Phone Sales Tips to Land the Meeting #1: Warm up your calls.If you’re one of the countless salespeople out there struggling to generate leads with cold calls, I have great news for you: We live in an unprecedented age when it comes to the number of tools available to make your calls warm. So, it’s time to stop making cold calls altogether. Instead, leverage every resource at your disposal to warm those calls up so they’re dramatically more successful. This means utilizing tools such as LinkedIn connection requests, cold emails, and social media to warm up the connection with each prospect before finally hitting the phone to follow up on your outreach. Even sending a letter to your prospects via US Mail before calling them will make you much more effective at getting them on the phone. No matter which tools you decide to leverage, use a range of them to get on each prospect’s radar and warm up those calls before you start dialing. This is one of the most effective, transformative phone sales tips you can implement right now.
Phone Sales Tip #2: Personalize every call.Now, this is something that I think very few reps actually do well. And that’s unfortunate, because with some very basic research and leveraging of tools such as LinkedIn Navigator, you can easily personalize your calls in a way that will get your prospect to say, “Wow, this person really knows who I am.” When it comes to phone sales tips, this has some of the most tremendous impact on your results for the smallest effort. Let’s say, for example, that you’re making a call to a chief sales officer at a Fortune 500 company. With a little effort, you can quickly find out how many salespeople are at the prospect’s organization, and even what their sales and revenues were last quarter. Then, if you can simply incorporate those two data points into the start of your call, the prospect will immediately think, “This person clearly knows way more about my organization than most salespeople who call me. I should listen to what they have to say.” Take the time to personalize every call as much as you can—without going too over the top. Your efforts will pay off in better engagement with your prospects and increased likelihood that they’ll want to have a real conversation with you.
Tip #3: Drop the sales voice.Chances are that when you’re making calls, you’re using a sales voice. The best way to tell if you’re doing this is to record your calls. Just use your iPhone to record your end of the call, keeping in mind that it can be illegal to record the prospect’s voice in some states. Focus on recording your own side of the conversation and then play it back for yourself after the call ends. What you’ll find is that you’re likely using a sales voice that sounds nothing like your normal, everyday tone of speaking. It’s probably way more enthusiastic, cheerful, loud, fast, and overly bright. Your voice might even go up an octave or two. All of these characteristics of the typical sales voice immediately send a signal to the prospect that they’re on a sales call—and they’re instinct will automatically be to get off the phone as soon as possible. Dropping the sales voice is one of the quickest, easiest phone sales tips you can apply to your strategy today. Record yourself on your next sales call, listen to it, and start making the necessary changes to your tone.
Phone Sales Tips to Land the Meeting #4: Have your script.This is one of the more controversial phone sales tips, and also one of the most important differentiators between top performers and the rest of the selling crowd. Salespeople always push back when I tell them they must have a script. They say, “I don’t use a script because it makes me feel and sound scripted on my calls.” If this sounds like you, then I have some tough news to share: The reason you feel and sound scripted when using your script is simply because you’re bad at using your script. Every good salesperson should have a script when they’re making a prospecting call—period. You must have a script. At the absolute minimum, you need a basic call structure to follow. But ideally, you should have a full script for exactly what to say, and when. In order to improve at using your script, you need to practice it enough times that you can do it with your eyes closed. That’s when it will start to sound good. Think about it this way. If you told a group of actors on a movie set, “We’re not going to have any kind of script for this, because we don’t want you to sound scripted,” how would they respond? They’d probably say, “Huh? Then how do we know what we’re supposed to say? The whole reason we’re considered great actors is because we can use a script and make it sound real, natural, and authentic. That’s the whole point!” The same is true for sales. Practice your script enough and you’ll master your own script to the point where it sounds completely natural, and your calls will become far more structured, consistent, and effective.
Phone Sales Tip #5: Know your contingencies.A contingency is basically a little way of overcoming the many objections you inevitably get during prospecting calls. Most objections you receive are pretty predictable, and so a contingency is just a way to plan ahead how you’re going to overcome those typical objections. For example, a contingency might be needed for when you first get on the phone and prospects are likely to say right away, “I don’t have any time to talk right now. Can you try me later?” Most salespeople might reply to this pushback with, “OK, sure. When would be a good time to call you back?” But that’s lame. That’s just acquiescing to what the prospect has said. Instead, use a strong contingency such as, “That sounds totally fair. Would it be OK if I took 30 seconds to tell you why I called, and if it doesn’t make sense, we can hang up? Fair?” The prospect will say, “Fair.” That’s a strong contingency because it keeps the call going for another 30 seconds, and it allows the conversation to go just a little bit further than it would have if you had simply acquiesced and hung up right away. Come up with a list of contingencies for common pushback and objections you hear on your prospecting calls. This is one of the most helpful, useful phone sales tips you can easily incorporate into your selling process.
