Consulting tips

Don’t Be Afraid to Leave a Voicemail

Uh-oh! You tried calling your prospect and they didn’t answer. Now what? Immediately, you want to leave a voicemail. Your company might not have a script for voicemails, which means you’re on your own. How do you approach a voicemail? You want to keep the message short and concise. Peak Sales Recruiting advises your voicemail be eight to 14 seconds, no more than that. It’s okay if you didn’t know that and left a voicemail that was far longer, but now that you’re aware, you can shorten it for next time. Fourteen seconds does go quickly. To ensure you can fit in your sales pitch in that time, you might want to practice. Time yourself and see how much you can fit in that 14-second span. Then, cut down on your message so you’re only giving the most important information. For instance, you want the prospect to know your name, your company, and why you’re calling. You also want to give them your phone number so they can get in touch. Don’t rush through this last part, as it’s very important. Voicemails can be an invaluable method of keeping the ball rolling with a prospect. After all, with spam calls and telemarketers aplenty, most people don’t answer their phone if they don’t recognize the number. By leaving a voicemail, you incentivize the prospect to call you back. [engagebayform id=”5161654467690496″]

Consider Using a Script

The first few times you make a cold call, you’re going to be nervous. This is especially true if you’re a new sales rep who has never called a lead without prior contact over email or some such. Even some seasoned salespeople can feel that a cold call is daunting. When you’re nervous, you tend to talk too fast, stumble on your words, and forget important points. None of these are good if you’re trying to make some cold-call sales. If you talk too fast, your prospect might not be able to decipher all the points you’re trying to make. You’re practically talking over yourself in your anxiety. If you stumble on your words, then again, your message is not clear. Finally, if you forget important points, then the prospect is not getting the whole sales pitch. Why would they say yes to buying your product or service? They don’t have the entire picture. It’s okay to be nervous, especially if this is your first cold call or if you’re new to sales. However, you cannot act jumpy when talking with a prospect. This is where a script comes in handy. [engagebayform id=”5161654467690496″] If you have a line-by-line dialogue to follow that gives you pointers on what to say, you can ace your sales pitch. But just because you have a script doesn’t mean you can let your tone go by the wayside. You don’t have to recite the script line-by-line, but use it as a guide. Your prospect will be able to tell if you’re reading the cold-calling script verbatim because you’ll sound robotic and inauthentic. Remember to keep that cheerful, inviting tone in your voice. Related blog: Cold Calling Scripts to Close More Deals

Learn the Right Tone

You could say all the right words, but if your tone of voice doesn’t match, then you’re not going to make the sale. Sales software company says that, according to research, your tone can determine how successful the cold call will be at a staggering rate of 93 percent. Yes, that’s right, 93 percent. With such a stunning statistic, you can’t afford to use the wrong tone. No monotone here, please. You also have to sound confident. If you’re bored, your prospects will hear it, and they won’t want to close a deal with you. After all, if you, the person selling the products, can’t be enthusiastic, why should they? It can be tough to maintain that enthusiasm day in and day out, but your tone must be confident yet friendly during all calls. You want to be sound assured and strong but not too pushy. There’s no room for aggression in cold calls. Yes, you’re trying to make a sale, but maintaining the same tone, even if things aren’t going your way, is important. Read also: Can an all-in-one sales, marketing, and customer support platform boost your business?

Invest in a Headset

If you just pick up the phone and cradle it between your head and neck, you’re doing it wrong. Not only are you going to end your day in pain, you’re not being as productive or effective as you can be. According to data from Peak Sales Recruiting, it’s possible to boost your cold calling effectiveness by 50% just by using a headset. There are plenty of other reasons to invest in a headset as well. One of them has to do with your health and pain levels. Cradling a phone isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. When you do it every day for years on end, it can cause some health issues. You might have back pain, neck pain, and even postural problems. A headset prevents all that, for both regular and cold callers. shares that noise-canceling headsets can reduce background sounds quite effectively, cutting out 75% of this noise. Binaural headsets are even better, as they are designed to go over not just one ear, but both. You also get more freedom when you’re using a headset. Your hands are open to doing anything, such as take notes, type, or even organize your desk (although be sure to focus on your call). You can’t do any of that when cradling the phone. Read also: Inspirational Quotes from Influencer Joanne Black

