Gemma Harding presents some handy tips and tricks for keeping people interested during a sales call.
1. Promise to keep it short and sweet
Most people won’t mind taking a few minutes to answer a call, but they’d prefer to know they won’t be stuck on the line for half an hour.
Starting your call off with a promise to keep it short and sweet can help stop people from making excuses and hanging up.
You may end up going a little over time in your pitch but, once you’re midway, you’ll probably be allowed to finish or at least call back if the person is busy.
2. Make a personal connection as quickly as possible
If you’re making a call to someone you’ve spoken to in the past, find a way to make a personal connection as quickly as you can.
For example, you can lead in by saying: “I thought of you as soon as this offer came up” or “I was thinking about our last call when…”
You’ll have to remember some genuine details of your last conversation, though – if you can’t, it will simply sound like sales patter.
3. Compliment your customer before pitching your product
Never ask a potential customer anything without giving them something first.
That something could be a word of thanks, a compliment, some useful information or helpful advice – but whatever it is, make sure it’s real.
If you’re being insincere, most people will be able to tell that it’s only part of your pitch. However, if you can give something of value – and give it honestly – most people will be flattered and respond positively. It’s human nature.
4. Provide genuine choices to help boost engagement
Whatever you’re selling, plan your call carefully before making it and consider how you’re going to target your product to your specific audience.
If you’re requesting something, make your request as specific as possible but always give options for how people can answer.
If they are given genuine choices, people will be more engaged in the conversation and won’t feel they’re being pressured by hard-sell tactics.
5. Save your breath for the closing stretch
While you may be keen to get through your pitch without taking up too much of the person’s time, it’s a mistake to rattle on without listening first.
Ideally, the early stages of your call should involve asking questions and listening carefully to the answers. That will draw the person in and you can then do more of the talking towards the back end of your call.
If you launch in with a long sales pitch from the start, people are likely to switch off – so engage first, listen carefully and save your breath for the closing stretch.
6. Adapt your strategy to meet the needs of the individual
A phone call is very different from a face-to-face meeting – you can’t see the other person’s facial expressions or read their body language, so you have to use your ear to judge how your call is going down.
Ask questions as you proceed to make sure they’re still engaged and following what you’re saying. If you detect impatience in their voice, change your tack rather than simply speeding up.
In addition, be sure to pause so you don’t talk over the other person – give it a few seconds after they finish before you follow up.
7. Don’t get bogged down in the details
Making a sales call is a delicate balancing act – you need to simplify what may be a complex issue without getting bogged down in the details.
At the same time, you don’t want to talk down to your audience or mislead them. Sometimes the best way is to use a phone call to get someone interested, then follow up with an email that offers more details. Once they’ve had time to read your email and absorb the contents, call again to close.
8. Be positive and express your gratitude
If you’re positive in your attitude, people won’t mind taking your call.
Express your gratitude to whoever you’re calling – for taking time out from a busy schedule or for providing helpful information – and you’ll likely get a good response in return.
Telling someone how grateful you are will make them feel valued – and it’s hard to be rude to someone who’s so upbeat!
With thanks to Gemma Harding at CallCare