Tip #6: Expect resistance.This phone sales tip is all about mindset and preparation. Even though we already discussed that you should be warming up your prospecting calls, you’re still going to get resistance when making dials to people who don’t really know you. It’s just the nature of phone sales. In some cases, prospects may be very resistant, giving you a ton of pushback, and even being rude. That’s okay. Don’t be afraid of getting resistance—instead, just expect it. It’s not a big deal. Great salespeople expect resistance. They have their contingencies scripted out, so there’s basically nothing that can happen that will throw them off track. Even if your prospect gets a little bit cranky, that’s okay. If you always expect some resistance, you’re going to be prepared for it. Sometimes prospects are really easy-going and friendly when you get them on the phone, but most of the time they’re going to resist in some way, because you’re getting them to do something they don’t necessarily want to do. They have other things they’d much rather do than talk to a salesperson. So, if you simply expect that resistance, you’re going to be much more effective in your prospecting calls.
Phone Sales Tips to Land the Meeting #7: Bring some value.Far too many salespeople start their sales calls by saying something like, “I’d love to learn more about your business,” or “I’d love to show you some ways that we can help your organization be more effective.” These conversation-starters fail to demonstrate any real value up front. Instead, focus on bringing some value to your prospects at the beginning of your calls. Show them some insight. Prove that you know what the heck you’re talking about. Give them some ideas or statistics about what’s currently going on in their industry. Tell them what their competitors are doing right now, or what challenges they’re facing. This is how to bring quick, tangible value to your calls to make them dramatically more effective. Do this, and your phone sales results will start climbing.
Sales Tips to Land the Meeting #8: Have a kickass CTA.A kickass CTA is a kickass call to action. You want to have a call to action that’s way more compelling than the typical “let’s schedule a meeting” or something like that. Come up with something that actually has some real value to the prospect. Your CTA is like the carrot that entices your prospect to continue the conversation with you. A great call to action might be offering some kind of an audit, report, or assessment for the prospect, or maybe some case studies to show real results they can achieve. Even simply offering to share some best practices of what you’re seeing in the industry can be a compelling CTA for many prospects. Anything that will get your prospects to want to hear what you have to say is a kickass CTA.
Tip #9: Make a recommendation.Assuming you’ve had a successful call and it’s getting toward the end of the conversation when you’re going to try to schedule a next step, it’s important for you to come across as a true expert. Put your consultant hat on and make a recommendation. Say something like, “Can I make a recommendation?” (Prospect: “Sure.”) “How about I have my team put together an assessment, as we discussed, to take a closer look at what your sales team is doing right now? In the meantime, we can schedule a call where I can share what we’ve discovered in that assessment. Does that make sense?” (Prospect: “Definitely.”) Because you’ve put your next meeting into the framework of a recommendation they’ve agreed to, they’re far more likely to actually show up for the meeting and commit to it.
Phone Sales Tip #10: Get the calendar invite.After you’ve made the recommendation for a next step and the prospect has agreed, it’s time to make sure you schedule that next step before getting off the phone. This is one of the most crucial phone sales tips I’m sharing in this article. Do this every single time. Use calendar invites to make sure that your prospect is actually going to show up to that next meeting. Get it in their calendar. Never just verbally agree to a next step. While you’re still on the phone, say something like, “OK, what I’m going to do right now is send you a calendar invite for that meeting. Just while I have you on the phone, let’s make sure that the invite goes through.” Then wait until they accept the calendar invite while you’re still on the call. This approach will enable you to set strong next steps that have a much higher likelihood of materializing, thus upping your chances of closing sales on the phone.
Phone Sales Tips to Land the Meeting #11: Be very assertive.In most types of selling, being too assertive can be problematic. But when it comes to prospecting calls, you actually need to be more assertive than usual. Prospects on the phone are just constantly trying to weasel out of the conversation, so you need to be super-assertive in your prospecting calls in order to keep the calls on track. Does that mean every call is going to go well? No, of course not. But a lot more calls will go well if you’re assertive and you stick to your process.
Tip #12: You are a peer.This is a critical mindset that every top-performing salesperson has to have to succeed in phone sales. You are a peer to your prospect. You are not a doormat, you are not someone who is below your prospects, but rather you are at their same level, looking eye-to-eye with them. Don’t put your prospects up on a pedestal like they’re some amazing, magnificent, special human beings. They are your peers, so talk to them like you know them. That doesn’t mean you’re going to use super-casual language like “buddy” or “dude” when talking to your prospects. Just talk to them like they’re normal human beings. Think of them as your equals. This mindset shift will enable you to come across as far more authentic, natural, and likeable on the phone, setting you up for better engagement on your prospecting calls.
Phone Sales Tips to Land the Meeting #13: SW3N.This is the last phone sales tip I’m going to share with you, and it’s so important. SW3N stands for Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? Next. Let me repeat that. Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? Next. Phone sales is ultimately a numbers game. You’re going to use strategies that will make you more effective on those calls, but ultimately it’s about the numbers. You have to make a lot of dials, and do a lot of activity, in order to generate appointments on the phone. If a call doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, or you get a prospect who’s cranky and kind of mean, you’ve got to shake that stuff off. At the end of the day, you can’t control everything. Always remember, SW3N. So, there you have it. Now you know 13 phone sales tips to land the meeting in today’s uncertain market. Which of these strategies did you find most useful for your own phone sales approach? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section to join the conversation. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.