Even in the age of automation and multi-channel marketing, sales calls still drive revenue. Research shows that around two-thirds of buyers pick up calls from unknown sales reps, and the single most effective prospecting method is reaching out to existing customers over the phone.
However, making a phone call takes time. In many cases, you won’t even get through. For this reason, it’s really important to capitalize when you get someone to pick up.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some key techniques that will help you to make more successful sales calls and improve your conversion rate.
What Are Sales Calls?
The basic definition of a sales call is pretty obvious; any phone call that is related to selling a product or service.
However, sales calls come in many different guises.
Some calls are about making first contact, while others provide a follow-up to other interactions. In some cases, sales professionals pick up the phone knowing they won’t make a sale. In other instances, they can be sure of success.
To get a better understanding of these variations, let’s take a closer look at the most common types of sales calls.
Through online research or offline networking, your sales team should be able to identify potential customers who have never previously interacted with your brand.
To gauge their interest in your offer, you will need to reach out speculatively. Doing this over the phone is called cold calling.
The reputation of cold calling has suffered over the years due to the bad practices of call centers. But when used correctly, this technique can unlock prospects who would never otherwise consider working with your company.
When you make a cold call, you have no connection with the person on the other end of the line. Warm calls are different; they are calls made to a prospect who has previously interacted with your business. Alternatively, the recipient might be someone mentioned in a referral.
These calls are known as warm because the warm embers of a professional relationship are present before you dial. People are always more open to hearing a sales pitch if they have reason to trust the salesperson — or at least the company they are working for.
Of course, sales calls don’t always start the conversation. Much of the time, leads will emerge through your online marketing funnels.
Rather than trying to engage with such leads through a lengthy email exchange, it is often more efficient to talk over the phone. Discovery calls are designed to open discussions, with an emphasis on exploring the various ways you might work with a lead.
During a discovery call, the salesperson needs to establish:
- Whether the lead is looking to make a purchase imminently
- How much the lead is willing to spend
- Which product or service will fit their needs
You can also offer to answer any lingering questions your lead might have during a discovery call.
Just because you have spoken over the phone or interacted with a lead by email, they will not necessarily make a purchase immediately. This could be due to a loss of interest, delays in authorization, or simply because they have forgotten.
When a lead goes missing like this, you might want to make a follow-up call. This type of sales conversation is about reconnecting with your lead and potentially closing the deal.
Follow-up calls are a vital part of the sales process, but many sales professionals fail to make the effort. If your sales team bucks the trend, they are likely to be rewarded.
9 Sales Call Tips to Help You Close More Deals
As we have seen, there are several categories of sales calls.
Clearly, you can’t use the exact same sales call script for prospecting and following up — but there are certain principles that apply universally. Here are nine secrets for success on the phone:
1) Do Your Research
Before you pick up the phone for any sales call, it’s essential to be well prepared. Background research can be the difference between closing a deal and losing a lead completely.
In the case of cold calls, that means knowing exactly who you are calling and why they might be interested in your offer. You should also try to find some way to break the ice — a motive for calling now, if you like. Any further information about your contact and their company may come in useful.
The same goes prior to warm calls, although you should probably place more emphasis on learning about the contact and their company.
For discovery and follow-up calls, reps should be ready to answer any question and make a pitch. This might mean speaking to other people in the sales team who have previously made contact with the lead, or taking a deep dive into your CRM.
2) Talk to Decision-Makers
In B2B sales calls, it’s usually quite easy to get through to someone in your target company. However, the person who answers the phone isn’t usually the individual who makes the big purchasing decisions.
As such, one key task for any salesperson is finding a way to talk directly to the decision-makers.
There are essentially two ways to achieve this. The first is online research. Using LinkedIn, you should be able to identify the person you need to speak to within your prospect business. You can then use a tool like Datanyze to search for the direct dial phone number for that individual.
The other main option is a little harder, but sometimes necessary. If you can’t find a direct line, you might have to convince a “gatekeeper” — such as a personal assistant — to put you in touch with the decision-maker. It helps to use a script for this conversation, and practice makes perfect!
3) Establish Your Reason for Calling
Everyone receives unsolicited emails that pitch a product. They are easy enough to ignore if you aren’t interested.
Calls are different. They break into the schedule of your prospect and demand their full attention.
So, when someone picks up, you should have a good answer to the question: “Why are you calling me?”
We don’t encourage lying, but it’s probably not a good idea to say, “Because we need to make some sales.” Instead, briefly explain why you thought that the prospect would be interested in your offer.
This could be a reference to recent company news, taking note of a change of role, or even making mention of recent funding. In other words, offer a reasonable excuse for taking some of their time. It will help you earn some trust, right off the bat.
