Time is valuable for everyone! Sales calls need to be efficient, effective, and productive for both the seller and the buyer. The seller has the obligation to provide value and must convey it at every opportunity, whereas the buyer invariably undermines the same. Failure to convince the buyer of value will result in the sales call not converting.

Rarely does the buyer devote sufficient time for sales to make the pitch, especially if it is a cold call. However, successful sellers have intuitively created an armory of tools that help them make productive sales calls.

The success of a sales call is founded on preparation. Doing research, prospecting for and qualifying leads, identifying decision makers, are all pre-requisites of the sales call. Having done the pre-sales effectively, salespersons can set up the sales call and with the following pro tips ensure better utilization of opportunities.

Anatomy of a sales call

1.Set call agenda and expectations

Setting the call agenda and expectations sets the tone for the call. This could be done prior to the call itself or has to be done at the beginning of the call itself. It demonstrates that you value the buyer’s time and also brings focus to the meeting.

2.Show genuine interest

Practice active listening during the call and understand the prospect’s pain points or needs. Ask open ended questions to prompt the prospect to elaborate and allow them to explain their challenges. A 60/40 listen/talk ratio is a fair guide for a salesperson.

3. Use positive language

Be positive and cheerful throughout the conversation. Even when the prospect only hears the salesperson’s voice during a call, prospects can sense the cheerful and positive disposition.
In sales, what you say matters, but so does how you say it. Phrasing your persuasive arguments rightly will help gaining the prospect’s trust. Use, value words like benefit, guarantee, investment and avoid cost, expense etc. when conveying your USP.

4.Don’t get defensive

Going with the adage, “Customer is always right”, when the prospect points out any shortcomings in the product or service specifically, it is important to acknowledge the same at the same time not to get defensive. Avoid justifications, instead focus on the strengths of the product or service as it stands today. However, this provides an insight into what the customer wants and could be the pain point that could be explored as an opportunity.

5.Restate pain points

Once the prospect’s pain points are understood, restate them to get clarity and concurrence that the product or service could potentially solve that pain point. This helps to prove that you were listening attentively to the prospect’s pain points and will help gain the prospects trust. There is no greater comfort than to know someone cares.

6.Illustrate Value – what’s in it for the prospect

When presenting, make sure it is balanced in features and benefits and how each adds value to the prospect. “Tell, don’t sell” is a well-known sales mantra that will ensure the prospect is open minded about the product or service.

7.Highlight what sets you apart from competitors

There would be many players in the market that offer similar products or services. While your product might have a solution for your prospect’s pain point/s, your competitors will also most likely offer the same solution to the problem. It’s very important to identify and differentiate by illustrating the unique selling proposition. Analyse the competition and be updated on any features or advantages they might provide and have a strategy to rhetorically show the value proposition of the product or service.

8.Demonstrate with statistics and/or stories

Most buying decisions are emotional rather than rational. However, in order to justify to themselves and others, prospects rely on statistics about the product or service. It would be prudent to highlight statistics but refrain from becoming too technical. Alternatively, a story about how the product or service helped another customer would be more memorable, relatable and convincing and can persuade the prospect into taking action.

9.Clearly outline next steps, and when to follow-up.

Towards the close of the call, state the next steps each would undertake. These could be additional material, data, references, etc. with clear action items and deadlines. Have everyone’s ‘yes’ on the next steps, deadlines and action items and send an email summarizing the call. Just knowing what happens next makes things a lot easier for everyone involved.

10.Record and review calls

It has become standard practice to record calls for quality and training purposes. Review all calls periodically to analyze and finetune the process. Learn from mistakes and correct them. See what works and emulate them in subsequent calls.

In Conclusion

With the right tools in your armory, every sales call leaves the prospect to open-up a little more and with the right engagement, follow-up and a bit of personal charm, sales become just that much easier.

Using a quality CRM, every step of the sales process becomes a breeze, where research, qualification, touchpoints, tracking and follow-ups become systematized and transparent.

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