Though ultimately it’s down to the buyer to make the final call on whether or not they purchase, there are things you can do as a salesperson during your sales calls to improve your odds of closing a deal.
How to Make a Sales Call
How do you make a sales call? There’s some science to it, but it’s also a bit of an art form. There are seven steps you should take leading up to and throughout your sales calls to lay the foundation for closing a sale.
In order to prepare for a sales call, you need to do your research. Even if it’s a cold call, you don’t need to go into it cold. Between social media, LinkedIn, and your prospective buyer’s website, you should be able to research your client and the company, along with which person you should be talking to. Before you start dialing, it’s also a good idea to set a goal for yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sale, but it could be booking up a follow up meeting.
Start the call on a positive note! Now is not the time to talk about the bad weather or your stocks doing poorly. Build rapport with your prospect. From your research, you should be able to find some talking points or common ground to form or build your connection and get the conversation flowing.
Finish with the small talk and get to the big talk. Figure out how decisions are made in their organization and who makes them. Are you talking to the right person? Hopefully. If not, can they point you in the right direction? Once you’re talking with the decision maker, ask them about their current vendor for your product or service. Are there any features they are missing? What’s their budget? Do they have needs that aren’t being met?
Dig a little deeper. Figure out what their risk factors are, along with what trends are on the rise or decline in their industry. Ask if they experience certain pain points and show you know their industry experiences. Be specific. The more in tune you are with their industry, the more likely they are to trust you. Ultimately, you can’t tell someone their experience, you have to get them to tell you about their pain points. And then you can swoop in with your solution and solve their problems.
5. Handle Objections
Before you respond to objections, make sure you fully understand their objection. Ask clarifying questions if you need to. Once you understand, help bring them around to the solution with questions that will push them towards the sale. Don’t get defensive!
Keep the focus on the customer and listen more than you talk. Your calls are about how you can help the customer fix their needs. So listen carefully, and then inform the customer of how your solution meets their needs.
Closing your call doesn’t necessarily mean closing a sale. Ask yourself if you’ve accomplished what you initially set out to do with this call. Have you successfully handled any objections from the buyer? Has the buyer indicated that your product would be a good solution for their needs? If you can end the call on a positive note like this, you can give them time to think about it or consult with their team, and then set a follow-up meeting.
Sales Calling Tips
Looking to improve your sales calls? There’s a lot that goes into a successful sales call, from content, to your attitude, to playing the numbers game. Try out these tips on your next call.
Whether it’s tone, balance, or content, there are a lot of conversational factors that can affect how your sales calls go.
1. Start on a positive note. Don’t get people in a negative headspace before you try to sell them something. So put the “good” in good morning or good afternoon. You want them to feel receptive.
3. Balance your conversation. Focus on selling as you much as you are on listening. An analytical study of Gong’s AI sales software found that there are 77% more speaker switches per minute in successful sales calls than in unsuccessful ones. Top sales reps talked just 46% of the time, while listening for 54%.
4. It’s what you say, but it’s also how you say it. Your tone communicates more than the actual words out of your mouth. If your tone is rude or unconfident, or something else a client doesn’t want to hear, they’ll pick up on it and will lose interest. With permission, record your calls, so you can listen back and hear how you sound.
5. Flattery works. Not only do people like to hear nice things, it’s also backed by psychology. Tell someone they’re a great customer and they’ll behave like one. Don’t go overboard though… if you lay it on too thick, it can come across as disingenuous.
6. Be prepared to pivot and adjust your presentation as need be. People won’t always have time to hear your full speil and sometimes you’ll need to get to the point quickly. Some prospects may only be interested in something very specific you have to offer and you need to be able to change your pitch on the fly.
7. Read the call. Interpret how your buyer is feeling. You can (or should be able to) tell when someone is getting annoyed with you. Either change your tone or get off the call. Don’t irritate someone to the point of not doing business with you. Be in it for the long haul. If they’re not in the mood to buy today, they might be next week or month.
8. Be uptone when the call ends, even if it didn’t go the way you had hoped. This will not only leave a good impression on your potential buyer, but will also help your mindset going into your next call.
Hearing objections all day can really wear a salesperson down. It’s totally understandable; no one likes to hear “no,” but one thing that can set you apart from other salespeople is a positive attitude. I know it sounds cheesy, but your mindset can really be a game changer. The following tips are all related to how your good mentality can keep you winning.
1. Screwed up a sales call? Maybe it’s just not a personality match between you and the buyer. Hand it off to a colleague in hopes they can fix it. Let them attempt some damage control and have them ask where it went wrong. Best case scenario: you get some constructive feedback and your company doesn’t lose the sale. Look at it as a learning opportunity.
2. Lose a deal? Don’t wait until you’re in a position to lose a real sale again to figure out what went wrong. Instead, practice in a low-stakes scenario. Roleplay with a team member or your manager to figure out what you could do differently to close the sale.
3. Follow up. It seems obvious, but according to sales expert Grant Cardone, 25% of salespeople only make one phone call and then give up. It will likely take multiple calls to even get them on the phone to simply qualify whether they are a good fit. And after that, most deals are made between the fifth and the eighth call, so persistence is key.
4. Have a student mentality. Be committed to training and learning. Even if you’re a veteran salesperson, there’s always more you can learn. Devote time every day to try to learn something new. Learn about ideas and challenges businesses are having; try to do research before, but it’s also great to ask and build rapport. Questions are important, but you don’t want to interrogate. Make sure to listen well and take notes.
5. When your prospect gives you objections, take the time to acknowledge and understand them. Get back to the problem, and show them how your product or service alleviates any concerns they are having. It’s your job to make them understand, so if they’re still having objections, you’ve got room for improvement.
6. Put the decision in their hands. Yes, you’re selling, but they’re buying. They want to be making an empowered decision, so don’t force them or trick them into buying something they don’t understand. You’re setting yourself up to churn clients down the road if you do this.
It’s a Numbers Game
Not everyone is going to be a buyer. It’s unfortunate, but true. However, there are some things you can do to keep the numbers on your side.
1. Show value. Set your product/service apart from competitors without dragging them down. Add value as quickly as possible to whatever you’re doing. Have case studies ready that are in line with your buyer’s industry. Save the numbers talk until the end of your call, don’t reduce your company to a number before you add value.
2. Sell within your buyer’s limits. Make sure they understand what they’re buying and aren’t overbuying. This will cause them to churn. The time to upsell will come. Would you rather have marginally more money now or consistent income for months? Be strategic about when and how you upsell.
3. Have a pipeline built and be ready to move onto the next one.
Clearly, there is a lot to keep in mind when making a sales call, from the basic how-to to the tips and tricks that will take your calls to the next level. Using a CRM tool like Vendasta’s Sales & Success Centre can help you build a sales pipeline and keep track of all of your communication with prospects.