If you think phone sales is dead, think again.
It’s become a trend for sales gurus and sales trainers to claim the telephone is a relic of the past.
I’m here to tell you that’s a downright lie.
In today’s economy, the phone is actually a jackpot of sales opportunity. But without the right phone sales tips and techniques, all those phone calls are useless.
After all, high-level prospects receive between 5 and 25 sales calls every day, and their goal is to get off the phone as quickly as possible so they can get on with their busy schedule.
If you make a mistake, the conversation can be over before it even starts.
What’s more, research by the Brevet Group shows that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls to close the deal—but 44% of sales reps give up after just 1 follow-up call.
Persistence is key. And so are the right phone sales tips and techniques.
To help you eliminate your bad habits and implement a phone sales strategy that works, I created this video showing the 8 crushing phone sales blunders every salesperson must avoid.
Phone Sales Tips and Techniques to Help You Become a Sales Superstar
When I talk to salespeople across the country about phone sales tips and techniques, I often get this question:
“Why is it so important to make sales calls nowadays? Can’t I just focus on sending emails and messaging on social media?”
The answer is simple…
Since so many salespeople have switched focus to emails and other online means of connecting with prospects, the telephone offers an incredible opportunity for you to stand out from the competition.
In other words, if you can master the best phone sales tips and techniques, you’ll blow your competitors out of the water.
Today’s top sales superstars already know this.
They use the phone with skill, finesse, and a clear-cut strategy for success.
Keep in mind that while your high-level prospects may still get up to 25 phone calls a day, that number is WAY down from what it used to be just a few years ago.
This gives you a tremendous opportunity to connect over the phone with your ideal prospects.
Superstars know this, and now you know it, too.
But even salespeople who recognize this opportunity often fall victim to the same crushing phone sales blunders, time and time again.
Now, I’ll walk you through the 9 crushing mistakes most salespeople make with phone calls, so you can avoid them from now on.
#1: Procrastinating your calls.
Let’s jump right in.
This just might be the most important strategy of all the phone sales tips and techniques for sales calls that get better results: Stop procrastinating!
Do you suffer from “my-phone-weighs-ten-thousand-pounds” syndrome?
Many salespeople procrastinate making phone sales calls, so you’re not alone.
I’ve heard salespeople make up every excuse under the sun to justify why they’re not picking up the phone and calling on top prospects.
The only way to break through that dread and set more meetings is to pick up the phone and start dialing.
If you’re serious about implementing the best phone sales tips and techniques, then you need to simply decide what time you’ll start making calls, and then get to work.
#2: Making calls at 10am and 2pm.
You come into the office, check your emails, drink some coffee, settle in, and then finally pick up your phone to get started.
This means you start making calls at around 10am—and then you start again after lunch at around 2pm.
Does this phone call schedule sound about right?
If so, you’re making one of the most common phone sales mistakes out there—and you’re certainly not implementing the right phone sales tips and techniques.
10am and 2pm just so happen to be the most popular start-times for office meetings. This means that your prospects aren’t even able to answer the phone when you call!
Instead, try making calls when your busy prospect is more likely to be available, such as early in the morning, during lunchtime, in the evening, or even on Saturdays.
Trust me: The data shows that there are specific times when it’s best to call on your prospects.
Listen to the data.
#3: Not following a script.
I meet salespeople all the time who think scripts will only make them sound fake—but if that’s the case, why does every successful movie use one?
A well-written script is crucial to keeping you on track and helping you accomplish more goals in less time on the phone.
In the end, using a script will help you dramatically improve your close rate. The secret to sounding genuine while using a script is simple: practice, practice, practice.
While using a script might be one of the more controversial of all the phone sales tips and techniques out there, I encourage you to start using one right away.
There are many different sales call scripts available to help you create the right one to connect with your ideal prospects.
#4: Using the same opening as everybody else.
Nearly all salespeople start their call with the same opening—an enthusiastic “How are you?!”
This may not seem like a big deal, but this greeting is overdone and annoying.
When you use the same sales call opening as everybody else, you come off as salesy, untrustworthy, and disingenuous.
Instead of sounding like everyone else, take the time to craft a low-key opening that will break through the clutter of sales calls and catch your prospect’s attention.
