Sales in a sightless environment can be challenging at times. It’s just your voice and mind that you can use while selling over the phone.
Well, that is enough if you are acquainted with the right skills and techniques.
Phone sales might seem difficult, but it is even one of the best ways to connect with new opportunities. 41.2% of salespeople said their phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal. So instead of losing hope or complaining, try to explore new strategies to keep valuable prospects on the call.
“Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit”- Conrad Hilton
Effective tips for closing sales over the phone
How to be good at sales over the phone? Most of the experienced sales professionals don’t bother about this. They feel it is meant for the naïve newcomers.
“Old ways won’t open new doors” -Anonymous
Here are a few tips that you can follow for enhancing your phone sales.
- Prepare for the calls
- Follow proper sales calls etiquette
- Listen to your prospects
- Engaging the prospect during the call
- Best phone sales practices to follow
No matter how experienced you are in sales, it is always good to enhance your knowledge and brush-up your skills.
1. Prepare for the calls
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” – Alexander Graham Bell
Instead of just picking up the phone and trying to sell a product. Put in little efforts in pre-call preparation.
i. Get prepared mentally
Most of the times sales professionals make blunders during the call due to nervousness and anxiety.
- Stay relaxed before calling.
- Instead of worrying about what if the prospect says, ‘no’ focus on making the call interesting
- You need to sound confident and impressive.
- Only when you are calm, you will be able to think of ways to appeal the prospect.
- Avoid stress, stay away from negativity and keep yourself hydrated.
ii. Research your prospects
In-depth research is like a pre-call ritual that you should follow before dialing the number of a potential sales prospect.
- Collect key information about your prospects.
- Find out what they do, what are their strengths and what are their business pain points.
- Browse through their company website and social media pages.
- Understand their areas of interest and try to personalize the call.
iii. Have good product knowledge
As a sales professional, you need to have a thorough understanding of your product for displaying its value to the clients.
- Know your product and the market in and out to answer all the questions of the prospect confidently.
- Find out how your product solves a specific target audience problem.
- Understand the USPs of your product.
- Use the product yourself to get a better understanding of its benefits.
iv. Set sales call goals
Calling without any objective in mind is like wandering in the wilderness. Set clear goals before calling your prospects.
- What is the purpose of the call?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- How long should the call last?
- What do you want the prospect to do as a result of this call?
v. Find out the best times to calls
For phone sales success you need to ensure you are calling your prospects at the right time.
As per a study, below are the best times for making sales calls:
- Wednesday and Thursday are the best days of the week to call prospects.
- Best time to dial your prospect’s number is between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm and the second-best time is between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm.
2. Follow proper sales calls etiquette
As a sales professional, you need to be very careful while communicating with the prospect. It is essential to portray a positive image for gaining the trust and confidence of your potential sales prospect.
Here is the etiquette checklist that you should consider the following:
i. Pleasant voice and consistent tone
Your voice can be an asset to your phone sales if you use it wisely. So, ensure it is clear and pleasant. The prospect should understand what you are saying. Don’t be too fast or harsh.
Most of the time sales reps tend to be enthusiastic in the early morning and gradually lose interest by evening. Focus on maintaining a consistent, pleasant tone throughout the day. Just because you received a negative response from one prospect, you cannot sound defeated or annoyed while speaking to another.
ii. Respect for the gatekeeper
Yes, you want to reach the decision maker, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the gatekeepers. Show a little respect instead of manipulating your way past them.
If you treat the gatekeepers with respect and listen to them they might cooperate with you. Moreover, their opinion matters, they can influence the potential prospect if they are impressed by you.
iii. Careful use of buzzwords and phrases
There are certain acronyms and buzzwords that your target audience might not be aware of. There are chances they might get confused or lose interest if they don’t understand what you are saying. Consider avoiding such buzzwords while communicating with your prospect.
There are even certain phrases that aren’t universal in all countries; they might sound offensive to a prospect from a different county. So, eliminate such phrases and stay away from unwanted trouble.
iv. Do not speak ill about your competitors
No matter what happens, don’t ever speak ill about your competition. You might want to step ahead of your competitors but do it in a better and ethical way.
Find the gap between you and your competitors. Highlight your strengths instead of speaking ill about them. By bad-mouthing your competitor, you are just spoiling your image in front of your prospect so avoid doing that.
v. Be realistic when making promises
Don’t bluff on the sales calls as it might help initially but cause trouble later. You will only face churn if you promise more than you can deliver. You should focus on offering more than what you have promised to your esteemed clients. Surprise them occasionally to keep them happy and loyal towards your company.
“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement” – James Cash Penney
3. Listen to your prospects
As a sales professional, you need to master the art of listening while selling over the phone. Only when you listen, you can collect vital information about the client. Question them, but even attentively listen to the answers for understanding their concerns and issues. Their answers have a wealth of information that can help you in converting a sales deal.
