How to make successful sales calls is a universally asked question and here we provide some answers.
Whether this is their first call, the call to close the deal or somewhere in between, having a planned structure and script, for every stage of the sales funnel, improves your chances of sales success.
Detours along the way are bound to happen but putting a structure in place before you dial is like empowering yourself with GPS to calibrate the best route to get to your desired destination, which in this case is your next follow-up call, face-to face meeting or live demo.
Here’s the step by step breakdown on how to structure a great sales call:
Start Strong with an Impactful Introduction
You only have the first 15-20 seconds to grab the prospect’s attention and ensure they’re completely engaged. Keep it simple and start with the basics - a one or two line introductory sentence should include your name and that of your company, while confirming things you have already learned in your research prior to the call. Give them a reason to care and they will invest a few more minutes to either hear you out or reveal more about themselves. For example:
“Hello, I’m Steve from XYZ Payroll Technologies. Did I catch you at a bad time?’ and when you get the go ahead, quickly add, “I heard you’re expanding your construction business and your payroll department is looking to go paperless. Is that correct?”
Be warned though that this approach relies heavily on research and reliable intel that prompts a ‘this person really gets me’ reaction.
Build rapport and garner your client’s interest by asking questions to further qualify them. Dig deeper about specific pain points or in the case of follow-up calls, discover what has changed since you last spoke or probe if the timing is now right. For example:
“How are you currently tracking your subcontractors?” or
“What did your partners think of the proposal we spoke about on our last call?”
Reading the linguistic cues and timing signals of your prospects is also important. These are indicative of how ready they are to take the next step. Identify from your previously recorded sales calls what specific terms, phrases and words hint an increased likelihood of a purchase. Keep this list handy during the call itself so you can get the timing of your pitch just right.
73% higher than average forecast accuracy when a prospect answers a timeline question using ‘probably’.
Anticipate at least a couple of concerns or questions and be prepared to manage objections with empathetic, thoughtful responses that instill further confidence. Patiently listen to the prospect’s objection, then pause, rephrase and probe to find out more and respond calmly and not defensively. For example:
“Many of our happiest customers have raised this exact concern but here’s what we do to address this for them…”
If they apply to your business, also mention easy opt-out options and language that mitigates that risk.
Sales professionals who use risk reversal language such as talking about opt-outs, guarantees, and SLAs, increase their sales win rates by 32% on average.
Schedule a Follow Up
One of the biggest sales mistakes is ending without a clear and direct call to action. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement when customers respond positively but don’t lose sight of your objective. Once you get agreement from them and they start to see value in your offer, capitalize by scheduling a follow up. For example:
“When is a good time on Friday to have demo?” or “Can we schedule a meeting with our Solutions Expert?”
In addition to the points above, there are essential communication techniques that will help you gain the trust of your prospects, set up an appointments and close deals:
Listen More, Talk Less
As a general rule, the longer you go without interrupting your customer, the better, as this gives them the time and opportunity to reveal more about themselves. Paraphrasing back to themis a great way to show you are listening and care about their needs.
95% of buyers state that the typical salesperson talks too much
Interact With, Don’t Talk At/Talk To
A great sales rep always builds rapport, which customers appreciate as it paves the way for two-way, mutually beneficial conversations instead of being ‘sold to’. No prospect likes to be be ‘talked to’ and being’ talked at’ is even worse as this could come off as condescending while you obliviously lecture rather than educate them about your company.
75% of buyers want marketers to curb the sales-speak in their content. [Source: DemandGen Report]
Not What You Say But How You Say It
It’s important to practice what you plan to say so that you iron out any failings in tone, pitch and volume. Learn to enunciate well to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings. Speak calmly, confidently and in a steady, measured manner. Show your enthusiasm and hold their interest with your voice as this reinforces your message.
On the phone, tone is 86% of our communication. Words we actually use are only 14% of our communication. [ContactPoint]
Match and Catch
Great communicators know it helps to identify and mirror the style of the person they’re speaking with, and also project the positivity they want mirrored back to them. Personality projection is a great tool that works towards increased close rates.
Only 18% of buyers will buy from a salesperson who doesn’t match the buyer’s personality type vs. 82% when personality types are aligned.
Don’t Jump the Gun on Price
Make a mental note to not lead with price as as the cornerstone of your pitch. If your focus is on price rather than value, the competition can always undercut you. To close the deal remember that patience pays and mentions of cost can wait. Let the benefits of your offer take the the limelight instead.
Effective Lead Nurturing Through Structured Sales Calls
The above blueprint helps, no matter the level of experience your sales reps, as it is a holistic strategy. Your most experienced rep can learn something new here while the rookies on your team will find a great place to start when they begin to customize their sales scripts.
With a plan and structured sales calls, the incremental learning from every additional conversation is what sets you up for success.