Being in sales, you might have explored and used many sales communication channels to connect with your prospects.
But did you get the expected results by using those communication channels?
If no, then what did you do about it?
Played the blame game?
Did it help?
We normally tend to start finding fault in other things when we don’t get the expected results.
But, what about our approach?
The communication channels that didn’t work for you might have helped others in fulfilling their monthly sales quota.
It’s just because their approach was right.
See it for yourself.
Do you remember the popular calling scene from the movie “The pursuit of happyness” (that’s how they spell it) where Will Smith, constantly makes sales calls without wasting a minute and ultimately scores a meeting?
His persistence and unwavering determination helped him in setting an appointment.
Even Leonardo DiCaprio gave a classic example of selling over the phone in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”. With his impactful pitch, he captures the prospect’s interest. He emphasizes on the ROI and convinces the prospect to make a purchase.
These movie scenes demonstrate the power of one of the most effective communication channels – “SALES CALL”
92% of all customer interactions take place over the phone – The Brevet Group
If done right, a sales call can help in winning more customers.
You just need to sound confident and communicate the value of your product smartly.
Don’t believe me? These are all reel life examples that don’t work in real life.
Is that what you are thinking?
Well, then I am sorry to disappoint you as that’s not true.
Are you acquainted with “Travis Kalanick”?
He is the brain behind Uber, who made hassle-free rides possible.
Do you know how he got his first few customers?
Through “SALES CALL”
Don’t believe me?
Quoting Travis Kalanick (Founder of Uber) –
“I went to Google, typed in San Francisco chauffeur or San Francisco limousine, I just filled out an excel sheet and I just started dialing for dollars, right? First ten guys I called, three of them hung up before I got a few words out, a few of them would listen for like 45 seconds and then hung up, and three of them said ‘I’m interested, let’s meet.’. And if you’re cold calling and three out of ten say ‘let’s meet’, you’ve got something.”
Besides sales calls, there is one more communication channel that even big brands have used to reach their customers.
78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases – TextMagic
Big names like Subway and Aeropostale have created SMS campaigns for attracting potential buyers as well as retaining existing ones. Since people have to ‘opt-in’ for receiving messages, they are more likely to stay with a program. 91% of buyers who opted in to receive texts from a brand see those messages as “somewhat” or “very useful”.
90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes – Duke Mobile App Gateway
Text messages are read quickly by people. Therefore it is an effective channel to communicate and build a relationship with the prospective buyer.
“Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability and growth” – Tom Cates
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Handling communication channels wisely
Till the potential buyers don’t understand your product, they won’t show interest in it.
You need to convey the benefits of your product for capturing their interest. This is where effective communication comes into the picture.
But for the communication to be truly effective, you need to make the right use of the communication channels.
Sales calls and messages are, without a doubt, the strongest pillars of communication in sales. There’s one more important channel “email”, which we will delve into in the 2nd part of this article.
For now, let’s focus on sales calls and text messages for ensuring the success of these impactful sales communication channels.
Communication channel No.1: Sales Calls
Several sales reps face difficulty while selling on the phone. Many lack confidence and others aren’t prepared.
Well, you ought to lose if you play a game without proper practice.
Approximately 40% of sales reps don’t feel prepared for cold calls –Mailshake
Due to silly errors, sales reps lose control over the calls and waste precious leads.
Sales call requires patience, perseverance, and preparation.
Each field has the best performers. The top sales players of the industry prefer to use this channel for fulfilling their targets.
41.2% of salespeople said their phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal – Salesmate
A sales call is a bridge connecting you and your prospective buyers. You just need to know how to tread it.
Grabbing someone’s attention without physically being present is a skill that needs to be mastered. This skill demands continuous practice and improvements. The better you get at sales calls, the more deals you will close.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” – Robert Collier
Sales call mistakes
Many opportunities are lost due to avoidable mistakes. Before pondering over the tactics for making better sales calls, you need to pay attention to the mistakes you are making.
Knowing the most common errors will help you in avoiding it. Or else the deals will keep slipping away.
Here are the most common sales call mistakes that need your attention.
1. Self-centric sales pitch
Haven’t you ever got a call from a local service provider earlier who tried to boast about the excellent features his product offered?
Did he succeed in holding your attention?
Or did you hang up to use your time more productively?
The first few minutes of a call are crucial. It is your opportunity to create an excellent impression and establishing a strong work relationship.
If you fail, the potential prospect will do the same thing that you did.