For example, one of the best phone sales tips and techniques I ever learned was to open my sales calls like this: “Hi, Marc Wayshak here. Did I catch you in the middle of something?”
This unique opening is an incredible tool for standing out from the competition right from the get-go.
#5: Your sales voice gives you away.
Most salespeople immediately begin speaking louder, higher, and faster once their prospect answers the phone.
Don’t think you’re guilty of this one? Record your half of the conversation on your next call, then listen to it carefully. Most salespeople are making this mistake without even realizing it.
Seasoned prospects pick up on that salesy voice right away and immediately put up walls.
It’s time to change your sales voice to an authentic, human voice that doesn’t scream “salesperson” to every prospect on the phone. Use a lower, calmer tone, and pay close attention to the pace of your speech. You should be speaking slow and steady, avoiding the fast-talking stereotype of the average salesperson.
#6: You can’t resist the opportunity to pitch your offering.
This might fly in the face of everything you’ve ever been taught in sales…
But the fact remains that a prospecting call is never the time to pitch the features and benefits of what you have to offer.
If you pay attention to just one of the phone sales tips and techniques I’m sharing with you here, let it be this one.
One of the most common mistakes in phone sales is also one of the most easily avoidable blunders. You simply should not be using your phone calls as an opportunity to pitch your offering. This is one of the most crucial phone sales tips and techniques to remember.
Instead, start by figuring out if it even makes sense to meet with prospects by asking value-building questions that also help you determine if they’re a good fit. If they are, then set the meeting and move on.
There will be plenty of time to introduce your product or service later. That initial phone call simply isn’t the time to do it.
#7: You don’t have clear goals for the call.
When you pick up the phone to call a prospect, what’s your end-goal? Is it just to chat? To see what’s new? To have a casual conversation and hope something meaningful comes out of it?
None of these are acceptable answers.
Every time you pick up the phone to call a prospect, you need to have a clear, obvious goal. Without this, you’ll be dead on arrival.
One of the most important phone sales tips and techniques out there is that the number one goal of making a phone sales call is to set an initial meeting with a prospect.
If you don’t have a clear goal like this before you pick up the phone, you will end up pitching your product or service. Again, this is absolutely not the time to do that.
Instead, remind yourself that the only goal for a prospecting call is to set a meeting. Get clear on your goal, and you’ll be far less likely to get distracted by trying to sell your offering too early.
#8. You fail to schedule your next step.
No matter how great your call is, if you fail to schedule a clear next step, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. Never end a conversation by saying, “I’ll give you a call next week,” or “I’ll send you some more information and follow up to see if you have any questions.” Instead, decide on a specific time for your next call or meeting and send a calendar invite before you get off the phone.
This part is crucial. You need to actually send the calendar invite BEFORE you get off the phone in order to truly master this step.
This will ensure your prospect is ready and available for the next step so that you don’t have to start chasing them down all over again.
Phone Sales Tips and Techniques: Conclusion
As you’ve learned in this article, phone sales success depends on just a few systematic areas that can easily be improved upon. By stopping procrastination and just picking up the phone to make sales calls, you’ll be taking a huge first step forward in this process.
Standing out from the competition is easier than you think when it comes to sales calls, if you’ll just commit to calling your high-level prospects off-hours—namely, anytime but 10am and 2pm, when your prospects are the most busy.
And when you make your sales calls at strategic times, remember to always use a script. This is one of the most controversial phone sales tips and techniques in this article, but it’s also one of the most effective and powerful.
Make yourself stand out even more by avoiding the typical “sales greeting” that most salespeople use. Saying something unique such as, “Did I catch you in the middle of something?” will catch your prospects off guard and give you an opening right away.
Similarly, it’s important to get rid of your sales voice. Speak like a normal human instead of an enthusiastic salesperson, and you’ll win more business, guaranteed.
At the same time, never use your sales calls as an opportunity to pitch your offering. Instead, remember that the only goal of any sales call is to set that initial meeting with the prospect.
Finally, always schedule a clear next step before getting off the phone. This will totally transform the outcomes of your successful sales calls.
Which of these phone sales tips and techniques did you find most helpful? Which of these blunders have you committed? What was the result? Share your experiences in the comments below. For more powerful sales advice, check out this free special report on the 3 Closing Questions You MUST Ask.
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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.