The dread of phone prospecting looms large over most sales teams. Even the most resilient salespeople procrastinate their cold calls, and it’s no wonder why. In today’s world of constant caller ID and ignore buttons on cell phones, it’s harder than ever before to get a prospect to answer your call. And even when they answer, it can fell like an uphill battle.
But while many sales gurus would have you believe that phone prospecting is dead, the truth is that, when used correctly, the phone is still the most valuable tool in sales. Period.
The trick is figuring out how to grab your prospect’s attention, gain their trust, keep them on the phone, and get calls back when you’re sent to voicemail. Sound impossible? It’s not.
Check out this video with super easy phone sales tips.
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With a strong strategy and a bit of determination, you can make phone calls, and leave voicemails, that get exactly the response you’re looking for. Here are five keys to making phone calls that actually sell, regardless of your industry. Implement them right now to stop dreading those calls, and start selling every time you dial.
1. Say the opposite of what’s expected.
The research shows that today’s prospects receive fewer phone calls than ever before, but they’re still getting sales calls every single day. The second you begin to sound like any of those other salespeople on the phone, you’re dead on arrival. A wall goes right up, and the prospect can’t hang up soon enough.
It’s time to eliminate the enthusiasm in your voice and be more distinct on the phone. How can you slip under the radar and make the prospect think, “I’m not sure if this is even a salesperson”?
The most effective approach is to say the exact opposite of what the prospect expects you to say. Don’t be salesy or overly cheerful. Greet the prospect with a soft tone, zero urgency and a quiet volume.
2. Be provocative.
One of the best ways to separate yourself from the competition is to be provocative on the phone. Challenge your prospects on the phone when they tell you they’re not interested. Don’t be a pushover. And while you never want to resort to salesy enthusiasm, you do want to let your personality shine through.
The same goes for leaving effective voicemails. When you’re bored or annoyed with leaving voicemails, prospects will hear it in your voice. That’s why it’s important to have a little bit of provocative fun when leaving voicemails. You don’t have to be too serious - look for ways to push the envelope.
Try saying something like, “I’m having a little trouble getting in touch with you. Either you’re really busy or you just want to get rid of me! If it’s the latter, just let me know!”
Showing you’re a likable human being, who simply wants to connect, will increase the likelihood that your prospect will respond and engage with you.
3. Have contingencies.
Most prospects don’t want to stay on the phone with you at first. To make things worse, the really difficult prospects scare off most salespeople within the first few seconds of a call. But if you just hang in there and have a contingency plan for pushing back, you can break through to almost any prospect on the phone.
For example, if a prospect hurriedly says she can’t talk right now, you might say, “Fair enough. But can I ask one last question before I hang up?” A question like this will interrupt the usual pattern of a sales call, and prospects will almost always say “yes” to it. Then you can keep them on the phone with you that much longer.
4. Make commitments in your voicemails.
When leaving a voicemail, always provide a clear next step for interaction. Try something like, “If I don’t hear back from you by Monday, I’ll try you on Tuesday the fifth.”
Then - and here’s the really important part -- follow through with your commitment. Make a note to remind yourself and follow up on the day you said you will. This will show the prospect that you’re committed to having an interaction, and increase the likelihood that you’ll get a response.
5. Be persistent.
Even the most tenacious salespeople are often guilty of giving up after just one or two voicemails. Don’t give in to that desire to quit.
It can take seven to 10 voicemails (or more) before you get a response. Hang in there. Stay organized, and be willing to stay on top of the same prospect for months. Your dedication and commitment will pay off in time.