Most sales people dread making the number of calls necessary for sales success. Is it because the sales representatives do not know their product or service well enough? Do they have a fear of the unknown? It may very well be one of those reasons. However, the fear typically comes down to a lack of preparation before making the first sales call.
Here are five easy tips that will help in planning a sales call strategy in advance of dialing the phone. Using these can assure success in getting to the next step in the sales process, which is an appointment.
1. Practice what will be said to a prospect before calling. Do not let it sound like there is a lack of organization or that standard script is being read to them. It is okay to have reference notes as long as the sales representative does not sound like they are reading a script word-for-word. If done well, practicing will generate great conversations or voice mails that get call backs.
2. Be interesting! How? Quickly and efficiently, state the purpose of the call. This can be as simple as two or three benefits or a few statements of value for the product or service offering. The best way to communicate is by giving the prospect just enough information to compel them to ask for more information. If sales representatives randomly talk and just throw information at the prospect then they are more likely to reject the idea of a meeting.
3. Be easy to listen to. Use polite words such as “may I”, “please” and “thank you.” Use the name the prospect likes to be called by. Speak louder as it conveys authority. It is okay to talk a little faster as there is no body language interference. Be sure the words come out very clear. Also use “hello” instead of “hi.” If leaving a phone number on a voicemail, be sure to repeat it two times and slow down so the listener has time to write the number down without missing digits.
4. Use an alternate choice close when setting appointments by phone. Give the prospect an alternate choice when setting a meeting. For example, a good message might be “I know you are busy, so in your line of work are mornings or afternoons better for you?” The prospect will respond with a timeframe rather than saying “I don’t have time.” Use the alternate choice method again before hanging up by offering a choice between two dates and times for the meeting.
5. Make the gatekeeper an ally. If the initial contact is the gatekeeper and not the decision maker, it is vital to make them an ally. Gatekeepers are more inclined to make certain that the decision maker receives a phone message if they are treated with respect and not as a stepping stone. With a little imagination, create a compelling approach so that the gatekeeper will not only find interest, but that they will want to pass along the message. Obtain the gatekeeper’s name and when calling back again, ask for them. Build that relationship and watch how sales can soar.
Using the above tips, should produce more qualified appointments. An additional benefit is sales representatives may have more fun prospecting than they could ever imagine.
Overall, successful calls are made by seeking out the right prospect, expressing a sales advantage through the purpose of the call, and by creating a need for the prospect. If sales representatives can manage to accomplish this in a short phone call, then they can prepare for the next step in sealing the deal with an appointment.