At that point when you're banging your head against the wall, what's next?
We are a call center based in Nepal, and are doing pretty well with loyal clients who have kept us occupied for the past 2 years. I am now ready to expand my business and generate more revenue. Our main action to get businesses interested in our services is through cold calling that we've run for the past 3 years. The challenge now is getting over that 'soft rejection' we often receive when we follow up or send a proposal. I'm at the point now where I'm banging my head against the wall because we need a new business development strategy. Any suggestions?
People do business with people they know, like and trust. So - one recommendation is to combing "cold calling" -- with actual face-to-face business networking. One of my coaches suggest that sales is much like dating. It's hard to make the sale on the first date (cold call). My recommendation is to first work on building a relationship with your target client. You can do this by finding them on linkedin, attending professional association meetings, speaking at live events and organizations, etc.
Hope this helps.
Assume you have a proven viable business model with decent income where your existing clients are local:
1. You asking question here already a good start - voluminous suggestions for free
2. As they are free - the value will not be very high
3. You may receive some private messages to request to be your re-seller or business partners here - which is great too!
4. You may lucky enough if you have inquiry for your service here too!
Anywhere, I find that you ask the question well and is an alternate approach to seek more sales.
If your expansion is through current services - than existing customer type(s) will probably be the best target. You may re-look your marketing to improve your marketing messages and select different kind of leads generating and converting techniques suggested here - there should have some helps.
If you look for business development strategy to expand and if the expansion going to overseas customers - than it will be very challenging. The impact is not just sales but also the entire business model.
I think you may be struggling with the step in between the first contact and the proposal. See if you can add some softer intermediate steps like a webinar or other education. It makes the cold calls more effective.
Also, it sounds like the team might need to do a better job of asking questions and determining the value the service would add to the prospect.
If your work has been good it will give results. Analyze your market and maybe you need to specialize,
You need to think differently and think out of box for the client to accept your proposal. You have to think different application for your product and pitch it differently for your customer.
Say if you cold with a free offer on routine, this one say it that we are collecting a data base for a change in industry for a particular product application and suitability for you as customer.
Let them speak out what are their concerns and then come to the solution that will project you different than all the telemarketing people.
Every thing depending on your planing and strategy, I am strongly believe that drinking water and taking bath also need planing, so I recommended you please fill Sagheer Business Plan :
(0) Market re-search………………………….why?
(1) Market re-search……………………………what?
(2) Market re-search…………………………..How?
(3) Title or name …with respect to name, with respect to business, with respect to location, with respect to era.
(4) Motto…with respect to business.
(7) Mission Statement.
(8) Vision Statement.
(9) Location……with respect to positive and negative aspects.
(11)Finance……..Fix and Running.
(12)Finance Management……with feasibility report in the form of chart.
(14)Business Flow…with the help of flow chart.
(15)Mathematical Model of Production…with cost estimation method.
(16)Promotion Strategy ……..with Probability or regression model.
(17)Risk factor…with your weak points (S (strengths) W (weaknesses) O (opportunities) T (threats) Analysis).
(18)Role of Technology.
Call Center based business are getting more challenging every day. With the unified communication platform big companies are settling their own contact center or customer service point.
In context of selling products or services over the phone is more challenging. I don't know your products and nigher do your clients; and "soft rejection" is obvious when your clients have not perceived the message properly and the need for product or the service.
The fun fact is we human always think rationally and i can tell exceptions cannot be an example. So I would love to listen more about your products and the services that you provide for your existing clients and we can build a new strategy and implementation plan to get your desired result.
If ur banging ur head on a wall then move away from it.. Cold calling is a passé.. Sales avenues have only increased in the recent years with the advent of digital..Call centres are loosing steam cause customers have better ways to reach brands and even brands are moving towards cheaper routes for customers to connect I.e chat, mail etc.. You have to bring in innovation at the delivery side to regain the interest of customers or potential customers..
As a call center, do you have a clear mission and vision statement? And if I asked you, what differentiates you from the competition? I always believe that you ask the potential client to give you their largest call center issue, no more small a revenue stream it might be...If you can solve that issue, then I believe more business will follow providing your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) stays true to your mission, vision statement and your business plan...Think benefits 1st features 2nd...
