Sales calls involve more than just convincing your prospective customer to buy your product or service. It’s about building trust as well as educating the customer, so that they’ll buy from you instead of a competitor.
Market research and qualifying prospects are essential in preparing for a call, but what else can you do to make the best sales calls? Read on for 11 tips from experts on how to make every sales call your best one yet.
What is a Sales Call?
Sales calls are a conversation between the salesperson (likely you or your sales team) and a potential customer about the prospects of purchasing a product or service.
A sales call informs the prospect about the goods or services you’re offering. Even if the prospect doesn’t buy from you now, there’s a possibility of them buying from you in the future because they already know and trust your product or service.
Sales calls can be B2C (business-to-customer) where you sell to individuals or B2B (business-to-business) where you talk to decision makers in a certain organization in the hopes of initiating a purchase or collaboration.
What Are the Types of Sales Calls?
Generally, sales calls are divided into two types, which have their own challenges and advantages:
Cold calling is when you make a sales call to a potential customer with whom you do not have an existing relationship. Generally, these calls are more challenging because your salespeople need to have a good opening pitch to hook the prospect early in the call. If they aren’t convinced in the first few minutes, most disinterested prospects will simply end the call right then and there.
This classic sales calling tactic is understandably challenging since most people don’t like being called by strangers out of nowhere. If you’re planning to concentrate your efforts on cold calling, be sure to have a great sales pitch that you can deliver within minutes and a large contact list.
A scheduled call is when you contact a person or a company that you’ve interacted with before. This type of sales call usually works like a regular meeting—all parties agree on a scheduled time to meet up or do a remote call. Your sales team will then present their pitch in the hopes of selling the prospect on your product or service.
Scheduled calls are less likely to face early rejection because you’ve already built rapport beforehand. Since both parties have already agreed to meet, your prospective buyer may come prepared with a list of questions. This means your salesperson needs to know everything about what they’re selling and make a convincing sales pitch to close the deal.
What Are the Elements of a Successful Sales Call?
What makes a good sales call? There are many moving parts to a memorable and convincing sales call, but these five elements are key to any good pitch:
Show a Positive Attitude and Tone
While most sales calls are made over the phone or online, that doesn’t mean the customer can’t “see” your enthusiasm. Go through the sales call process with a positive attitude and an upbeat tone. If the prospect is greeted by a ”smiling voice,” they’re much more likely to hear what you have to say.
Make Strong Introductions
A good opening statement is key in ensuring the prospect stays on the line for the entire sales call process. Make sure they know what you’re calling for and hook their interest early on.
Pique their curiosity so they show interest. A good tip is to phrase the purpose of your call as a question, like “If I have a way to automate your bookkeeping process, would you like to know more?”
Build Trust and Personal Connection
Now that you have the prospect hooked, it’s time to start reeling them in. Give them a bird’s eye view of your product or service. There’s no need to go into details—just address their pain points in a short and sweet explanation. Be sure to demonstrate your product’s strong points so they know how what you’re selling can help them.
Ask Questions and Address Concerns
Ask questions about your prospect’s business needs and make sure they fit your target market. If possible, you can also inquire about their budget to estimate the opportunity size as well as their interest in buying what you’re selling.
You may also need to put your customer service skills to use in answering the prospect’s concerns. Addressing questions and potential issues will help convince them you’re selling a viable solution.
End With a Memorable Closing
Once you’ve thoroughly convinced the prospect, it’s time to make the sale. If the prospect shows a positive response, tell them what they should do next and verify their contact information so you can follow up on the call later on.
Before ending the call, don’t forget to thank them for their time. Always leave the same way you came in, with excellent manners and a good impression.
How Do You Prepare for a Sales Call?
You don’t want to go into a sales call without any preparation—coming into a call unprepared is unprofessional and could cause you to lose out on surefire deals. Here are four measures you can take to prepare for a sales call:
Do Your Research
Always know who you’re calling. If you’re calling an individual, you need to know their basic information such as name, age, gender, etc. If you’re calling a company, know what their business does, what they need, and essential contact persons.
Categorize Your Contacts
Not all prospects are good prospects. Prospects that have previous relationships with your company are “great prospects” because they’re more likely to buy your offerings. Generally, targets of cold calls are categorized as “ordinary prospects” because they’re less likely to have a positive response.