Know When to Call

No one wants to waste their time calling back the same prospect over and over. Yet if you’re calling them at the wrong times, that’s just what will happen. Wait, there are right times and wrong times to call someone? Absolutely! Peak Sales Recruiting says one of the worst times to ring up a prospect is on a Friday afternoon. This makes sense, as, by this point, most people are tuned out. They’re waiting out the final few hours of work so they can start their weekends. Another poor time to call anyone is on Monday morning. Again, this one makes sense when you think about it. Many people are kind of in a daze on Monday morning, dragging themselves to the office while wishing it was still the weekend. Of course, your calls wouldn’t be answered then. When should you call? Try Wednesday or Thursday. You have two windows: early morning or later in the day. If you’re an early bird, then try calling anytime between 6:45 and 9 in the morning. If you prefer the afternoon, then give your prospect a call from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Try to err on the earlier side of things, since you might miss your prospect if they leave the office at 5 o’clock on the dot. No matter which day you choose to call someone, time is of the essence. Peak Sales Recruiting says that you can see a 391-percent conversion rate boost by calling a lead a minute after they’re been generated. That soon? Yes, that soon. This is peak curiosity time for the prospect, which may lead to higher receptivity.

Integrate your phone calls with EngageBay’s CRM Telephony so your team can have data-backed, context-rich conversation on every call.

Related guide article: Lead Generation Best Practices Explained

Not Being Afraid To Ask (Good) Questions

Asking questions is at the core of how a consultant works, so much so that there are times when I feel like Sherlock Holmes! Questions help ensure you understand what you are being asked to do and the issues your client is facing, and they can also help you to demonstrate your understanding. Never be afraid to ask for clarification—it’s better than doing something wrong. Even if you don’t have a question to ask, restating what you’ve been told to clarify your understanding can inspire confidence with your manager or client. Of course, be sure to ask questions in a helpful, non-annoying way. If you have multiple, send them in a single, structured request rather than repeatedly approaching your manager or client. Also, take simple questions on items such as acronyms or Excel formulas to your peers or Google undefinedRELATED: Landed A Consulting Gig? 5 Things To Do Next It takes a lot to succeed in the consulting world, but focus on these key skills. You’ll have everything you need to shoot above and beyond your peers. "Be The Best Consultant Ever: 6 Things That Will Make You Great" was originally published on The Muse. Alex Nuth is a Management Consultant at Accenture[/entity] and has worked across a number of industries and functional areas helping clients solve some of their largest and most important challenges. She graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2011 where her courses focused on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She enjoys traveling and has worked in both China and Colombia.

Having Resourcefulness

In consulting, you will be asked to solve problems that may be completely new to you—or even completely new to the industry. And when you’re faced with these tough problems or challenging requirements, it’s your resourcefulness that will help you succeed. While this isn’t quite Outward Bound, you should develop the ability to quickly and creatively solve problems. As a general rule of thumb, when you need help, you should approach your team and manager first, followed by your peers and internal experts, and then other external resources. There is likely someone who has done what you are trying to do before and can help you find the answer—or at least help you think about new ways to tackle the problem. Be sure to not give up too quickly, be creative in your research efforts, and show your team that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

Knowing How To Think Before You Do

As mentioned before, almost all consultants are A-type personalities with enough ambition to last a lifetime. But what really distinguishes a good consultant from a great one is the ability to not only focus on the tasks at hand, but also to think critically about the work. For example, your client may be asking you to find cost savings in a supply chain, but first, try to understand why this is critical to the business. Are profits declining? Is the competition lowering product prices, forcing your client to compete? Knowing how to think this way will help you develop better insights and solutions for your client. Try spending a little extra time thinking through your task before jumping in, interpret the numbers you’re crunching (don’t just be an Excel monkey!), and challenge your manager’s requests (when appropriate, of course).

Being The “Go-To” For Something

During your first few years of consulting, you’ll likely be floating between industries, areas, and clients. Despite your broad experiences, it’s a good idea to start developing a skill that allows you to differentiate yourself from all your rock star peers. While being a jack-of-all Microsoft trades (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) is definitely needed, the consultants who perform best always have an area that they truly excel in—one that’s in demand and that nobody else seems to have. Whether that’s advanced financial modeling, communications skills, or a particularly deep knowledge in an industry, take the time to find out what you can become the go-to person for.

Having Attention To Detail

This is such a crucial skill in consulting because one of the ways we build trust with clients is by producing error-free deliverables, which shows that we’re thorough and our recommendations are solid. Ensuring there are no grammar, spelling, or calculation-related mistakes are in your work is essential and ultimately reflects on your entire team. If you have a natural attention to detail, congrats! But if, like me, you are more of a big picture thinker, there are a few tricks I’ve learned to help build this important skill. First, when it comes to math, show your work. I know this sounds like your high-school teacher talking, but this always helps to ensure you’ve thought of everything and allows you to show your manager the steps you took to get to your answer (and find any errors before it reaches the client). The second step—and the one that has turned me slightly OCD—is to create lists of things to double-check before submitting anything. For example, I have a PowerPoint check-off list that includes things like adding page numbers to every slide, recalculating all numbers, and making sure a consistent font is used throughout. RELATED: 5 Tools Every Consultant Should Have