These days, we can use so many different channels to sell to prospects…
There’s good, old-fashioned, face-to-face selling. There’s Zoom selling. And everything else in between.
But I still find that the phone is one of the most effective ways to actually sell.
So, in this video, I’m going to show you 11 keys to learn how to sell over the phone—like a boss. Check it out:
1. How you say it > what you say.
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On the phone, the only thing prospects can hear is your voice. They listen to your voice and ultimately visualize what you’re saying. As a result, your tonality, pace, and vocal variety are just as important—if not MORE important—than the words you’re saying. Be conscientious of how you’re saying what you’re saying over the phone. If prospects sense fear, discomfort, or nervousness, they’re going to want to get off the phone with you.
2. Show comfort.
Learning how to sell over the phone requires learning to be comfortable on the phone. The more comfortable we are, the more appointments we’re going to set, and the more deals we’re going to close. By demonstrating your comfort, no matter what the prospect says or how they respond, you’re going to project confidence and experience—which will ultimately help you set more appointments and close more deals.
And by the way, the best way to get comfortable on the phone is to get lots of practice. There’s no way around it.
3. Have a dialed-in script.
Having a script is crucial to mastering how to sell over the phone. You should know your script inside and out. A good script won’t make you feel rigid or even scripted. It will actually free you up to know exactly what you’re going to say, before you say it. Then you can use tonality, pace, and vocal variety to demonstrate your genuine comfort, because you’ve said it a hundred or a thousand times before. Dial in that script and feel your confidence and comfort rise.
4. Open differently.
Prospects get so many sales calls every single day. So if your opening phrase is just like everyone else’s, the prospect will immediately want to get off the phone. They knew it was coming, they expected it, it sounded like every other salesperson out there. I don’t even care what you say to open up your conversations. As long as it’s different, it’s already better than what everyone else is doing. Open differently, with something that’s going to really break the pattern. Set yourself apart from the hordes of other salespeople who don’t know how to sell over the phone like a boss.
5. Know your fallbacks.
Prospects will naturally want to push back at different points in your script. They’re going to try to get off the phone at the beginning, or they’re going to tell you that they don’t really need what you have to offer. That’s going to happen sometimes no matter what. Rather than just saying, “Okay, well, sorry about that, I appreciate your time,” you must have a contingency or a fallback that’s going to help you push through that response and keep the call going. Put predictable contingencies in place for any time that you’re likely to get knocked back—that’s what’s going to keep the conversation moving forward and really enable you to master how to sell over the phone.
6. What’s your Opening Play?
This is one of the most important keys to learning how to sell over the phone. In the Sales Insights Method, we use the Opening Play as part of every prospecting call. Your Opening Play is basically the first 20 to 30 seconds of every sales conversation. It should help you demonstrate, from a bird’s-eye view, what you do, and what typical challenges you see your prospects facing. A strong Opening Play gets the prospect to see that you actually have some real value, and that you understand what’s going on in their world. At the same time, it should get them talking about their challenges. This is how we get the sales call off to a good start.
7. Reference your K.A.C.T.A.
K.A.C.T.A. stands for Kick-Ass Call to Action. This has to be way better than something like, “Hey, could we schedule another call where I’ll ask you a bunch of questions and try to sell you a bunch of crap?” It has to be something valuable. You might share some best practices that you’re seeing in the industry, put together an audit or assessment, or anything else that will show them real value and make them want to actually connect with you. A strong K.A.C.T.A. is absolutely essential to learning how to sell over the phone like a top performer.
8. Pretend you’re looking at them.
This phone selling tip is simple: In order to really engage prospects over the phone, it helps to pretend you’re looking at them in person. Remember, you’re talking to a real person—keep this top of mind whenever you’re on the phone with prospects and it will make you automatically better at selling over the phone.
9. Stand tall.
Stand up when making sales calls. You’re going to have a much stronger tone, and your confidence is going to feel higher as opposed to when you’re sitting in a chair, slumped over your desk. When you get someone on the phone, stand up, have your headset on, and continue standing as you’re talking to them. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
10. It’s just a video game.
Prospects on the phone can’t hit you, they can’t punch you, they can’t attack you—it’s literally like being in a multi-player video game where the other player is somewhere else in the world and they have no access to you. When you’re making a prospecting call, it’s just like a video game. It’s not real life. There’s nothing they can do to hurt you. The worst they can do is say a couple of mean things and then hang up the phone. Who cares? Master this mindset to learn how to sell over the phone like a true rockstar.
