by Art Sobczak
I received another one yesterday: The “I just wanted to introduce myself” call. From a new rep at a company, I don’t even remember ever talking to.
He took over the old rep’s “accounts.”
I said, “Oh, thanks for letting me know.”
“If you ever need anything, I’m here.”
“Got it. Thanks,” I said.
End of call.
I wonder if his manager teaches that?
Or, if the manager even knows what his reps are saying. In today’s Tip below, I cover what is wrong with that type of call.
OK, so you’ve been handed a bunch of “accounts.”
You’re preparing to call them for the first time. (I use the terms “accounts” loosely since that can imply different degrees of familiarity with your company ranging from none to a great relationship.)
First, keep a few things in mind:
You might consider these prospects as customers, but they might not. Especially if they haven’t been given attention, or bought from you in a while.
DO NOT begin with “I just want to introduce myself…” Save that for going up to someone at a networking event. On this call, you have a tiny amount of time to make an impact and saying you want to introduce yourself does nothing for them.
Your goal is to make them feel that they’ve gained as a direct result of talking to you–and there should be no doubt about that in their minds.
Unless they had a great relationship with the previous sales rep, they don’t care about your job, the fact you’re new, or that you’ve replaced someone.
Further, if there have been several reps in and out the revolving door before you, each calling this account with the same news, it would likely evoke an “Oh, another new person,” response. All they’re really concerned about is if you can do anything for them.
Before you place another call, prepare your strategy by asking yourself a two-part question:
What will they stand to gain as a result of you being in this job, and on a micro level,
How will they gain as a result of this call?
Answer from their perspective. You’ll then have the basis for calling them. Hone your answer, then use it in your opening.
Let’s look at an example where there hasn’t been much contact or sales activity. It would almost be like a prospecting call:
“Ms. Davis, I’m Dan Douglas with Whittle Cutting Tools. We provided your company several cases of diamond blades a few months ago … and if I reached you at a good time, I’d like to let you know about a special we have on those blades and few others you might have some interest in…”
Notice this one doesn’t even mention–yet–that the caller is now handling the account.
Because it’s not important to the listener. There wasn’t a relationship established previously. They wouldn’t have known the previous rep from their last pizza delivery man.
Next let’s look at it from the perspective of a better relationship, where they are a customer buying fairly regularly.
“Tom, I’m Gwen Charles with Twin Financial. There are two reasons I’m calling today. First, I wanted to let you know I’ve taken the place of Ken Hartley who worked with you in the past, and I’ll do my best to provide the same service that Ken did. (pause, chitchat) First, to make sure I’m making the best recommendations for you and so I can keep you updated with any specials or new offers I’d like to ask a few questions …”
And, finally, in those cases where the account is truly a major one, and there’s an intimate relationship, have the departing rep introduce the new rep on the phone as part of his/her training. (Of course, this is contingent on an amicable departure of the rep.)
Or, at the very least, send letters in advance of the new rep calling, informing the customer of the change. And still, the call must have something of value other than the introduction.
Save the “I want to introduce myself” opener for networking events. When you’re on the phone, first and foremost, you’re remembered most for what you can do for them.
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