How To Improve Credit Card Sales – Cold Calling Strategies
Do you or your salespeople spend a majority of your day’s cold calling? Is 50% of your 40-hour workweek made up of dialling, calling and facing objections from prospects? More often than not, working in sales means picking up a phone. People receive cold calls every day and with their busy schedules, they just don’t have the time to listen to what a salesperson has to say. This means that – it’s highly likely – you’re responsible for a lot of calls that are labelled as:
- A possible scam
Unless you know how to capture their attention.
Let’s use this call I’ve just recently received as an example. It was a promoter from a bank and this is how the call went –
“Hi, good evening.. erm good morning sir, I’m calling from Bank X about the latest promotion on two of our credit cards.”
“Oh, thanks but I’m not interested.”
“Sir, you are not interested in both cards?”
“Yes, I’m not interested in both.”
“Um, don’t you want to hear more about their benefits first before you reject me?”
“No, thanks for calling. Bye.”
Now, let’s use this example to break down what went wrong and learn how to improve your cold calling skills (adaptable to all sales across industries):
1. "Hi, good evening.. erm good morning sir, I'm calling from Bank X about our latest promotion on two of our credit cards."
With only 30 seconds between when your prospect picks up your call and them realising that you’re cold calling them, you don’t want to mess up your first 5 seconds by making a bad impression. Sure, people might not notice your mistake – what with being in the middle of work or commute – but to those that do, you will appear unprofessional. From here, your success rate will drop from 50% (being a fair “yes” or “no”) to 25% (highly likely, a “no”).
Practice. Pull your colleagues aside to practice. The saying, “practice makes perfect” is overused but only because it’s valuable advice. Ask them to be as rude and ruthless as possible. Also, get them to be complacent and passive. While it is difficult to sell to someone who is hostile or is aggressively throwing objections at you, it is just as difficult to sell to someone who is listening to you but showing little to no interest. This is a waste of your time & by practising with your colleague, you will be able to pick up clues that will allow you to qualify your prospects – thus, saving you time and energy.
2. “Sir, you are not interested in both cards?"
This is giving your prospect an easy way out. “Yes” or “No” questions will not allow you to continue the conversation – they are effective conversation stoppers that your prospect will be thankful for. You want to ask open-ended questions that allow you to probe further, checking for opportunities that will help you sell to them.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER FOLLOW UP?
“Oh, but do you have a credit card that gives you 10% cash rebate when you shop online, pump petrol, etc.? No? Well, our credit card is the first in Malaysia to offer such high cash rebate and just this morning, more than 10 customers signed up. Is this something that would help you save money?”
With this you are:
- Probing if the prospect is already using such a card,
- Providing value by briefly touching on engagement rates from current clients
- Ending your pitch with a question he will have to say “yes” to
Why frame your pitch this way? People don’t like being sold to – but they enjoy buying. Instead of focusing on the many features your credit card (or any product or service for that matter) has, let them know how the product will make their lives easier or will ultimately help them reduce their expenditure (especially since getting a credit card, if not utilised wisely, is seen as a step towards debt). Customers that see the value in a product are more likely to engage with the product. To do that, you need to upsell the benefits to outweigh the costs of taking on your credit card – make the customer forget their prejudice against credit cards by having them only remember why it’s a good deal.
Know your product like the back of your hand. From features to benefits to the fine print. If you can answer all the technical objections that your prospects might throw at you, you will be able to put their doubts to rest and they will remember the “credit card salesperson that knew what he/she was talking about”.
What happens when you get a common objection like: “I already have a card with similar rewards. Yours is no different.”
This is where you utilise your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). With your USP and using the PPSC principle (People, Product, Service and Company), you will be able to convince your prospect – no matter if you are a small company with bigger competitors.
In this case, because the Product is the same – let’s try using Service.
“Great! Which bank’s credit card are you using at the moment? Do you find it a problem getting through their customer service centres with long waiting times (sometimes as long as 10-20 minutes? Our bank is well known for fast and high-quality customer service representatives – it is guaranteed (and a part of our SOP) that your call will be attended to in less than 3 minutes.”
In this example, you are selling your service as a value that your competitor cannot bring to the table.
Or, you can try using Source.
“Great! Which bank’s credit card are you using at the moment? Oh, did you know that our bank has the largest reach in Malaysia – our credit cards has the most promotions in our partner outlets located in all the big malls in Malaysia?”
Here, you have successfully sold your company as having the most merchants partnered with your credit card and with the most promotions.
3. "Um, don't you want to hear more about their benefits first before you reject me?"
Discourse markers – words like “um”, “uh”, “like”- makes you seem timid. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a sign of unintelligence but instead, a sign of conscious effort. Thus, while you are being careful about your chose of words, you will come off as someone who is not convinced by his/her sale. Of course, you do not want to scare them away by being too aggressive but a passive, unconvinced tone will only give them affirmation that they wouldn’t want to waste precious minutes on your call. Research back in 2017 by HubSpot Global showed that only 3% of people trust salespeople and/or marketers. It’s now 2 years later and the percentage has likely dropped due to media influence and increase in news about scammers – not to mention the widespread prejudice against telesales and cold calls in general. One of the major rules in sales is that you need to believe in what you are selling – only then will you be able to genuinely deliver the message, value and benefits of the product to your prospect. They are more likely to believe you and thus engage you and your product if you can communicate sincerely.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER FOLLOW UP?
“I’m sorry that what I’ve said so far has not sparked your interest – I appreciate your honesty. It is difficult, in this job, to not know how we can benefit our customers. Do you mind sharing your thoughts on why you don’t think we would benefit you?”
Learn from each call that you make. Whether it be concerning the tone you need to employ, recognising their buyer signals, identifying opportunities to cross-sell or simply to be able to create a connection – learn what works and what doesn’t. With the solution above, you have a short cut to your learning – getting real-time feedback from your prospects. 9 times out of 10, they will tell you a feature you have not yet mentioned during your cold call – and it might not even be a feature you have! But, with practice, you will be able to utilise their feedback in the next call. If you’re creative, you might be able to offer a solution that is similar to what they have mentioned by spinning the information around to suit the need.
To make the best out of every one of your cold calls, it is good to have a script – but don’t be afraid to deviate from this script. It is also important to keep up to date with how your product is doing in the market (Which market segment uses credit cards the most? What do they use it for?) Credit card statistics from March 2019 have shown a drastic drop in credit card transactions as people shift from cash and card to e-wallets and other online methods of payments. From RM406.5/million to RM118.5/million, number of card transactions have fallen by almost 30%. However, there has been an increase in credit cardholders from 8.7 million in 2007 to 9.1 million in Q1 of 2019. Following this increase is a drop in supplementary cardholders (from 1.2 million supplementary cardholders in 2007 to 1 million in 2019).
Kevan Phua is Sales Ninja’s Marketing Shinobi who specializes in online marketing and generating inbounds. He loves reading, spending time with his wife, daughter and definitely his car. Recently, he has been in the online shopping craze and he’s looking to buy a new cupboard to store all his new clothes.