I.e “HANG UP”
Ensure your sales pitch is customer-centric rather than self-centric. Your sales call should be about the prospect and their concerns.
Customer centricity is the only way to reduce your hang-up rate to zero.
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focused on the customer – Next Leap Strategy
2. Talking more and interrupting the client
Do you like it when somebody interrupts you while speaking?
Isn’t it annoying?
Even your prospects feel the same when you jump in and break their flow.
Or worse, talk more than them.
Yes, you are a sales rep, and you need to communicate with the prospect to sell your product. But that doesn’t mean you go on and on.
There should be a balance in the talk-to-listen ratio. It would be much better if you speak a little less and allow the prospect to share their thoughts.
If you interrupt them, you’ll miss an important piece of information that might help in closing the deal.
The top sales performers talk for 46% of a call, means they listen for at least 54% of it.
The average performers talk for up to 68% of the time, and the low performing reps aren’t far behind them.
Listen to the prospect.
Understand what their problems are, to tailor your solution to their needs.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new” – Dalai Lama
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3. Sounding scripted
There is no harm in using a sales call script. It helps ensure you do not lose track of the conversation while speaking to the prospect.
The problem is reading it word-to-word.
Your humanity takes a hit.
You begin to sound robotic; prospect loses interest and tries to disconnect the call.
Sales call scripts are just a guide for navigating a conversation.
So, refer to the sales call scripts but don’t be completely dependent on them.
Strike meaningful conversations with the prospects. Make sure the conversation flows naturally.
4. Beating around the bush
Avoid “We can do this … We can do that…”, at all cost!
Just stop beating around the bush on your sales calls. You will simply waste your prospects’ precious time.
Don’t make false promises to your prospects or speak about unnecessary things.
Get to the point and make your intention of calling very clear from the beginning.
Be a straight shooter. State relevant points and guide them to take the next step.
“Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit” – Conrad Hilton
Preparing for sales calls
Wondering where the tactics for improving the sales calls are? A little patience always helps.
Now that you have seen the mistakes, it is time to plan and prepare for your sales call. The foundation needs to be strong for achieving success ahead.
Having a consistent game plan for your sales calls can boost overall performance by as much as 50%. – Activia Training
Here is how you can prepare for your sales calls.
1. Research and have the correct knowledge
Hold on. Don’t be in a hurry to call the prospects. Research about them and garner all the necessary information before calling them.
42% of salespeople don’t feel like they have the right information before calling prospects – Ring DNA
Go through the potential buyers’ social media accounts and company websites.
Find out –
- What do they do?
- How big is the company?
- What are their products?
- How long have they been in the business?
- Are there any mutual connections?
- Are there any reviews written about them on any reviewing site?
Ponder and find answers to these questions. As it will help in building rapport with the prospective buyers while speaking to them on the sales call.
Besides researching the prospect, you even need to have good knowledge of your product and company. To ensure you don’t go blank when potential buyers ask any questions.
58% of buyers report that sales professionals are unable to answer their questions effectively. – Peak Sales Recruiting
Know your product inside and out.
Ask relevant questions regarding the features, benefits, and functionalities to the product experts.
The more information you have about your product, the better chance you have of impressing the clients by presenting it in an impactful way.
2. Set call objectives
When you think of going on a vacation, don’t you plan and pick your destination?
A goal is essential to make the most of your time.
Why are you calling the prospect? What do you want to achieve?
Set your goal for each sales call before dialing your potential sales prospect number.
For instance, you want to –
- Set an appointment
- Take specific details from the potential prospect
- Gain agreement to a trial
- Qualify an opportunity
- Negotiate a sales contract
- Get a purchase order
- Close an opportunity
Objectives keep you focused and aid in moving the selling process forward.
Sales rarely get closed on the first call, therefore set achievable goals.
Spare 15 minutes at the end of each day and prepare the objectives for the next day’s sales call.
At the end of the week, spend 20 to 30 minutes for analyzing if you have achieved the sales goals.
You will find many sales reporting software in the market that can make your work easier.
Such an advanced tool will aid in creating insightful sales reports. You can see how many sales calls you made in a day and what were their outcomes. It helps in evaluating your sales calls better for improving your performance.
3. Prepare yourself mentally
In spite of sales call being one of the most powerful communication channels, many sales professionals dread it. Nervousness and anxiety ruin the sales call.
You need to get yourself mentally prepared for achieving sales call success.
