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These tips are simple to apply and easy to use. And best of all, they work!
1. Call earlier. If you're calling mid-level executives and above, call earlier, like 7:00 a.m. You'll reach more decision makers between 7:00- 8:30 than you will the rest of the day.
2. Call later. Same as above, except call between 5:00-7:00. Seriously. Gatekeepers are gone and decision makers are curious about calls that come after hours.
14. Don't spill your guts to the gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are not decision makers and they use your pitch to screen your call. 'Confessing' who you are, what you do and why you're calling is an invitation for rejection.
15. Never use, "How are you today?" with prospects. It's like a neon sign that says, "sales pitch coming." It's trite. Over 90% of prospects say that it does nothing to build rapport; in fact, it does just the opposite.
16. Master your opening. Practice it, rehearse it. Drill it over and over so that words flow easily and naturally and so you DON'T sound scripted.
17. Be prepared for initial, brush-off objections (e.g., I have a vendor; we're okay right now; I'm in a meeting etc.) Begin by empathizing (I understand), then completely ignore the objection (because over 95% of the time, it's false), then ask, "One quick question before I let you go..." This often gets the prospect to relax and open up. Chances are you'll get something of value.
18. Prepare at least three compelling questions to ask your prospect that probe for pain or gain. Ponder this long and hard. A good question engages the client and gets them thinking.
19. Listen with a pen in hand. Take notes. Focus. Assess their tone of voice. Let them finish their thoughts. Don't interrupt. Clarify what you don't understand. Probe deeper using your notes as a guide.
20. Clarify objections before responding. Ask questions to make certain if the objection is legitimate or a smoke screen.
21. Close more casually. Ask the client or prospect if they'd like "to give it a shot" or "give it a try." This informal close eases the tension and makes the person feel less pressured. It makes it easier for them to say yes.
22. Get commitment to the next step. For longer sales cycles, get commitment to the next step by asking for a follow up date and time (e.g. if they want a proposal, agree to this action but then ask for a specific date and time for the next call). This increases your odds of contact on the next call.
23. Be more persistent. Don't quit so easily. Make at least four follow up attempts to clients and prospects that go silent. Use a combination of voice messages and e-mails. Space them 2-3 days apart. Be polite, but be persistent.
24. Send a handwritten thank you note to clients who buy. Handwrite the envelope. Use a real stamp. Show your client you took the time and effort. It goes a heck of a lot further than a quick e-mail. Do the extras.
25. Become a resource to your clients. Send articles, links, special reports ... anything that builds value and helps you stay in touch. Be more than a source of product. Attach a note that says, "I thought of you when I saw this..." It flatters. They remember. It brands you.
There you have it. You probably know many of them. You probably forgot some of them. And there might be a few of them that are brand new. Whatever the case, apply them. Use them, and improve your sales game.
About the Author
Jim Domanski is President of Teleconcepts Consulting and works with B2B companies and individuals who struggle to use the telephone more effectively to sell and market their products. The author of four books on tele-sales, Jim has been seen on various radio and television programs such as CBC’s Venture Magazine.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.
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