By Colin Wilson
Key Business Advisors Director
Prospecting for opportunities and selling over the phone is a must for every sales professional. Everyone in a business is involved in sales one way or another, so using the phone to continually create and close opportunities has to be part of your daily routine.
Professional salespeople do a number of things to be successful, but they do the following five things ALL the time, especially when they are using the phone:
1. Successful salespeople make sure they always have a reason to call.
Determine the purpose of your call, and only call for that reason so you hit the mark every time. Make sure your reason to call is linked to a campaign that motivates you and your customer.
If you are not clear about the reason you are calling, you will be stopped by the gatekeeper. So, what is the reason for your phone call? Your purpose and reasons for a phone call could be any of the following:
– Research Call
Call for an appointment
– Follow-up campaign call
– Referral / inbound sales lead
– Demonstration / presentation
– Follow-up call from previous dealings
Next step in the sales pipeline
– Follow up and test the water
– Trial close opportunity to see where it sits in the pipeline
– Ask for the order and get the business
Close the loop on the sale
– Ask for referrals and identify more future opportunities
2. They always promote themselves and their business.
Because successful salespeople (and generally anyone who is successful) believe in themselves, in what they do, in the products and/or services that they offer and how they can make their customers’ lives better, promoting themselves and their business comes naturally to them. If you have confidence in yourself and in what you have to offer, you would more easily recognise opportunities to share with others what you have to offer, and know how to talk about it in a manner that is not “salesy” and in a way that current and potential customers can appreciate. Remember the rules of KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!
3. They always say, “If I could…, would you…?”
Successful sales professionals recognise opportunities and make it easy for customers to buy from them – that is, they are ready for the most common objections. To be successful in prospecting or selling over the phone, be sure you can answer common objections such as:
“I’m not interested.”
“I/we already deal with someone else.”
“I/we do not have the time or the money.”
Make your current and potential customers feel like you are going the extra mile for them by telling them what you could do that would address any misgivings they might have. For example, you can say, “If I could improve your services/save you some money/add better value, would you be interested in…” This is Objection Handling, and you should always have your expected objections written down with solutions to address them.
4. They never assume anything until they know the facts.
Just like anyone else, sales professionals need to do their research to be successful. Before you make a call, find out as much as you can about the person with whom you might be speaking, as well as what they do, what they might need and how you might be of service to them.
5. They will always be closing!
The end result of using the phone is either to sell or to set an appointment with a potential customer so you can identify their immediate needs and what the opportunity is for you. Salespeople set goals and use their sales tool kit to close the sale and achieve their goals. To be successful when using the phone, you need to have a call plan linked to a quality list. Be clear about what differentiates your business from your competitors. Tell a story about what you have done for another customer like them.
Remember, it is a numbers game. Set goals and stay 100% motivated. Do not take things personally and do not let rejection affect your confidence and determination. As author Chellie Campbell says, “The money is in the phone – it’s not ‘Cold Calling,’ it’s ‘Gold Calling!’”