B2B telemarketing companies love open questions, in fact, they are the single most important tool in our armoury. This is because, for a telemarketing call to be successful, we need to get people talking to us about what’s important to them and their business. The faster we can get someone talking, the easier it is to build rapport and begin laying the foundations for a business relationship. Of course, decision makers are busy, so getting them to sit down and talk isn’t always easy.
We’ve tried out lots of different ways of getting telemarketing calls off of the ground and like most good B2B telemarketing companies we find the best method is the open question. Simple but effective – this tried and tested technique has been helping the Blue Donkey team to achieve outstanding results year after year.
What makes an open question?
An open question is a question that can’t be answered with a simple, single word, such as yes or no. B2B telemarketing companies need to get people talking, dial after dial, as compellingly as possible. Asking questions that engage and capture a buyer’s imagination will get them contributing to a conversation quickly and attentively. Usually starting with words such as what, when, how, where or why, an open question is one that gets people thinking and draws them into a dialog. For example, a question beginning ‘how do you achieve…’ takes focus and concentration, so you’re likely to get some useful detail in the answer. Once you’ve got them talking, you can direct the dialogue, begin to introduce your business and get your relationship underway.
Open questions increase our likability
We all want to be liked. Engaging a complete stranger on the phone is never an easy thing to achieve. Coupled with the fact that at B2B telemarketing companies, we know the people we’re calling are NOT interested. How do we know that? Well, we’re calling them, and they’re not calling us.
Asking open questions, that engage and get people talking is a human skill that’s as useful in life as it is in business. By showing genuine interest and learning to listen attentively to others helps us build more enduring relationships, and helps us find meaning in our work (as in life). New research from a team of Harvard psychological scientists suggests that asking more questions and in particular, asking more follow-up questions —increases people’s positive impressions.
Open questions Do’s and Don’ts
B2B telemarketing companies invariably use open questions to gently probe decision makers about specific challenges their business faces. These are always in relation to the product or solution they are calling about. Here’s what we think.
Do keep your questions simple and focus on one thing at a time. Don’t try and double-barrel your questions so you’re asking about lots of things at once, as the decision maker will generally answer the last one only. Do be clear about what you’re asking if you’re not clear how can someone else be expected to understand? Don’t use the same question over and over again, like anything you’re repeating endlessly, it will eventually sound robotic. Do listen to the answer, most of us find listening hardest when we’re nervous. Finally, don’t ask someone you don’t know how they are today (nuff said).
Use open questions to gain insight
As well as helping B2B telemarketing companies get the decision maker talking, open questions are used to gain insight and build a mosaic about each organisation we call. This helps by both opening up new potential opportunities, and as a means of powering up our client databases, so that over time they can become a valuable business asset in their own right. Not only does a good database provide sales, it will also become an ‘intangible asset’ in company valuations if overtime open questions are used regularly to keep building insight and intelligence about prospect companies.
A bit of research before you pick up the phone, or as you’re dialling can help you identify questions that could lead to something more. A few moments looking at a website could arm you with a better understanding of who they are and what they do so you can ask the right questions when you’re speaking.
Don’t ask if you can ask!
Finally, B2B telemarketing companies probably spend as much time weeding out bad habits as they do teaching good ones. One of our pet peeves is the temptation to ask if you can ask. It serves no purpose other than to make a question longer and more cumbersome. Listen carefully and you’ll hear someone doing it in your office today. It’s when a question is preceded by the words ‘And can I just ask’.
Open questions are a vital and powerful telemarketing tool. To learn more about how B2B telemarketing companies craft telemarketing techniques, or to find out more about what we can do to help you, contact a member of the Blue Donkey team today.