SW3N stands for: Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next. I don’t care if you are the perfect salesperson with the perfect script; you’re going to get some prospects who have no interest in what you have. Some prospects will be cranky or mean. Some will hang up on you. So what? Next. Take that pressure off yourself to be perfect every single time, because at the end of the day, some of those opportunities are going to turn into something, and some of them won’t. Next!
So there you have it. Now you know the How to Sell Over The Phone [LIKE A BOSS!]. Which of these phone selling tips did you find most useful for your own prospecting call strategy? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below to join the conversation.
More Tips To Master Selling Over the Phone…
Do you find yourself using the phone a lot to sell these days?
If so, that’s really good…because I’m finding that the phone is still our best friend in sales.
I know there’s a ton of focus on other selling technologies right now—whether it’s email, social media, or Zoom. And while these all have their merits, the humble telephone remains every salesperson’s single best tool.
Simply put, the phone is really effective for prospecting. And it’s also highly effective for other phases of the sale.
Don’t get distracted by newer, shinier ways of reaching out to prospects, at the expense of that old trusty stand-by: the phone.
Here are 7 absolutely critical keys to sell over the phone. Check it out:
12. Data is everything.
A lot of salespeople are really disappointed by this. They don’t want to hear that data is crucial to mastering how to sell over the phone. But the reality is that if you’re making dials to prospects without the right data (i.e., accurate phone numbers and prospect information) then you’re wasting a huge amount of time and energy.
Without strong data, salespeople who sell over the phone are just banging their heads against the wall, again and again.
At my own organization, we make tons of dials. We’ve found that, depending on where we get our data from, our calls can have an answer rate of just 3%…or an answer rate of up to 40%. The effectiveness of our data is really that critical to our success.
Getting people on the phone is difficult by nature. So make sure that before you put in all that effort to sell over the phone, you first give yourself a fighting chance by gathering the right phone numbers and prospect information. That way, when you do get prospects on the phone, you’re off to a good start. You never want to hear something like, “Sorry, your information is out of date—I left that company three years ago.” Data is everything.
13. Hyper-personalize everything.
The more personalized your outreach when you sell over the phone, the more successful you’re going to be. Prospects are weary of telemarketers, and they’re sick and tired of hearing from salespeople who are just making dials all day long.
In order to really stand out from this crowd, you must hyper-personalize your message to each prospect. Show them that you know who they are, what company they work for, and what’s going on in their world, to the best of your ability. If you can do this, it’s much more likely that your prospects will open up to you over the phone. They’ll say to themselves, “This person has clearly done their homework. I’m willing to talk to them.”
Power dialers are one of the best pieces of sales technology for those of us who are making consistent prospecting calls to sell over the phone.
There’s nothing clunkier or slower than physically dialing a number on a phone. But a power dialing system allows you to make dials with your computer—and then, as soon as that call ends, it automatically dials the next number for you. This alone significantly increases the number of dials you can make in an hour.
We have folks on our team who are able to make 80 dials an hour by leveraging power dialing technology. It takes most salespeople an entire day to make 80 dials.
15. Don’t cold call.
You might be thinking, “Wait, isn’t this whole conversation about how to make cold calls?” No, it’s about how to use the phone for sales. Cold calling is old-school and unnecessary. You don’t have to make a purely cold dial to anyone ever again. There are other ways you can—and should—reach out to your prospects first.
In order to warm up the relationship with each prospect before you make that first dial, leverage other mediums to get on their radar so they’ll actually have an idea of who you are when they pick up the phone. Maybe it’s email, maybe it’s LinkedIn, or maybe it’s other social media platforms. Whatever they are, leverage those other mediums first before you ever try to sell over the phone.
16. Know your script.
Let’s say you’ve gone through a ton of effort dialing many, many people…and you finally get someone to answer the phone. What do you say? Most salespeople wing it. They don’t even have a script in front of them. And that’s crazy to me.
Since it’s so hard to actually get someone on the phone, why wouldn’t you make absolutely sure that, when you do get someone on the phone, you know exactly what to say? And don’t you want to be doubly sure that what you’re saying is effective and on point?
Salespeople always say to me, “Well, I don’t want to use a script because then I’ll sound scripted.” That’s ridiculous. If you sound scripted when you follow a script, it means that you’re just bad at reading the script. Practice the script a little bit, so you don’t sound scripted. Let me repeat: Using a script does not mean that you’re going to sound scripted. If you sound scripted, it’s because you’re bad at using the script. Get better at it.
