Here at Network Scientific, we are making sales calls, day-in, day-out, for a variety of different products and services across a wide range of sectors. As such we are experts in making sales calls that work. See below for our top tips, all tried and tested at the sharp end of sales calling.
Know your aims
Before you even pick up the phone you need to be clear in your own mind about what you need to get out of the call. Are you looking for a sale? A meeting? A commitment to a product demonstration? If, for some reason, you can’t achieve your primary aim, what is an acceptable secondary outcome? This could be commitment to a follow up call or details of a more relevant contact. Lack of clarity at this stage will lead to a call which is unfocused and ineffective.
Do your research
Make sure that you do your research on the company and the prospect before making the call. Familiarising yourself with what the prospect company does and how your offering is relevant to them is key to a successful phone call. It is also important to make sure that you have the most relevant contact so that you are not wasting your time or theirs with a call that isn’t appropriate to them.
Always start with a positive
Starting conversations with phrases such as ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon’ is not only polite, but research shows it is also more likely to put a prospect in a good mood. Making them more receptive to the call and what you have to say. Unless you already have a relationship with the person you’re speaking with, avoid phrases like ‘how are you?’ They don’t progress the conversation and they sound insincere.
Never bad-mouth your competitors
There is an interesting psychological concept known as ‘Spontaneous trait transference’, where the person you are speaking with applies any negative traits you express about someone else, to you instead. Unless you are deliberately (and positively) comparing your product or service to that of a competitor, avoid speaking about the competition.
Make sure that it is a good time
Always make sure that you confirm with the prospect that you have called at a time that is convenient for them. If it isn’t a good time, organise a time and day that would be appropriate to call back (and take the opportunity to get their email address so you can send a calendar invite) It is important that neither you or the prospect feel rushed during your conversation as you don’t want to come across pushy or disrupt their day, causing them to have a negative view of the call.
Be clear and concise
Let the prospect know why you are calling by briefly introducing yourself and outlining the reason for the call at the beginning of the conversation. You need to let them decide if it is something that they need or is of relevance to them, when they have confirmed potential interest, then you can go into more detail about the product or service you are calling about.
It is important to pace yourself and regulate the speed at which you speak to make sure the prospect doesn’t misunderstand or misinterpret what it is that you are saying. Throw in the occasional two second pause before answering questions; whilst to you it will feel like a lifetime, to your prospect it will make your answer appear measured and carefully considered.
Focus on product value
When introducing your product or service to a prospect, make sure that you are emphasising the benefits rather than the features. Ultimately your prospect needs to know how you can make their (professional) life easier. Focus on the problems you solve or the value you add and you’re more likely to not only close the deal but also win repeat business in the future. In order to do this effectively you will need to speak with your prospect to gain a good understanding of their pain points. You can then explain to them how your offering addresses these.
Don’t be a pushover
As long as you’re professional and polite, it’s OK to challenge your prospect’s assumptions. If they tell you that they’re convinced that the product or service they’re currently using is better than yours ask them what they like about it. This will then give you the opportunity to explain how your offering is superior to what they have at present. Of course, for this to work, you need to know your product or service inside-out and back to front.
Sales has been called ‘the transfer of enthusiasm from one person to another’. For that transfer to happen you first need to generate enthusiasm at your end and that’s difficult to do while you’re slumped in an office chair. Be passionate about what you do! Stand up, pace around, wave your arms in the air, bust a move or two if you feel the need (just be careful not to knock anyone’s drink over) Your prospect will notice the difference in your demeanour and will respond positively. And even if you don’t close the deal, you’ll enjoy the call a lot more.
Still daunted by the thought of making sales, or simply don’t have the time to do it? Contact us by telephone on 01423 813520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how we can make those calls for you.