International Conferencing as a Sales Tool
Selling products and services to businesses located in other countries, by its nature, is more complicated than selling to a business located closer to home. While you may have the resources to travel occasionally or hire an in-country sales representative, there will be times when you need to pitch a new offer personally or intervene to close the deal from afar. Hopping on an airplane is an option, but it’s a costly one both in terms of money and time. International conferencing is a robust alternative that will save you both.
International conferencing is a teleconferencing service designed specifically to accommodate international participants. Access numbers to the teleconference are either local or toll free to each individual’s country, and call quality is exceptional despite extended geographic distance.
Determining When International Conferencing is Appropriate
Using international conferencing is easy for the moderator and participants alike, and it’s appropriate for any number of sales scenarios.
In general, consider using teleconferencing after you’ve warmed prospects up. In other words, it’s not the best choice for cold calling. Use other methods to warm the prospect up and schedule an extended sales consultation via international conferencing.
Teleconferencing is also suitable for introducing new products and services to existing customers, presenting progress reports, receiving feedback, resolving issues, and holding international focus groups.
You can also use global teleconferencing in conjunction with a face-to-face meeting with local sales rep from your company. For example, if your local representative needs support or additional information, holding international conferencing could be an excellent choice.
Who Needs to Be on the Call?
After determining that international conferencing is an appropriate choice, the next step is to determine who needs to be on the phone call. In the example above, your local sales rep, the customer, and you would come together in an international conference call. Do others need to be available? Are there other decision makers that need to be convinced? Are there other individuals from your company who can better explain your product’s unique features? Would it be helpful to have a translator present?
Take the time to determine exactly who should be present in advance as you will later need to schedule the teleconference around the participants’ hectic schedules. Because of time differences and other factors, some participants may not be able to attend the call live, so identify the key players who absolutely need to attend and those whose presence would be helpful but not essential.
The Importance of Toll Free Conference Call Access
When it comes to international conferencing, you have two choices as far as international access to the teleconference goes: toll free or local access numbers. In a sales environment, toll free access is crucial. Not only does a toll free number reassure your customers and prospects that they will not incur expensive international long distance charges, it looks professional. A toll free number shows that you’re serious about taking care of your customers. It also conveys the feeling that you do not want to inconvenience them.
In addition to providing a no-cost means of attending your international conference call, toll free access also makes it much easier for your international attendees to place the call. As you likely know, dialing conventions vary from one country to the next, making it confusing to place a call to another country. With a toll free international conference call, each participant is assigned a toll free number from their own countries. The number is immediately recognizable as being toll free and it’s familiar looking because it follows that country’s dialing conventions. Attendees do not need to think twice about dialing the call, nor will they need operator assistance.
Coordinating an International Conference Call
Once you have determined the purpose of the call, who needs to attend, and that you want to provide toll free access, it’s time to schedule the actual event. Use your list of participants that you identified earlier and write down which countries they will be calling from. Use a world time zone map or other tool to identify the time zones of each attendee.
Once you have the various countries and their time zones identified, look to see if there’s any particular time that you can schedule the call during business hours for all attendees. In many cases, this will be impossible due to geography, but in some cases it’s doable or nearly doable. Because the call involves a customer or prospect, make sure to schedule the call so that it is most convenient for the customer or prospect.
Ask your customer what time works best out of a short list of suggested times and then schedule the call around the customer’s choice. If this means that you need to set your alarm clock to wake you up at 3:00 AM in order to accommodate an international customer, then that’s what you’ll need to do. Schedule the call, distribute the call’s details to each participant (including time and date in local time, toll free access numbers, and PIN code), and prepare for the teleconference.
Using Your Plan’s Features
Finally, the time has arrived. Use the features of your international conferencing plan to enhance the call. For example, if some of the participants cannot make it to the teleconference, use the plan’s call recording feature to record the call for later.
Another useful feature to be aware of is muting. At the beginning of the call, instruct attendees how to mute and unmute their phones to eliminate distracting background noises. If someone forgets, you can manually mute a line using your live conference management tools. If you need technical help at any point during the teleconference, take advantage of operator assistance as needed. This allows you to return your attention to your customer while the operator assists you or other attendees.
International conference calls can quickly and easily bring together a diverse group for sales presentations, customer feedback, progress reports, focus groups, and other sales scenarios. It’s a cost-effective choice that saves both time and money while allowing you to communicate in a more personable manner.