My recommendation is as follows:
This is the time to re-evaluate your sales channels. By the sounds of it, you've got one sales channel (that's your first problem). You need multiple channels working in harmony to get your message out and in the hears/hands/eyes of the people you need to attract.
2) consider outside help
I've been contracted by a few teams to come in as a fresh set of eyes on the sales/marketing situation. In all cases, it was highly advantageous and constructive. You don't have to use me (though I'd appreciate it if you did) but you should consider getting an experienced firm to come in and do a third-party assessment. They'll be able to hear your pitch from an unbiased perspective, offer suggestions on which channels to use for diversification, and bring experience and knowledge to bear that you and your team just don't have. That's not to say you don't know anything - but different people/teams know different things.
If you want a simple, one-sentence answer then it's this: you need to develop multiple sales channels and have them work in harmony with each other to amplify the success rate of each.
Are you doing this face to face? You need to ask a lot of questions to determine if there is truly a need for your product and by asking these questions make them realize they have a need and therefore are open to moving forward. If they currently have the service through another vendor, you need to make certain they can fire that person. Show hard reasons why you can do better. Once you get "in" the first step is making sure they can let go of the past.
You may want to focus on few industry verticals (finance, IT, Telecom, Marketing) and propose vertical specific expertise in case you are offering vanilla call center services.
I do not have enough information about your business. Based on what little I know your problem seems to be differentiation. It seems like, as James suggested, that you are a commodity service. Is that so? If so, change that.
You do not ever want to compete based only on price. There will always be someone in Bangaldesh or the Ukraine or etc. who will be less expensive.
So, I suggest that you rethink your business strategy and incorporate several forms of differentiation. Perhaps you can offer two types of service; each differentiated in a different way.
Cold Calling can be great, but it does have it's limits, I completely understand your frustration. I would definitely re-strategize and consider alternate marketing methods. I'm sure that I don't have to tell you, but I'll say this anyway; Social Media Marketing is incredibly important in this day and age. Before you even begin a Social Media Marketing strategy, you'll need to reach out to those satisfied customers and get referrals and testimonials. At a minimum, to build up your Social Profile, you need those testimonials and permission to publish them. Begin with LinkedIn and expand with a Facebook, Google+ and Twitter profiles.
Create content to drive traffic to your online presence by posting blogs on how a service like yours is necessary, the science behind why your service works. Circulate your content on social media, engage existing clients on social media and provide incentives such as, 10% off for the first month or two etc. Businesses love incentives, they are more likely to try something on a trial basis, and once having enjoyed the perks, they are more likely to renew a service.
Looking for a growth means to change what you are doing? We suggest our clients to reinvent the wheel and look at other options to creating a stronger pitch with clients. Since you have been in business for the last 3 years and are still making cold calls. I would assume that your clients were either not too happy or not in touch with you. You would have to start a service structure to get leads from your current clients. Make them your base for new clients and you will be surprised at how much you can get with word of mouth referrals.
You can connect with us for more details if you like...
If you know who your target clients are, perhaps its time to connect with them in person at networking events, with the goal being to set up a meeting outside the event to get to know them better and help them get to know you. You might also focus on connecting with power partners, people who offer services to your target clients, but aren't in competition with you.
It seems you may need a new value proposition. What I read in this short paragraph is you run a commodity. If so are you the best price?
Govind, it appears the cold-calling has worked but the return on the effort is now slowing down (as is the ambition to do it this way). Three years with a single strategy is a testimony to your efforts. There are several next steps...you have identified your intent so step 1 is done. How well do you know your intended audience (prospective customers)? Where do they go for information? What makes them stand up and take notice (either as a group or individually)? Knowing all the details you can about these prospects will enable you to write fitting marketing content. That content is written in the style they are looking for (their language so to speak) and delivered to the places they go to get vital information.
This is a process- it needs to be planned and the above steps will help you along. In the meantime don't stop doing what has worked all along. If you do it's likely that opportunities will slip by.
Maybe you need to look at your message and not the delivery method.
Look at your current marketing strategy and determine if its working for you. Sometimes trying to connect with individuals or companies through professional social networks is better than a cold call. If you have professional networking events in your area I would attend one or two of them as well.
Also with these soft rejections, see if they can provide you a reason as to why they decided to reject your proposal. Categorize your reasons for rejections and tackle those challenges going forward.