Most salespeople fear making the number of calls necessary for successful sales. Is it because sales reps don’t know your product or service well enough? Are they afraid of the unknown? It may very well be one of those reasons. However, fear usually comes down to a lack of preparation before making the first sales call.
Here are five easy tips to help you plan a sales call strategy before you dial the phone. Using these can guarantee success in getting to the next step in the sales process, which is an appointment.
1. Practice what will be said to a potential customer before calling. Don’t let it seem like there is a lack of organization or that you are being read from a standard script. It’s okay to have reference notes as long as the sales rep doesn’t sound like they’re reading a script word for word. Done right, the practice will lead to great conversations or voicemails that will get callbacks.
2. To be interesting! As? Quickly and efficiently indicate the purpose of the call. This can be as simple as two or three benefits or some value statements for the product or service offering. The best way to communicate is to give the prospect enough information to force him to ask for more information. If sales reps talk haphazardly and just spew information at the prospect, they’re more likely to reject the idea of a meeting.
3. Be easy to listen to. Use kind words like “may I,” “please,” and “thank you.” Use the name you like to be called by. Speak louder as it conveys authority. It’s okay to talk a little faster as there is no interference from body language. Make sure the words come out very clear. Also use “hello” instead of “hi”. If you leave a phone number on a voice mail, be sure to repeat it twice and slow down so the listener has time to type the number without missing digits.
4. Use an alternative option close when scheduling appointments over the phone. Offer the prospect an alternative option when scheduling a meeting. For example, a good message might be “I know you’re busy, so in your line of work, mornings or afternoons are better for you.” The prospect will respond with a time frame instead of saying “I don’t have time.” Again use the alternative pick method before hanging up by offering a choice between two dates and times for the meeting.
5. Turn the guardian into an ally. If the initial contact is the gatekeeper and not the decision maker, it is vital to make him an ally. Gatekeepers are more inclined to make sure the decision maker gets a phone message if they are treated with respect and not as a stepping stone. With a little imagination, he creates a compelling approach so that the keeper will not only find interest, but want to get the message across. Get the doorman’s name and when he calls back, ask for him. Build that relationship and watch sales skyrocket.
Using the tips above, you should produce more qualified citations. An added benefit is that sales reps can have more fun than they might imagine.
In general, successful calls are made by finding the right prospect, expressing a sales lead through the purpose of the call, and creating a need for the prospect. If sales reps can accomplish this in a short phone call, then they can prepare for the next step of sealing the deal with an appointment.