The quality of your sales calls depends on your ability to prepare for them. Salespeople are often pressed for time, so they end up neglecting important activities like planning. This ultimately costs you time down the line by making for an unsuccessful call and wasted minutes on the phone. To raise the likelihood of callbacks and sales, you must put in the time to pre-plan every single call. If you can train your reps to do this consistently and efficiently, their results will skyrocket.
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There are three basic categories of sales calls, and each one will demand a different kind of preparation:
A cold call, of course, is an unscheduled introductory call to the client. When you are preparing for one of these, you should focus on research, research, research. You want to be as informed and knowledgeable going in as possible. Ask yourself who the prospect is, what they want, what their pain points are, why you are calling them, what outcome you want to achieve….
Follow-up calls, or warm calls, occur when you’ve already touched base with the prospect and they have shown interest. At this stage, the emphasis is less on research and more on learning more about the client’s specific needs and building a relationship with them. For example, now might be a good time to share something you have in common
This call is usually where you close the deal. More people may be involved at this stage than just the initial prospect. You want to rehearse the details beforehand so everything flows smoothly and you don’t run into any last-minute hiccups.
Going in, you should know exactly what you are trying to achieve through this call and what outcome would be desirable. This might just be scheduling another call, setting a meeting, being introduced to a senior decision-maker, or it might mean closing the deal. Then come up with a rough script that is geared towards helping you meet this outcome. During a sales call, you always want to know what you are doing next and why you are doing it.
This is probably the most important element of the pre-call process. You want to become an expert on the prospect’s company, its culture, the challenges it is facing, its values, its financials... Find out who the senior decision-makers are so you can get in contact with them as soon as possible.
You also want to find out everything you can about the person you are calling and their role in the organization. You can try to uncover details like their age, career path, and background. Are they an established veteran or an up-and-comer? All of this information can help make your
Especially in the cold-calling phase, it is key to make a good first impression and immediately capture your prospect’s attention. To do this, you should have a standard introduction that has been proven to work often, and modify it according to your prospect and their needs. The first few seconds of a sales call are often among the most nerve-wracking, so it can help to have a rehearsed script so you don’t have to think too much. This is one of the parts of the call that you have the most control over.
Research shows that asking at least 11 questions per sales call can increase sales by up to 70%! The core of a good call is asking the right questions. Before each call, you should jot down a list of about 15 possible questions, tailored to the individual and the organization in question. Asking good questions helps you get to the core of your prospect’s problems and understand how you can help solve them, as well as showing the prospect you are engaged and knowledgeable and getting them to open up and create the basis of a relationship.
Being unable to handle a prospect’s objections can throw a wrench in the best of sales calls. Thankfully, this is absolutely something you can prepare for! Check out this article on the eight most common objections in sales and how to tackle them. In addition to studying these frequent cases, you can try to anticipate what sorts of objections your specific prospect might have. List about ten things that you think might be an issue with them, based on the research you have done about them and their company, and prepare answers to each. Of course, you still may be caught off guard, but this practice makes it more likely that you’ll respond with confidence and clarity if issues come up.
The way you plan your sales call can have a major impact on how successful it is. Spend some time thinking about the following questions before making that next phone call to set up an appointment with your prospect. Who are they? What do they want? Where are they in their buying cycle? How does this opportunity fill what I know my prospect wants and needs most at this point in their life or business journey? You should also think through any objections, which might include things like pricing, timing, or other concerns so you’ve got answers ready for them if needed. With these planning steps taken care of ahead of time, all that remains is to get out there and make more sales!
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