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Sales Calls, a Thing of the Past? Think Again.

Image of Michelle Farnsworth
Michelle Farnsworth

It may be a bit of a mind bender, but consider this:

Our smartphones that we text, search, watch shows, and play games on are still actual…phones.

So how can you use these devices to truly make a great impression on a potential prospect? You offer the rarity in gestures, a friendly phone call.

Sales representatives on a daily basis reach potential prospects through various communication channels. There are emails, chat bots, social media messaging such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and then there are phone conversations.

What Online Consumers Are Seeking

A world filled with automation and digitalization, phone calls may be seen as an outdated and time-consuming strategy with only  41% of sales professional stating that their phone is still a beneficial tool at their disposal. Sales technology has revolutionized the sales process with automation tools from AI bots to email marketing software, which requires little human interaction.

However, according to a RAIN Group study, with 488 B2B participants, revealed that 71% of buyers want to speak with sellers when searching for new ways to boost their business. Moreover, the study also exhibited that “62% of buyers want to talk to sellers when they’re actively looking for a solution to fix what’s broken or to solve a problem”.

Other sales statistics revealed that buyers still want to speak with sellers throughout the buying cycle. In a world stifling you with bots, texts, and emails here is a refresher course with five sales call techniques that really work.

Build a Positive Impression

Once the connection is made, you have seconds to make your first impression. Physical communications from body language to facial expressions can help reduce misinterpreting messages, but are ineffective when having a conversation over the phone. So what do you do to make up for the lost cues?

Graham Roberts-Phelps is the author of The Concise Guide to Telephone Tactics, with which he provides some tips on how to positively build your first impression over the phone. From his book, Roberts-Phelps depicts that “customers create an impression of you and your company based on how you sound”.

Roberts-Phelps suggests focussing on the tone of your voice and volume, how fast you are speaking, and word selection. Also, he suggests keeping your voice cheerful, friendly, and confident. Do not shout on the phone, but speak slightly louder than you would in person. Speak to the prospect clearly and at a steady pace. Keep your voice and volume sounding genuine to avoid sounding like a tv commercial.

Build Trust by Actively Listening

According to a HubSpot Research, only 3% of nearly 1,000 respondents consider a salesperson to be trustworthy. Listening to your prospects can help build trust at the beginning of the conversation. In general, consumers are more likely to continue the conversation with a trusted expert rather than an ingenuine salesperson.

Do not dominate the conversation to get your sales pitch through. Instead, remember it is a two-way conversation with your prospect. Ask open-ended questions to let the consumer speak about his or her business needs and goals for their organization.  

Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Whether it’s taking an inbound call or contacting a prospect in your sales funnel, calls can be very intimidating even to seasoned sales reps. Remember the prospect you’re speaking with could be at any stage of they buying process. They may have a specific question having done their own research, they may want more information on a specific product, or they might want to get started on setting up their account.

Be prepared to not only assist them in the stage of the decision process they’re in, but end the call with a new call to action to consider. If they’re not quite ready to make an appointment, keep the ball rolling by opening the door to the next step they can take to evaluate if your product or service is right for them.

Use Scripts as Guides

Use scripts as a way to practice and rehearsal with your team and supervisor, but do not remember it word by word. Buyers want to talk to genuine, happy humans, not robots.  

Practicing is key. In general, taking and making calls is a skill that requires practice and determination to feel comfortable and confident. It can help to practice on how to overcome common rebuttals. Listen to your call recordings to learn what works and what doesn’t work to improve your call strategy.

Learn How to Leave an Effective Voicemail

If you’re not optimizing your connections with prospects by calling within the first few minutes of interest being shown your business, you’re bound to leave a few voicemails. To make sure you make the most out of this opportunity, here are a few tips on how to leave an effective voicemail.

Make sure you speak clearly and do not mumble words when leaving the voicemail. If prospects cannot hear your company name or the call back number they are less likely to call you back. Keep the voicemail short and avoid cheesy sales tactic such as “Call now before the deal ends”. Your voice should be positive and upbeat. Do not try to sell your product or service, but instead focus on sparking the curiosity of the buyer to call you back.

These sales call tips and tactics may help increase your success rate of booking a meeting, helping a prospect along the sales funnel, or closing a deal. Phone calls are a sales technique with an underestimated effectiveness that is not going away anytime soon. Automation and digitization do have their perks, but human interactions are still a key in sales that cannot be replaced.

Learn more insights on lead response in this free White Paper: The Importance of Rapid Lead Response in 2021

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