7 [Absolutely Critical] Keys to Sell 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:

Why Prospects Push Back on Price

1. Data is everything.

1. 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 You never want to hear something like, “Sorry, your information is out of date—I left that company three years ago.”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.

2. Hyper-personalize everything.

2. 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.”

3. Powerdial.

3. Powerdial.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.

4. Don’t cold call.

4. 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.

5. Know your script.

5. 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.

6. One call is NOT enough.

6. 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.

7. Get the next step.

7. 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.

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:

8. Have a script for all of your prospecting calls.

8. 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.

9. Take risks.

9. 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?”

10. Don’t just use the phone.

10. 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.

11. Call high.

11. 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.

12. Call early, call late, and call often.

12. 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.

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