Here are a few powerful tips for being a good listener
i. Don’t interrupt
Do you like when someone interrupts while you are sharing your ideas or opinions? Interruption is annoying. So, don’t leave a bad impression on your prospect by interrupting them. Moreover, there are chances that you might miss out on something important. Be patient and allow the prospect to finish sharing their thoughts.
ii. Show that you are listening
Show your prospects that you care about what they are saying. In a face-to-face meeting, you can easily show that you are listening by maintaining eye contact and nodding your head. But how to show it when you are selling over the phone?
Well, in phone sales you can acknowledge by saying-
- “Hmm, that’s good”
- “Yes, sure”
However, you need to be careful about the timing. It shouldn’t appear as an interruption.
Clarify if you have a doubt at any point. But ensure you do it when they pause or finish speaking. Clarification doesn’t only save you from collecting the wrong information but sets an impression that you are actively listening. Prospect appreciate it and get interested in working with you.
iv. Avoid unnecessary noise
Try to avoid surrounding noise while selling over the phone. Background noise can cause distraction due to which you can’t hear your prospects. Instead of asking your prospects to repeat, go to the conference room and speak or use noise-canceling headsets for minimizing the background noise.
4. Engaging the prospect during the call
In this busy business environment, no one would want to waste even a single minute. If your prospects feel that your call isn’t worth their time, they will simply disconnect it.
Stop boring the prospects by reading from a script.
Here are a few ways in which you can engage your prospects:
i. Start the call right
You need to grab the attention of prospects from the very start of your call. Your opening statement needs to be impactful enough to capture their interest.
Things to keep in mind while building an opening statement:
- Focus on the prospect, don’t be self-centered.
- Don’t use fancy words or industry jargon.
- Avoid phrases like “how are you today”, “We are the leading providers of___”, “We serve several of your competitors”.
- Use their names and be specific.
- It should sound conversational.
ii. Build a personal connection
If you have done your research as I have mentioned above, then you won’t face much difficulty here. The information you have gathered will help you in personalizing the conversation so that they remember you. Make them feel valued. The prospects shouldn’t feel that you have called for any selfish reason.
- Find common ground to keep them engaged.
- Genuinely compliment them on their achievements.
- Speak about their industry like “I have heard __ going on in the market, is your business affected by it?
- Be yourself, don’t try to adopt a sales tone.
The best thing to do is use a CRM with built-in virtual phone system. By doing this, you can make and receive calls from one place as well as access the prospect’s information during the call. Whatever you need is in front of you. Plus, you can even take notes during the call which will be automatically saved in your CRM. This will make your work faster and easier.
iii. Highlight the benefits
Once you make the prospect a little comfortable, it is time to use the benefits statements. Why should the prospects care about what you are speaking?
- Use the benefit statements to address their business concerns and pains. (For instance. By using the mobile app of our tool you can stay in touch with your customers while on the move)
- Tailor your solution to their needs.
- Explain how they can benefit from what you are offering.
- Make your benefit statements effective by using words like improve, gain, increase, enhance and grow.
5. Best phone sales practices to follow
Here are a few things that you need to do to increase the success rate of your phone sales.
i. Record sales calls
- Track your sales communication by recording sales calls.
- Listen to the recorded calls for understanding clients’ needs.
- Recorded calls can serve as proof during conflicting situations.
- It can even be used to coach new sales reps.
ii. Say thank you
- Ensure you thank the prospect after the call.
- Send a formal thank you over email (You can then track the email to see if the prospect has opened your email. If yes, then you can later follow-up in the same thread)
- You can even use professional networking site like LinkedIn to thank the prospect as it will give you an opportunity to connect and take the conversation further.
iii. Don’t depend on a calling script
- Avoid using any sales call script while selling over the phone.
- Instead, write down the questions or key points to discuss.
- Let the conversation flow naturally.
- If at all you use a script, ensure you personalize it.
iv. Words you should avoid using as it affects the close rate
- “Show you how” – Drops close rate by 13% if used more than four times in a call.
- “Contract”- Decreases close rate by 7%.
- “Discount”- Drops close rate by 17%.
- “We provide”- Decreases close rate by 22% when uses four or more times in a single call.
v. Close the call well
- Provide verbal signs of closing the call.
- Summarize the conversation.
- Try to set up a meeting.
- Thank the prospect for giving the time before disconnecting the call.
vi. Learn and improve
- Have a growth mindset.
- Learn from your success and failure.
- Create calling reports to see what worked and what didn’t.
- Work on the weak areas and improve your on-call performance.
You just need to follow the right pathway to achieve success in phone sales. No matter whether it is cold call, warm call or survey call, you just need to be confident and calm while speaking to customers and prospects on the call. It is your voice and skills that must be used well for converting a potential prospect. Besides you can even have a smart sales tool like Salesmate CRM to help you.
Salesmate comes with built-in phone system so that you can handle your sales calls and deals from one platform. You can easily take notes, create reports, record calls, log calls,and transfer calls with Salesmate’s built-in calling features. Try Salesmate CRM for free to explore its various other features.