’t.
Customers are like drunk drivers, swerving their comments and thoughts and answers and decisions all over the place. The reason why it is so scary being on the road with a drunk driver is not that the driver is drunk but that he can’t stay in his own lane, he doesn’t obey the laws, he is indecisive and incoherent, he ignores traffic lights and signs, and he doesn’t really have any feelings or sympathy for anybody else on the road. In that same respect customers are scary and a hazard to TSRs.
2. Customers will always try to take control of the presentation, and this means that the TSR will always find it challenging to accomplish anything. Do TSRs have a tendency to relinquish control of a call when the customer takes control? Yes, because customers who attempt to take control of presentations are far more confident than TSRs who try to take it back. Customers take control by asking questions, making statements and appearing to be decisive about their decisions. On the face of it, this would appear to be positive, because with such consistency by customers, one would think the TSR would know exactly what is going on. Yet, there is little advantage in this situation for the TSR, because the minute a TSR gives up control, the TSR will never be able to recapture control.
For example, if the TSR wants to sell a certain aspect of children’s books (i.e. low prices), and the customer continues to question the TSR about the quality of the stories, the TSR will never be able to sell the aspect of the children’s books that he wants to sell, because the customer won’t let him. Who has control? The customer.
3. Maintaining direction of the presentation not only increases the percentages that a sale will be completed, but it also allows the TSR to do his very best in meeting the primary objectives of his telephone call. There is nothing more frustrating than making a telephone call to a qualified prospect and not having the opportunity to walk away from the call with a completed sale, or completed objectives. Why talk on the telephone if the telephone sales representative doesn’t have any control over the call? Objectives are why TSRs call customers.