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Calling The Shots

Hit the phone running by preparing your pitch before you dial.

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This story appears in the April 2000 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

If you're a homebased entrepreneur who conducts most of your selling and marketing by phone, you might want to keep this column right up there next to the Chinese takeout menu. Even if you think you give good phone, stellar seller Art Sobczak points out that "many folks sell by throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks"-and we don't mean the receiver or chow mein noodles.

One of the hallmarks of poor preparation for a cold call is nonexistent or inadequate questioning. You lose credibility in the listener's mind when you ramble foolishly on about what you'd like to sell rather than what the listener might be interested in buying. Usually, the prospect then channels all their energy into thinking of reasons why he or she should get you off the phone. However, you can turn things around by mapping out your questions before your call.

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