How can I improve my Sales calls?

What is a Sales call?

Often it relates to a call from a person to a customer or prospect for the purpose of generating a sale. Also known as a prospecting call.

A sales call is a call that is somehow pre-arranged (eg you were in touch with a prospect before, a prospect provided you with their contact details. you scheduled a call back, agreed to follow up an email). So the recipient is expecting the call.

Often the recipient is unaware of the planned call. If it is not pre-arranged, this is often referred to as a cold call or telesales.

The majority of people don’t like doing such calls, because of the unknown and often due to the fear of rejection. However, it is often an emotional reason deeper than that which stops us making the call. Many people don’t like receiving sales / cold calls or speaking to “sales people”, so they don’t like to make them as they don’t want the recipient to think of them in the same way.

For many businesses, without sales calls or cold calls, it is very difficult to generate leads.

Here are some thoughts to help you improve your sales call activity:

  1. Be clear on your reason for the call, your purpose of making contact by phone – is it to gain a commitment to buy or to progress the sales process by agreeing to meet?
  2. Know your offering with clarity – if you are unclear on what you are offering and what the benefits are to the recipient, then don’t expect them to know.
  3. Reframe the call for yourself – it is not a sales call, but a service call, a call to help them buy, an opportunity call. This will change your mindset and you will feel happier picking up the phone.
  4. Be prepared – plan for the expected responses and potential rejection by either the planned recipient or their gatekeeper. There is often only a handful of objections, so what would be your response to those? This preparation will help you respond effectively with confidence.
  5. Take small steps – if you have a list of 50 prospects, then don’t plan to call them all at once and perhaps breakdown to groups of 5 or 10. It will be psychologically easier to approach a small list, but also a fact that if you receive a knock back that makes you stop or less effective in your calling, then you have not wasted a full list of prospects.
  6. Have prompts – what are the benefits that you want to share? What features are unique to your offering? Have these listed as bullet points to remind you to mention them.
  7. Consider the call flow – I am not a fan of full scripts, as they can sound very mechanical to the recipient, but you may have key questions that you want to ask or points that you wish to raise. Plan when you would bring those into the conversation (opening or later). Writing them down helps you prepare for use and tweak from experience. Also consider the likely flow of the call considering the recipients response to your question or point raised. If you asked X, how would they respond? A, B, C? from that response, what would happen next? What would you say?
  8. Could someone else make the call? For many micro and SME owners, the best person to call is the business owner, as they are able to adapt to the questions and respond with relevance because they know the finer detail and have the permission to react in certain ways. If a third party calls, the common response is that “I’ll have to get x to call you”. You are also demonstrating your passion for your product or service. However, if you really don’t enjoy calling or skills you feel you cannot develop, then outsource the door opening and as much of the actual sales call as possible.
  9. Stand up and smile – there is much research to show that you have different energy if you stand and if you smile to the phone, it will reflect to the listener.
  10. Story tell not sell – Yes it is a sales call, but you will have more success pulling the prospect towards you with interest by sharing stories such as case studies.

Make your calls with confidence, following a plan and you will see better outcomes, or at least outcomes to learn from.

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