You must have a script to sell over the phone. I have never seen a top-performing salesperson who can make good, consistent dials without using a script—period. You have to know exactly what you’re going to say when you actually get someone on the phone.
17. One call is NOT enough.
Salespeople often give up on prospects too early. They make one dial, maybe two, and then they give up on the prospect. But the reality is that people don’t answer their phones all the time. And there could be a lot of different reasons why they’re not answering the phone.
If you’re only making one dial to each prospect, you’re very unlikely to get through to most of those people. You need to make a number of dials over a significant period of time, such as a couple of weeks, trying at different times of day, on different days of the week, and so on.
18. Get the next step.
This is really important. The goal of a prospecting call is not to sell the prospect. It is simply to get that next step in place—to schedule a conversation, to schedule that next step. So no matter where you are in the sales process, chances are the focus is not going to be on closing the sale while you’re on the phone, it’s going to be on getting that next step.
Be very clear on what your next step is going to look like, and focus on only setting that. The more you can hold sales together with these clear next steps, the more likely you are to ultimately close those deals.
So there you have it. Now you know 7 absolutely critical keys to sell over the phone. Which of these phone sales tips did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
Even More Critical Keys to Sell Over the Phone…
Want know exactly how to sell on the phone? The best salespeople out there follow these 5 powerful phone sales tips to crush their phone sales goals in today’s market. Learn them now to crush your sales goals over the phone.
Even the best phone sales tips might seem like old-fashioned selling advice, but in reality the phone is more relevant to sales today than it was even a few years ago. With more salespeople relying on email and social media to get prospects, the phone has become a beautiful opportunity to get in front of high-quality prospects.
If you follow just a few phone sales tips from top salespeople, you can get more prospects on the phone and close far more deals than ever before.
Seriously, don’t write the phone off as an old-school sales tactic. All of your competitors are emailing their prospects, which means that your prospects are more available by phone. So get on it.
In this video, I’m going to share powerful phone sales tips that teach you how to sell on the phone in today’s market. Check it out:
19. Have a script for ALL of your prospecting calls.
There is nothing more frustrating to a prospect than when a salesperson fumbles through a sales call without a clear objective. One of the best phone sales tips out there is to use a script that lays out exactly how you will open the call, what you’re going to ask, and how you will close the call. No more winging it.
When you get a good prospect on the phone, it’s a knucklehead move to just wing that call. Script the hell out of your sales calls—even those that aren’t cold calls.
20. Take risks.
For some reason, salespeople live in fear of calls. It’s as if the prospect will be able to reach through the phone and stab us in the eyes—that’s how scared we are of picking up the phone. But they can’t touch us, and they can’t hurt us.
And you know what? If you screw up a call, so what? Big deal. It doesn’t matter. The prospect won’t even remember next month anyway. Be willing to take risks with your calls and if the prospect is being wishy-washy, call that person to task. If the prospect tells you to call back next month, ask, “Are you just trying to get rid of me, or do you actually want me to call?”
21. Don’t just use the phone.
This might seem like it goes against all the other phone sales tips I just shared with you. But the truth is, the phone works best in conjunction with other powerful sales tools. When you call a prospect and you don’t get through, it’s time to leave a voicemail, send an email, send over a package, and then call again.
In fact, planning out your entire prospecting campaign is going to make your sales calls that much more effective. This way, your prospects are going to know who you are by the time you actually get them on the phone.
22. Call high.
If you’re going to make hundreds or even thousands of calls per month, investing countless hours in the activity, do you want to be calling the decision maker or just some lemming who’s going to have to ultimately pitch you to the boss? It’s time to call high.
Whoever you’re calling now is probably lower level than you really should be calling. If you’re calling managers, start calling directors. If you’ve been calling directors, start calling VPs or CEOs. The higher you call, the more you maximize your return on those calls.
23. Call early, call late, and call often.
Now that we’ve established that you’re going to call high, the question is, how do you actually get through to that person? And the solution is simple. (By the way, I want to make a disclaimer here: 99% of readers will ignore this tip, but the 1% who implement it will make a lot of money.)
High-level prospects typically work from 7AM to 7PM. In fact, many work from 6AM to 9PM. The data shows us that almost all CEOs work a few hours on Saturday. But when do gatekeepers work? Nine to five. Maybe 8:30 to 5:30 if they’re workaholic-type admins. The bottom line is that when you call your high-level prospects early and late—and even on Saturdays—they are there. And best of all, their gatekeepers are not.
So, there you have it. Now you know the top phone sales tips to help you learn how to sell on the phone in today’s market. I want to hear from you which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
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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.