One of the most important skills to master in sales is undoubtedly your ability to make effective sales calls, using effective telephone techniques to build rapport, create relationships, solve client problems and convert more business.
The world is constantly evolving. Consider some of the changes which are affecting us right now. The Brexit negotiations are now in full swing and we have a general election within a month. Business communication is also changing and we have to keep up with so many different communication platforms including social media sites and mobile apps. It is sometimes very confusing and we don’t know which is the best way to communicate with our clients.
It can be easy to avoid using the telephone, to send an email or text to catch up with a client, like we do with our friends, but I feel very strongly about the benefits of picking up the telephone and having a conversation. If you develop your telephone skills and fine tune the way you approach calls with your clients, it will bring you great rewards. It is still the quickest, most efficient and immediate form of communication. You just need to make sure you are being your most effective when you make calls.
Read My Top Tips for Making More Successful Sales Calls
1. Before picking up the phone, do some research!
- Study all information you have about this client and any business history with you.
- Review contact names and job titles and check in LinkedIn.
- Make sure you know what business the company is in and review their web site.
- Try making a separate research call to find more and check your intelligence is correct before calling your contact.
2. Set out your objectives!
- You need to have clear idea of what you want to achieve as this will form the basis of your call and give you structure.
- When you do speak with your contact, ensure you know what you want to happen; whether it’s an appointment, to book a showround or find out what event they are planning next.
- The psychology of this will get you results. You will come across with confidence, and purpose and that will show the client how professional you are.
- Make sure your objectives are achievable; 2-3 key points.
- Be prepared to be flexible depending on the contact’s reactions and answers to your questions during the call.
3. Work towards your objectives with Open Questions
- Convert your previously set objectives into questions, for example:
- How familiar are you with this hotel/venue?
- What factors are most important to you regarding this event?
- Tell me more about what you have in mind for this event
- Talk me through your requirements/preferences for your event
- What key factors will influence which venue you choose?
- Which other venues have you used before and why?
- Where else are you considering?
- Always react to your contact’s answers and get the conversation flowing to improve your fact finding.
4. Plan your introduction and opening line!
- Your introduction is vital and will make or break your success with this call.
- Plan what you are going to say using some common ground.
- Consider something which links you and your contact together, in order to get his/her attention right at the start.
- Introduce yourself using your first name only and where you are calling from.
- Consider the pace and speed of your contact’s voice in the first minute. If he/she is talking fast then match their pace in order to build better rapport.
5. Prepare a voicemail message!
- Most senior contacts either screen their calls so your call may go to VM. Be prepared to leave a message that will make them want to call you back.
- State clearly who you are and where you are from in an informal manner, eg: “Melanie from Stately Manor”, not “Melanie McMullon-Cash from a hotel called Stately Manor Hotel and Resort”.
- Clearly state what they can potentially get out of having a conversation with you. Never say “What I want is…” or “I wanted to…” They are not interested in what you want, it has to be important to them.
- Consider a key reason for them to take your call when you ring back. Don’t ask them to call you back. Leave your number as a backup but take the initiative to take this conversation forward with them.
6. Ensure you have your crib sheet!
- Have a crib sheet with key information in front of you.
- This will increase your confidence and translate down the telephone.
- Include key product information about your business, core points you want to get across, key benefits over your competitors, some endorsements or testimonials and answers to any objections you might come across.
- However, be aware of and avoid just giving lots of information about your venue.
- Make sure you “cherry pick” key points that are relevant to this client and call.
7. Closing the call and agreeing next steps!
- When your contact sounds interested and there clearly is potential, choose the most suitable close whether it be to offer a visit to the venue, sending out information, making an appointment to visit the company, hold the relevant space or agree when you should follow up again.
- Never leave the next action in your contact’s hands, always suggest the next step.
- Use the “What I will do then is ……..” assertive close rather than the closed question close.
- “Would it be alright if I call you next week?” should be, “I will call you next Wednesday to check how things are progressing and agree what happens next”
8. Be in the right frame of mind!
- Plan to make calls in a place where you won’t be easily disturbed.
- Choose an easy one to start with to get into the flow of these sales calls
- Ensure your head is in the right place. What gives you the right to call them? How are you going to make a change in their world?
- This is a whole subject of belief, but if you are not there yet, any success you have will be just luck, rather than you having the potential to win someone around.
- When your positioning is right, there is no sale, there is just a meeting of minds, a match-making solution.
9. Professional not Pestering!
- This approach can be used when you have taken the relationship to a point where your call is not being returned.
- It is important to remember that you may be calling your client at a time when they are busy with other priorities in their business and considering a hotel/venue is just not on their current agenda.
- When you leave a message, position this phrase in between a soft sentence such as, “I don’t want to become a nuisance so I won’t call again.”
- Follow it up with conviction and leave your number clearly in case they want to call you back.
- If you show professionalism and confidence, they may very well call you back asking for your help when they are ready to book something!
I trust that this will prove to be a useful set of tips that you can use today and beyond to improve your sales call techniques and help you make contact with and convert key business opportunities.
You may like to consider joining one of my interactive workshops to develop your sales skills further, including fun and illuminating role plays, which will enable you to transfer those new skills learnt back into daily life. I can run specific workshops in your business or join one of my cost effective open courses I run in conjunction with Marketing Manchester (from £99.00 per person for a full day).
Courses include: Enquiry Handling Excellence, Showround and Negotiation Excellence, Developing a Sales Culture in your Business, Sales Research and Business Development Excellence and Leadership and Management Excellence. You can book on these courses via Eventbrite.
Call or email to find out more – T: 07790 499779 E: firstname.lastname@example.org