17 March 2015

5 Insider Secrets To Improving Sales Performance On Calls

Your sales team has myriad ways to contact prospects, from marketing to sending emails to specialized advertising. Ultimately, each of these methods will culminate in what many sales teams dread: the sales phone call. But guess what? It’s possible to start seeing a sales call as an exciting opportunity instead of a dreaded task. These five insider secrets to improving sales performance on calls can help you gain confidence in your ability to make sales calls.

1. Build A Sales Process

If you have no sales process, you’ll default to your prospect’s process—which usually means no sale. It only makes sense to plan for every call by creating a template of what you’re going to say instead of giving your potential customer control of the call. Here are some important aspects of an effective call that you can use to make your sales process template:

  • Make sure you’re positioning your call at the best-possible time for the prospect. It’s important to ask for permission before you steamroll them with a sales pitch that’s going to frustrate them and get you a quick “no.”
  • Offer them an upfront contract for the call. Here’s what we mean.
  • Get them interested. Talk benefits, not features.
  • Talk about price. This is critical to them, so introduce the price discussion up-front (but don’t jump right in to pricing). You should make it clear at the beginning of your sales call that you know the cost of your product is imperative to their decision-making process, and you’ll be happy to go into detail and answer any questions a bit later.
  • Investigate the decision-making process. Find out who’s involved in the process and how they approach it. This will give you a good idea of who you really should be focusing your call toward, and how you can frame your benefits for the person or people who will ultimately make the decision.
  • Plan to discuss the close and implementation of your product. Once you’ve shown the features, put them at ease over the fulfillment angle.

2. Show Interest

This one seems obvious, doesn’t it? However, it’s amazing how many sales teams forget this critical aspect of selling, especially over the phone. This is critical, because your customers know the difference, even when they can’t see you face-to-face. Here are actionable items you can use to make sure your team is conveying interest the way they should be.

  • Make smiling a priority—even on the phone. It makes a difference!
  • Establish an emotional connection with the person on the other end of the phone. At the end of the day, a personable demeanor can be the deciding factor in who a potential customer chooses to partner with.
  • Record your calls, so you and your salespeople can review them together. You’ll get an unbiased, complete look at how they really performed and what they actually sounded like to the customer.

3. Take Notes On Every Call

One of the biggest secrets to improving sales performance on calls is to take thorough notes of every interaction. Write down every objection, every personal detail they share (so you don’t forget names or important anecdotes), and both their expressed high-level business goals and the immediate results they want.

Once you’ve finished your call, review your notes and give yourself action points. Write down goals for improvement, including what you want to say and do differently next time. If you couldn’t fully answer any questions, spend time to research the answers now, and follow-up with the prospect as soon as possible.

Keep your notes in a file on your computer, so you can access them easily to review and benchmark your progress.

4. Show Conviction

If you don’t believe that your product or system can help a customer, there’s no chance they will actually believe it. It’s important to not only be interested in your call, but to show conviction in what you’re saying. That means you can’t be nervous, jittery, or afraid. It also means you must be an expert in what you’re selling.

Stay on the cutting edge of your industry. Follow industry blogs, network with your peers, and consider yourself a constant work-in-progress, By seeking out knowledge, you’ll give your customers the benefit of having an expert they can call on who not only knows what they’re talking about, but believes in it.

5. Practice Your Calls & Drill Your Scripts

To gain confidence and really feel like the expert you are, you must practice your sales calls. It’s a non-negotiable. Take time every day to drill your scripts and review your notes. Work on places that have seemed shaky to you previously based on what you’ve written down. Practice, practice, practice using recorded calls. And keep on calling! Prospects are your best trainer, and the more you calls you make, the more comfortable you’ll feel in every situation.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the things that will help your sales team improve aren’t out-of-reach or secrets only highly-specialized organizations use—they simply require a knowledge of what’s going on and a dedication to improving. By using every sales call your employees make as an opportunity to learn more and improve, you’ll improve sales performance over the phone—and in every other sales situation you encounter.