I recently read that over 90% of customer interactions happen over the phone. Yes, more than 90%!
That stat should make every sales rep and sales manager realize just how important good phone calling skills are to succeeding in sales.
So what sets apart a good sales call from a bad one? Obviously a call that ends in a deal is a very successful call. But what can salespeople can be doing to help make all their calls good ones?
Besides using an AI-Powered CRM, like Spiro, to help remind you of all your sales calls, I think there are some simple, yet key, things you can do before each call to make it a successful one. So before you pick up that phone and make your next call, do these four important things:
1. Know Your Objective Before Every Sales Call
Setting goals is vital to meeting a sales quota. You have to close a certain number of deals for a certain amount to hit your sales target. However, it’s just as important to set smaller goals for every task. Too many salespeople call a prospect and aren’t exactly sure why they are calling.
Think only about the sales call you are about to make. What one or two things do you want to accomplish on the call? Maybe there is a new feature of your product that may alleviate this specific customer’s pain points and you want to get that message across to them. Or perhaps your aim is to move the dial a bit on timing, and you have a plan to push your prospect to close the deal now.
Once you have a focused goal in mind, take a minute to prepare your questions so you can hone in on accomplishing your objective before you pick up the phone.
2. Review Your Notes Before Every Sales Call
It seems like a no-brainer, but before any sales call, you should take a minute to quickly review your notes. As a salesperson, you have to be able to pick up exactly where you left off with the prospect the last time you connected, and not waste anyone’s time.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a sales call where the seller actually talked me through a detailed review of our history. It sounded like he got me on the phone first, and then started reading aloud the notes from all of our previous conversations.
You have to be able to boil down the past activities into one or two sentences. For instance, say, “Hey, I know we left off talking about budget, so I’d like to begin there”. The customer doesn’t need a refresher course in their entire customer history with you. Review your notes before you pick up the phone and be prepared to keep moving the deal forward, instead of rehashing the past.
3. Practice the Person’s Name Before Every Sales Call
What is your client’s preferred name? Are they Robert, but like to be called Bob? Do you put the emphasis on the first or second syllable of their name? Do you even know how to correctly pronounce their name? And if you are calling someone from another country or culture, are you aware of that and addressing them properly?
It’s very important to get your customer’s name right. If you are unsure of the right pronunciation, use a website, like www.pronouncenames.com to have the name read aloud to you.
When you meet someone in person, a firm handshake and looking them in the eyes makes a great first impression. Over the phone, the way you address your customer and open up the conversation is your virtual handshake. Make it a firm one!
4. Smile Before Every Sales Call
We can all agree that people like to buy from likable people. Sounding happy and positive on all your sales calls is important in getting your prospects to like you.
The tone of your voice conveys your mood. Positivity will shine through on the phone if you have an upbeat rhythm and pitch to your voice. So before you make your next call, begin by smiling.
It may sound silly, but go ahead and try it now. Take a deep breath in, exhale out, smile, and then pick up the phone. This will put you in a good mindset to portray not only yourself better, but also the benefits of your company in the most positive light. Debbie Downers don’t close deals.
Bonus Tip: Set the Next Meeting Right Then and There
Before you hang up the phone, be sure to schedule the next call with your prospect. It doesn’t matter if you are setting up a time to demo your product for their top decision makers, or just finding a time to follow-up again on your proposal. You have to get a next step on the books.
Also, don’t be too general and ask, “When should I call you next?” This leaves room for the prospect to hem and haw over their availability and gives them an out by just saying they will get back to you.
Suggest a specific time to check-in. Try asking, “How about I call you next Tuesday morning to discuss budget?” Remember to be direct on what your expectations are for the following call, so when you do pick up the phone the next time, you’ve already nailed tip #1 – know your objective.