In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts — a frustrating reality for even the most seasoned sales person. Given how hard it is to get a prospect on the phone, it’s important that sales people make the most of the call. Follow these steps to make your sales calls more effective.
Do Your Research BEFORE The Call
1. Be an Expert. It’s important that the person on the other end of the phone feels that you’re the real deal and that you know of what you speak, so do your research before the call. Get to know the person you’ll be pitching, gain a solid understanding of their product, their need(s), who their competitors are, and so forth.
2. Qualify the Contact. Time is money and a lot of time can be wasted in pitching the wrong person. Be sure you know who you’re talking to and that they are a decision maker. I recommend doing some research in advance (LinkedIn is a great resource) and verbally confirming on the sales call that they’re the person you need to be speaking to.
3. Identify their Needs. If the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t need what you’re selling, chances are you won’t be making a sale… so it’s extremely important to determine their needs upfront. Ask specific questions about their business challenges, listen, and offer solutions.
Get in the Right Head Space
4. Get Pumped Up First. Sales can be hard, and there are times when all sales people feel run down and depleted, but it’s important that your low energy doesn’t come across on the phone. That’s because tone accounts for 86% of communication over the phone compared to 14% from the words we use, so your prospects will feel your lack of energy and confidence.
If you’re feeling low, try going for a walk outside, having a coffee, standing while you work, or even walking the stairs for a few minutes if your office has them. The lost time will pay off once you get back to hitting the phones.
5. Stay in Control. Early in my career I had a sales call that ended up way off track. I asked the guy on the other end of the phone how he was, as a warm up to the conversation, and it turned out he must have needed someone to talk to because he talked for 40 minutes about his latest health issue in vivid detail. I give this example not to shame anyone, but to point out that it was my fault – I should have taken control of the call. Small talk is great to warm up, but stay on topic and don’t let things go too far off the rails.
Schedule a Follow-Up
6. Always Schedule a Follow-Up. 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups in order to close, so be diligent about scheduling them and keep following up.
Doing your research, speaking with confidence, and staying in control are keys to driving a good sales call. Use these 6 tips to get the most out of your next sales call to experience less rejection and better sales results.
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