Practice makes perfect. Use the contacts from your “ordinary prospects” list as a training ground to make sure you have your sales call script and pitch mastered. Most of these prospects are less likely to buy anyway, so there’s little risk even if you fumble your lines.
Prepare Your Pitch and Marketing Material
Finally, your sales rep should be prepared for anything the prospect asks. Always have product portfolios, quote documents, and proposals handy. If your prospect asks about any of those documents, send them immediately after the call ends—not days later while you put them together.
11 Tips For Making a Successful Sales Call
Making great sales calls is a skill that can be practiced to perfection like many other skills. Here are 11 top tips to create winning sales calls:
1. Start All Sales Calls With a Bang
Good first impressions are key to a great sales call. Always start your phone calls positively and build a personal connection. You can talk about the weather, plans for the weekend, or even a recent sports win—anything that helps you find common ground with the prospect.
2. Don’t Bad-Mouth Competitors During Sales Calls
Bad-mouthing the competition isn’t a good look—your salespeople could come across as unprofessional. If a prospect asks about the competition, be sure to stick to the facts and don’t stray into speculation that might make it seem like you’re reaching to sound superior.
3. Set the Agenda and Stay in Control
Always outline what you set out to achieve at the beginning of the call, so that both you and the prospect know what to expect out of the pitch. For instance, you can state that you’re calling to inform the prospect about product XYZ and answer any questions they may have.
4. Use Emphasis Wisely
Just like in text, you can put emphasis on especially important words in your call. Using this wisely will help you sound more passionate and improve your chances of convincing the prospect.
5. Simplify Options
Mentioning an entire laundry list of options and product features could confuse buyers and make it harder to decide. Only present the purchase options that fit the prospect.
6. Adopt Smart Product Positioning
Don’t sell products, sell solutions. Position yourself as a problem solver that can get rid of a customer’s pain points to make the purchase decision easier.
7. Get Emotional
Humans are, by nature, emotional creatures. Leverage nostalgia, sentimental attachments, and other emotional triggers that may convince a person to buy your product or service.
8. Clarify the Product’s Value
If you’re in a field with many competitors, you also need to clarify how your product stands out from the competition. Explain how your product provides extra value that makes it worth the purchase over the alternative.
9. Empower Customers
People hate being railroaded into a purchase decision. Aim to nudge a prospect into purchasing your product or service by giving them enough information and freedom to make the final decision themselves.
10. Serve Hot, Not Cold
Research your prospects before calling them. Even if you’re cold-calling, come armed with the most basic information about your prospect so you’re not flying blind into the call.
11. Observe, Record, and Predict
Listening is as important as talking when it comes to sales calls. Listen closely about what the prospect needs, note them down, and use this info to make an educated guess about what they need. This way, you can offer a personalized solution that directly addresses their pain points.
Sales calls are all about establishing trust with the prospective client, imparting product knowledge, and convincing them to buy your product or service. Even if you can’t close the deal on the call itself, you can still leave the door open for future sales.
One of the most important things to do before making a sales call is to know who you’re calling. People.ai helps you take a closer look at your buyer personas so you meet with the right people, provides up-to-date revenue intelligence, and so much more. Schedule a free demo today for more information.
Sales Calls FAQs
Does cold calling still work?
Most businesses and decision makers like it when businesses make the first move, which is why cold calls still work as a sales strategy. In fact, many businesses prefer sales pitches to be delivered by phone compared to email and online marketing.
However, you need to have a robust strategy when conducting cold calls so your prospective clients don’t end the call before you deliver your sales pitch. Cold calling isn’t about closing the deal right there—it’s about buying enough time so they’re more likely to book another meeting with you.
What are the most effective sales techniques?
Some of the best practices when making sales calls include:
- Tell before and after stories to illustrate what your product or service can do.
- Concentrate on what your product does differently compared to competitors.
- Make your prospect the “hero” in their story—use “you” instead of “we” so they feel like they’re the ones solving the problem.
- Find unconsidered needs the prospect may have and how you can solve that issue.
What’s the best time to make sales calls?
The optimal days for sales calls are Wednesdays and Thursdays. These days are the middle of the workweek and most people are deep in work mode, especially compared to Mondays when people are still getting back into the groove after the weekend and Fridays, when people are easing into weekend mode.
Time your calls according to your prospect’s schedule, as well. Some of the best times are early in the morning between 8 and 9 am (after breakfast) and between 2 and 3 pm (after lunch). At these times, people are more likely to have the time and attention span to take in what you have to say.