We think of sales calls as a business-to-business or business-to-customer interaction with the end goal of generating a sale. Because of that end goal, people tend to provide a mechanic line by line script pitching their product or service to the other person. However, whether it be a personal or sales call, we are meant to have a conversation between two people. Not a pitch and listen type thing.
1. Practice your phone voice.
It may sound silly to practice your “phone voice” but it can make all the difference. Your voice holds a lot more weight when it’s the only resource for your prospect to judge your trustworthiness and likability on. Your tone conveys everything that your body language and facial expressions would have contributed in during a face-to-face conversation meaning that even a slight hint of dishonestly or unpleasantness through the phone matters much more without physical buffers to help you. Is the overall voice tone pleasant? Do you sound energetic? Professional? Tired? Irritated? These are things to work on to assure that you sound genuine to the receiving line.
In addition to your tone, voice clarity matters. Speak clearly and enunciate so that your prospect doesn’t need to ask for repetition. Voice quality is already diminished on the phone, but you can make it better by working on clear and concise pronunciation. Be mindful of the pitch of your voice as extremely high voices may off-put your client while really low pitches may be difficult to hear. Are you talking too quickly or too slowly? All of these little things matter.
Another article you’ll want to check out: 4 Strategies to Overcome Phone Anxiety
2. Are you prepared?
Call scripts are a sort of a preparation material that you might use. It gives you an outline of where the conversation should go to lead you to your end goal. There’s nothing negative about following a sales script (if it’s a good one) but like many things, people are not one size fits all. Think if the script as a guide but don’t follow it to the letter. This is still a conversation even if it is a sales call, so respond accordingly to different situations.
This shouldn’t even be a reminder anymore but always conduct a proper amount of research about your prospect ahead of time. Cold calls shouldn’t be a thing anymore with all of the technology we have at our fingertips. Information travels quickly and so obtaining some sort of background about who you are talking to should no longer be an option, but a requirement.
3. The first 15 seconds of a sales call
That is the amount of time you have to get the attention of your prospect. Within those 15 seconds, your voice and attitude are being evaluated as well as the content of your conversation. What type of introduction do you have to capture their interest? How are you going to greet your prospect? Do you start with a bit of small talk or do you jump straight to the point? Map this out carefully before engaging in any conversation.
4. In the battlefield
Once you are in conversation with your prospect remember a few telephone conversation tips.
- Names: People like hearing their names so use it to your advantage once you learn it.
- A conversation is a two-way street: Nothing is less appealing that hearing you ramble on about how great your product is. The conversation is not engaging and you will probably lose the interest of your prospect. Be a good listener and get them involved. Interact with them and take in cues to adjust your plan.
- Mirroring: It’s natural to like somebody who is similar to you. Take note of how your prospect talks and match your tempo to theirs. Tie in commonalities between you two to create a greater sense of likeness to build their trust.
- When to stop: It is important to be able to know when to stop. There are prospects who are simply not interested or have no use for what you are selling. It takes skill to recognize those types of people. In order not to waste your time or the person on the other side of the line, look for cues that may indicate that the conversation is going nowhere.
5. Closing sales calls
Similar to how a strong opening and introduction is critical to the outcome of a call, the closing is just as important. Most likely, you won’t close a deal within the first contact (unless you’re really lucky or good). Follow up calls are common and so you’ve got to end your call confidently and well. Often times, the exit line is awkward or confusing. Practice your exit lines well to end your call successfully and professionally.
If you’re already doing all of these things, props to you. If not, it’s time to rethink your sales call strategy. Content is important but how you say it matters as well. Good luck out there!
So what do you do next? Check out this article to learn How to Perfect Your Email Follow-Up Strategy