Stop for a few seconds and create a clear mental picture of yourself as completely relaxed, calm, positive, smiling, and in complete control of the interview. Then inhale deeply, filling up your lungs and putting pressure on your diaphragm. Hold this breath for a count of seven and exhale for a count of seven. While you are breathing deeply, continue to hold a picture of yourself as the very best salesperson you could possibly be.” – Brian Tracy
Only when you overcome this innate unease, you’ll be able to have a constructive conversation with your prospects.
- Have a positive outlook
- Don’t let any criticism demotivate you
- Anticipate the prospects questions and objections to generate thoughtful responses
- Visualize the outcome you want and set a mindset to reach it
4. Schedule your call at the right time
Timing is an unavoidable factor in sales. The right timing can influence your potential prospect’s mood, priorities, and willingness to talk. Therefore you need to connect with your buyers at the right time and day, or you might just get disappointed.
As per the research conducted by Phone Burner, here are the best times for making sales calls.
Please note: The time mentioned above relates to the time zone of the person being called and not the caller.
As per the data stated in the graph, here are the best time for making sales calls.
- The time slot between 9 AM and 4 PM is apt for making outbound calls
- 10 AM and 2 PM are the best time for connecting with your high potential sales prospects
Along with the best time, you should even be aware of the worst time for calling your prospects. You shouldn’t disturb your potential sales prospects before 8 AM and between 12 PM to 1 PM.
So, which is the best day to connect with your prospects?
According to the below graph, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to call your prospects to get better responses.
Sales call tips
Yes, we finally got to it.
“Sales calls tips”
Using these helpful sales tips stated below, you can make the most of one of the essential communication channels – sales calls.
1. Start your sales call right
The opening statement is one of the most vital components of the sales calls. It decides the fate of your call.
Your opening statement should be compelling enough to keep the prospect on the call. They should be motivated to listen further.
- Commencing your call with a proactive reason can increase your success rate by 2.1X
- A simple question like, “how have you been?” can help in breaking the ice and increase your chances of setting an appointment. Opening a call with this question boasted a 6.6X higher success rate than the baseline.
Spend the initial few minutes in warming up the tone of the call. Make the prospects feel comfortable so that they can freely share their concerns and problems with you.
2. Ask relevant questions
Questions are the fastest way of engaging the prospects on a meaningful level. So, don’t hesitate to question your potential buyers. However, make sure your questions are relevant, or they will just annoy the prospects.
The relevant questions help in discovering the prospect’s pain point.
You cannot provide a cure without diagnosing the disease. Similarly, to help the prospects, you will need to know where the prospects are facing issues.
A question can help in finding that out. But ensure you don’t overdo it by asking too many questions.
Wondering how many questions you should ask?
Well, it can be something between 11 and 14.
Below are a few questions that can aid in unearthing buyers’ needs, aims, and challenges:
- You might be aware of _____ going on in the market. Is your business affected by it?
- What goals and objectives do you have for your business?
- What’s holding you back from achieving those goals?
- Have you tried to fix the problem before?
- What will happen if you don’t fix the problem?
- What is the priority for you right now?
- Why is this a priority for you now?
- Are you willing to invest in any solution for fixing the problems?
- What are your expectations?
- What are your buying criteria?
- Who is responsible for overseeing the budget?
- Who all are involved in the buying decision?
3. Make it a two-way dialogue
Avoid those long monologues during the sales calls. You are not a lecturer, and the prospects aren’t your students.
So, don’t bore them.
Change your monologue mentality and try to have a two-way dialogue.
Motivate them to speak. Bring up topics that would interest the prospect (this is the reason I had asked you to research about them earlier)
A healthy interaction can aid in forging a long-term two-way relationship that can be mutually beneficial.
4. Emphasize the value of the product
Value is something that’s directly connected to the return on investment.
This is what buyers are interested in.
Why should they spend their precious dollars if they are getting nothing in return?
Therefore, demonstrate the value of your product.
Highlight what your product can do for the prospects to convince them that they need it. Explain how it can help in overcoming the current issue that they are facing.
Use storytelling or case studies to establish trust and build confidence.
People retain 65 to 70% of information shared via a story versus only 5 to 10% of the information conveyed through statistics – Slide Camp
Potential buyers are not interested in your product; they are interested in the results of those products.
Stories help in painting a picture. They give the prospects a better understanding of the product.
Show them the value you have provided to your past and existing customers. The case studies will work as proof of your past work and add credibility to whatever you say.
5. Focus on the next step
This is something you need to bother about during each sales call.
