Sales calls can be tricky - you have to make sure you’re catering to the customer while still getting your point across, and ultimately, seal the deal. That can put a lot of pressure on even the most seasoned of salespeople.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that will increase the likelihood of getting people to talk to you and keep them on the phone. The underlying factor among all of them is being respectful and treating them like a real human being instead of just another sales figure.
Call at the right time
The first step to making sure your call even gets answered is to ensure that the time is convenient for your potential customer. If you’re calling at a time where they’re busy or distracted, they either won’t pick up or will be annoyed at you for calling at an inconvenient time. The best time varies by industry and persona, but typically people are most likely to answer the phone on Tuesdays between 1-3 pm. Mondays are typically the busiest for catch up work, most people check out for the weekend on Fridays, and Wednesdays and Thursdays usually have the most meetings.
Set time expectations
Now that you’ve gotten your customer on the phone, the next step is to ask them whether they are available to continue the conversation. Start out with a phrase like, “Hi, this is Kim from Acme Corp. Do you have 3 minutes to chat?” A person is more likely to stay on the phone with you when they know it won’t keep them from doing something more important. When you show them you’re respectful of their time and don’t want to intrude on their day, you’re more likely to get the next few calls on the calendar.
Give before you ask
Sales conversations require give and take. You have to get the prospect talking so you can fully understand their situation, but you first have to get them comfortable speaking with you. Start the conversation mentioning something you have in common or a personal connection - browse LinkedIn or their company’s website for ideas. Being likeable and focused on building a strong relationship that goes beyond your product or service, means they’ll be more likely to give you a chance and return your call.
Don’t sound scripted
While there’s no doubt a well-written call script has proven to be essential for a prosperous sales call, you need to make sure you’re approaching every conversation on an individual basis. This means treating your customer like a real human being, rather than just a sales figure. Don’t force the conversation to fit your agenda or you’ll sound fake. Instead, try to be a trusted advisor to them. Keep them engaged and willing to speak with you by using those personal insights to shape your conversation, and let the conversation take its own course as questions come up.
Open the door to a new business relationship
One or two days after your phone call, email the prospect to tie up loose ends, thank them for their time, and communicate any next steps or results that happened during your call. Sending a short follow-up note is thoughtful and necessary - people are busy, and most likely will forget if you don’t send them a reminder. Once again, being friendly and likeable sets the foundation for fruitful business relationship.
It sounds straightforward, but you’d be surprised how many professional sales folks still don’t take these into account.
Now that you know how to keep them on the phone, make sure you’re making the most of what you’re saying while you’re on. Download the free guide and learn how to craft the perfect sales script!