Whether you rely on warm or cold leads to generate new business, a phone call is still one of the best ways to land a meeting with a prospect, or even make a sale outright. Sales research suggests, in fact, that well over one-third (41%) of salespeople consider the phone their most effective selling device.
Ready to turn your phone into an indispensable sales tool? Here are 4 tips to get you started.
1. Choose the right time to call
According to Indeed, the best times to get a favourable response from a cold or unscheduled phone call are:
- Mid-to-late morning. Between 10 and 11 am, for example, you’re more likely to catch a prospect after they’ve settled into their workday, and before they’ve started wrapping up for lunch
- Near the end of the workday. Many people are reluctant to start new tasks late in the day, making 4 to 5 pm an ideal time to take your call
- Wednesdays or Thursdays. Calling mid-week lets you avoid Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays when people are often focused on catching up and organizing new work, or winding jobs down for the weekend
Even if you can’t schedule every sales-related phone call during these periods, you’ll have more success connecting with new leads and prospects if you’re persistent about following up at other times.
2. Speak with a decision-maker
To better your odds of getting past receptionists, assistants, and other gatekeepers tasked with guarding executive agendas, make it a point to always:
- Sound confident. Providing both your first and last name when you call, for example, helps create trust and shows you have nothing to hide
- Establish a rapport. Don’t be afraid to ask the person on the other end of the line how their day is going—a friendly, professional tone can go a long way to gaining information about the best time or way to reach a decision-maker
- Ask for prospects by their first name. To inspire a sense of familiarity, try asking if “Jane” or “John” is around or in the office today
Remember: the more you can discover about a decision-maker before you call, the easier you’ll find it to convince them and their gatekeeper you have something of value to offer.
3. Keep your call results-focused
Once you’ve made contact, show respect for your prospect’s time by getting straight to the reason for your call.
Using a cold-call script is a great way to stay on track and ensure that you:
- Immediately clarify how you can impact your buyer’s business or role
- Highlight key results your product has helped similar customers achieve
- Cite relevant, numbers-based outcomes that show you’ve researched your prospect’s needs
Rather than just saying your widget is a best-seller, for example, describe how it can solve a specific challenge with a statement like, “My widget reduced XYZ’s overhead costs by 20% last month, and I think it would be an equally great fit for you.”
4. Be prepared to ask and answer questions
Not only do 89% of salespeople say selling today is more about listening than talking, buyers agree that one of the most important elements of a positive sales experience is a rep who listens to their needs.
Once you’ve summed up what you can do for your prospect, make sure you:
- Ask pertinent follow-up questions (for example, “I’ve heard from other manufacturing clients that X is a problem. Is that something you’ve been experiencing too?”)
- Listen carefully to your prospect’s responses
- Directly address any queries or concerns they express
It’s equally important that you wrap up every phone conversation with a solid call to action. While this could include scheduling a follow-up call, demo, or sales presentation—or setting the start date for a free product trial—it might simply mean asking for the sale then and there.