Don’t end the call abruptly or without guiding the prospect what they need to do next.
Plan the next step before ending the call.
Successful reps spend 12.7% more time (i.e., four minutes) on next steps than their unsuccessful peers – Gong
It can be anything from scheduling a meeting to asking them to fill a form for getting any specific data.
Speaking about the next step will help in moving the deal forward in the sales cycle.
You can even shorten your sales pitch to free-up some time for discussing the next step.
“Plan your next move, because every step contributes towards your goal” – Sukant Ratnakar
6. Records the sales calls
Many times you miss out several points while speaking to the prospect over the call.
Yes, you take notes; but that can be a cause for distraction.
So, recording your sales call will ensure you never miss those minor details.
Later, you can listen to those recorded sales calls for understanding your potential prospects better.
“Until you understand your customers, deeply and genuinely, you cannot truly serve them” – Rasheed Ogunlaru
Sales calls can also be used for training new reps. Listening to the recording will help the reps understand the calling tone. This way your new reps will learn how your company works without losing too much time in training.
The best thing to do is use a CRM with the built-in virtual phone system. That way, you will keep all the calling data and recorded calls in one place. So that anybody from the sales team can refer to it in time of need.
The same system can be used for sending personalized text messages. You will learn more about this in communication channel no. 2 – Text Messages.
7. Words and phrases to avoid
Certain words and phrases can make a bad impression on the buyer. Therefore, you need to choose your words and phrases wisely while communicating with the customers.
Here are a few words and phrases that you must avoid or not overuse while speaking to your potential buyers.
- Show you how – Harms close rate by 13% when used more than four times on a single call
- “Contract” – Decreases close rate by 7%
- “Discount” – Hurts close rates by 17%
- “Free trial” – Lowers likelihood of securing the next steps by 5%
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Sales call scripts
Sales script can come in handy while communicating with the prospects on the call. Here are a few sales call script examples for different situations:
1. Sales call script example for cold calling
Cold calling is a great way to connect with new opportunities. Here is a cold calling script that can help.
“Hi, I am Judas calling from QRS Logistica”Reason for your call:
“I came across your ecommerce store while scrolling through Facebook and found it similar to one of our clients “Bags and More”. We helped them save an additional $12 million in the shipping cost. So, I called you as I thought being in the same business; you too would be interested in saving your valuable dollars.”
Find out the buyer’s need (do ask their permission):
“Can you spare a few minutes as I would want to know a few things about your business or do you want me to call you back at your convenient time?”
Hit the pain point by connecting your product to their problem:
“Would you want an expert to handle you shipping quickly that too in a cost-effective way so that you can focus on maximizing your profits?”
Close (plan the follow-up):
“Sure, I will email the details in the next one hour. Can I call you back on Wednesday to discuss further?”
Thank them before disconnecting the call:
“Ok, Thank You for your valuable time, have a good day.”
2. Sales call script example for appointment setting
Setting an appointment is another important step after prospecting, where you need to be very careful.
Here is a sales calls script for setting an appointment.
“Hi Nathan, Judas here from QRS Logistica. If you remember I had called you on Tuesday, to discuss how we could help you in reducing your shipping cost.
Did you get time to go through the details I had emailed you?
What are your thoughts about it?
(if thoughts are positive)
I would want to know a little more about your requirements. Are you available on Monday at 3:00 PM for a meeting?”
“I’ll be sending the meeting confirmation email. Kindly acknowledge it.
Thank you have a good day.”
3. Sales call script example for handling objections
The objection is a common hurdle that almost every sales rep face in their selling journey. You just need to handle it tactfully for winning the sales.
Below is an example script of how you can respond to an objection.
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Yes, Nathan, I understand that investing your valuable dollars is a big decision and it takes time. But the more time you take, the more money you will waste.
As I told you earlier, we could help you in saving an additional $12 million in the shipping cost. A little investment can help in maximizing your profits. Should we wrap up the deal so that you can start saving as soon as possible?
Communication channel No.2: Text Messages (SMS)
90% of customers reported a preference for SMS contact over phone calls.
Sadly, text message is one of the communication channels that didn’t receive the attention it deserved.
The problem is that most of the sales professionals have failed to see the true potential of text messages. They are so engrossed calling and emailing potential buyers that they have ignored this effective communication channel.
No doubt, both are powerful communication channels, but text messages are equally powerful.
SMS achieves a 209% higher response rate compared to phone calls, email or Facebook – Apifonica
You can use this effective communication channel for building a lasting relationship with your customers.