4) Build Rapport
While we sometimes like to think of ourselves as analytical and data-driven, humans are ultimately very social creatures. When it comes to making business decisions, we usually choose the salesperson who makes the best impression.
As such, it’s essential to build rapport in any sales call. This applies particularly to initial contact, but you can still work on your professional relationship over time. The better you get to know your contact, the more likely they are to answer your calls and say yes to your proposals.
With this concept in mind, make sure to build in some “social” time to your sales calls. Even if the call lasts just a few minutes, you still have the opportunity to make conversation around the business talk. These small personal touches will add up to significant credit in your favor over time.
5) Identify Pain Points
When you work in sales, it’s easy to become focused entirely on the goal of closing deals. While this can provide motivation, it may also lead you astray.
How come? Well, you can end up wasting time and effort trying to persuade people to make a purchase, even if your product doesn’t solve their needs.
You might earn a few quick bucks, but end up missing out on better opportunities, while simultaneously creating a bad experience for your new customers.
A better approach is to focus on understanding the current pain points for your potential client. Pay attention to their answers, and you should know within a couple of minutes whether you have a hot lead or a prospect who doesn’t fit your offer.
6) Deliver a Strong Value Proposition
Speaking about offers — another good reason to understand your prospect’s needs is so you can build a strong proposition.
As you speak with your prospect, the potential benefits of your product or service for their requirements will become obvious to you. But potential clients don’t have access to the same information. As such, you will need to spell out why they should take your offer.
Storytelling is a good way to get your prospect hooked. Talk about how you have helped previous clients with similar needs, and sprinkle in some statistics.
Your aim is to offer so much value that they can’t say no. Bear in mind that it might take several calls to reach that stage.
7) Create a Sense of Urgency
As every sales expert will tell you, urgency is a powerful lever. If a prospect or lead believes that your offer is only available for a limited time, they are more likely to be decisive when it comes to placing an order.
You don’t necessarily need to embrace the language of discount stores to inject urgency into your sales calls. Instead, try to highlight what your prospect has to gain (or lose) by taking swift action. The most effective way to do this is through skillful questioning.
Using information you gathered about their pain points, ask what these problems are costing the business or what improvements they might see with the right solution. In essence, you are helping them to create their own sense of urgency. It also helps to brush up on your negotiation skills in tough sales situations!
8) Offer a Clear Call to Action
Having laid out your offer, the final step is getting your prospect to take action.
The exact action will vary depending on what type of call you are making. For early prospecting calls, your aim should be to book a longer discovery call or perhaps a demo. Later in the sales cycle, it’s all about closing deals.
Whatever you want your prospects to do, make sure they understand the next steps. Having built up all the value in your offer, a clear call to action will take you one step closer to a sale.
9) Check Your Metrics
If you follow all the advice mentioned above, you should see an instant improvement in the results of your sales calls. They are techniques used by the very best telemarketers, after all.
That said, every sales process has room for improvement. In order to identify the areas that can be refined, you will need to collect and analyze some data.
Calls don’t generate quite the same number of data points as online sales channels. But you can still build a good picture of what is happening by recording key metrics and KPIs.
To make the process more efficient, you can also employ a tool like Chorus to create transcripts automatically and extract raw numbers.
Using the Right Tools Can Improve Your Phone Sales
That leads us nicely to an important point about phone sales.
Whereas online sales channels can be automated, sales calls are all human. Every aspect of this channel requires a time input from your sales team — from research to dialing and note-taking.
If you decide to attempt cold calling, time becomes even more precious. On average, each salesperson will have to make well over 100 cold calls to book just one sale.
Yet picking up the phone is still a very effective way to generate revenue. So, the best action you can take is to streamline the process as much as possible. This becomes relatively easy if you choose the right tools.
How to Improve Your Sales Process With Datanyze
As an example of how tools can improve your sales process, let’s focus on the research stage.
First, you need to identify a prospect and find their contact information. Ideally, you will want to find a company email and a direct dial phone number. Normally speaking, your sales team would spend hours trawling for this information.
Datanyze is a tool that helps you collect contact details in seconds.
After downloading our Chrome extension, you simply navigate to any LinkedIn profile or company website. With one click, you can reveal contact information sourced from a GDPR-compliant database.
There are 63 million direct dial numbers and 84 million email addresses stored in the database, so you will probably find who you’re looking for.
Every time you collect contact details, Datanyze stores that contact to your account. You can then easily browse this data and export it to your CRM.
By upgrading with this one tool, you can suddenly save hours every week — which converts into more sales.
Sounds good? Sign up free today to give it a try.