There is so much that you can do with the text messages:
- Share details about new offers and discounts
- Remind the customers about the upcoming appointments
- Share links of the blogs that address their problems
- Instantly ask any details you need from your prospects
The best thing about sales messages is that they can be easily personalized.
You can also use templates offered by a CRM. Besides, you can even send bulk messages and get timely notification with such intuitive software.
Doing so, lowers the spam risks and even increases direct response capabilities.
It takes an average person 90 seconds to respond to a text message – Rakuten Viber
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Text messages tips
Text messages are one of the most convenient communication channels. You can text from anywhere at any hour of the day and connect with the prospect. Make sure you take the potential buyer’s permission before texting them. As per the FCC and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act(TCPA), it is the law to obtain permission before sending text messages for business.
1. Be brief
You can’t send long tales on texts. Anyways, no one is interested in reading such long messages.
Besides, a few devices limit the length of the messages. They accept only certain characters. For sending longer messages, you will have to split it into multiple messages.
So, it’s better to write a precise text.
Here, you need to play it smart and convey all that you want to say in limited characters. So write a sales message that’s short yet relevant.
Therefore, just include the important details that you think can help in moving the deal forward.
82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive – TextMagic
2. Timing is everything
Do not annoy your prospect by sending messages at odd hours.
If you are dealing with buyers from different countries, then be aware of their time zone.
Don’t send messages early in the morning or late in night.
Research and find out the ideal time for sending sales messages to a prospect from a specific country.
Timing isn’t only important while sending messages but also while responding to the prospect.
Ensure you don’t make a prospect wait, respond to them on time. Your responsiveness plays a vital role in their buying decision. Prospects will consider all this while closing.
So, ensure you avoid every kind of delay in sales if you want to get in the good books of the potential customers.
3. Use the right tone
Make sure you use the right tone while communicating with the decision-makers. Don’t be stiff by being too formal. However, at the same time, ensure you don’t cross the line by being extremely casual.
Maintain a balance between the two.
Avoid using too many emoji’s, acronyms, or sloppy punctuation while sending sales messages to your prospects.
4. Proofread the messages before hitting send
Most people type the messages quickly and send them without giving it a second look.
You might show the potential buyers the exit door if you do this same thing while communicating with them through texts.
Ensure the intended message is conveyed.
Look for typos and auto-correct before sending the message to the prospects.
Well, don’t forget grammatical errors and punctuation. Such mistakes are easily noticed in brief messages.
So proofread your text messages before sending it to your potential buyers.
5. Avoid jargons
Text messages can be a great addition to any sales process if used wisely. Make your text messages as simple as possible; it should be easy to understand.
Your potential buyers shouldn’t feel like they are decoding some secret message.
Therefore, make sure you don’t complicate your text messages with jargon and specialized terms.
Use simple words that your potential buyers are familiar with so they understand the message you want to convey.
Text message template
Here are a few text messages templates that can be of great help while sending sales messages to your potential prospects.
Template name – Prospecting
Message – Hi, [Prospect’s name] your website is very compelling but missing a few lead generation pieces. Are you available for 5 mins today to chat about fixes?
Template name – Appointment reminder
Message – [Your name] from [company’s name] will show you the property tomorrow at [time for the site visit]. Please send a text on this number if you need to change the time.
Template name – Offer
Message – Early bird offer. Subscribe to our service by [date] and get [ ___%] discount.
Template name – Subscription Invitation
Message – Hello [prospect’s name] sign up today at [website.com/newsletter] to receive weekly updates on [topic]
All set to make the most of sales calls and texts?
Even if you had the slightest doubt about these effective communication channels, then I hope it is cleared out by now. Sales calls and text messages are the communication channels that can work wonders if used tactfully. Just have the right approach towards these channels of communication, enhance your communication strategies and you will see a huge difference in your sales results.
Wouldn’t it be better if you get one platform from where you can use both these communication channels? Not only that but even get every detail related to your sales on a neat dashboard.
Well Salesmate CRM is that solution that brings all the major communication channels in one place.
You can easily get the phone number of your preferred country and start calling as well as send and receive text inside the CRM.
Besides, sales management gets easier with this best CRM software.
Manage your sales and customer communication from one place.
Try Salesmate CRM for free to see how it works.
In the next part of this blog, we will be throwing light on another important communication channel – Sales emails.
Learn Cold Email Techniques that will Grow Your Business!
We built two consulting agency businesses from scratch using these techniques.