Inside sales are growing faster than ever -- over 300% faster than outside sales -- which means a successful phone strategy is key to closing deals and making new customers.
But making sales calls is never easy. Even the most experienced salespeople can have sales call reluctance. From having doubts about your performance to taking rejection or hang-ups personally, it’s easy to get tripped up and lose sight of your goals.
When in doubt, take some time to troubleshoot your sales techniques and find out what you could be doing better to improve your results.
There are many different strategies you can use to sell over the phone more effectively.
From building a more confident mindset, to incorporating new tools into your sales call routine, here are 9 tips to help you sell over the phone more successfully:
Use a sales dialer.
One of the most effective ways to improve your sales calls is to use a sales dialer. Along with the rapid growth of inside sales has come a range of new technologies you can use to speed up the dialing process and keep better records of your sales calls.
With dialers that enable you to make as many as 150 calls per hour, “my hand is tired” is no longer an excuse to stop dialing!
What exactly do sales dialers do? First, they increase your talk time by cutting down on the amount of time it takes to move to a new call.
For example, OnCourse’s built-in dialer allows you to make a phone call with one click, as well as schedule follow-up reminders and leave pre-recorded voicemails.
You can use predictive dialing tools to screen for unanswered calls and hang-ups, so your sales reps don’t have to waste time waiting for an answer.
Many sales dialers also allow you to place your call from a local number, increasing the chances that your prospect will pick up the phone.
Finally, when you use a sales dialer with a CRM, you’ll be able to preview your records before a call and automatically log the details of each customer interaction.
Sales dialers don’t take all of the uncertainty out of sales calls, but they reduce a lot of the friction and make it easier for sales reps to focus on what they do best.
Dress for the occasion.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but as more and more sales reps work from home, it’s important to get into a professional headspace before making a call. Just because you aren’t video-conferencing doesn’t mean it’s OK to wear pajamas to work.
Many sales dialers make it easy to work remotely, using VoIP tools to place calls from your mobile phone or from your home office.
But don’t let that impact your sales game. Trick your mind into being a more effective salesperson by dressing the part.
Whether you wear a suit and tie for a phone call with a C-suite executive, or you make a habit of dressing in business casual for cold calls, wear something that makes you feel professional while still feeling relaxed and comfortable at your desk.
According to Abraham Rutchick at California State University, “putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world.”
Other techniques include striking a power pose, improving your posture, and putting a smile on your face. A genuine smile uses involuntary muscles that make you sound friendlier over the phone. If you need to, set up a mirror so you don’t forget!
Call at the right time -- and more than once.
One of the biggest mistakes that a sales rep can make is to not call back. You might be surprised how many sales reps simply give up after a single try!
While not every qualified lead is going to result in a sale, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition simply by getting the timing right.
Research shows that Tuesdays through Thursdays are the best days for conversion for B2B sales, but even that’s just a guide.
Use your CRM or sales dialer to make sure that you’re calling at the right time for your prospect’s time zone, as well as any personal preferences they may have.
Depending on your prospect, you can send a heads-up by email or SMS to let them know when they can expect your call.
Even high-level executives will answer your call if you catch them at the right time or build up a rapport with them by email first.
And remember: don’t be afraid to call back. Your prospects may be busy, and a missed call is not necessarily a “no.”
That said, be persistent without being annoying. Leave a few days between each call, and know when it’s time to give up.
You can use a CRM like OnCourse to keep track of how many calls you’ve made and to schedule a follow-up reminder.
Prepare your script.
Next, prepare your script for those times when you do get a prospect on the phone. The important thing is to sound natural, while also being ready for any scenario.
Start by looking over your prospect’s records in your CRM to see if they already have a purchase history or any other prior experience with your company. Showing them that you remember them is a good way to start things off on the right foot.
Make note of their name, and use it early in the conversation. Then, give them time to get familiar with your voice before launching right into your sales pitch.
If you do rely on a script, don’t recite it verbatim. Consider using a flow-chart or template rather than a word-for-word script.
This will allow you to adapt more easily to the conversation and tailor your sales pitch for each customer. In particular, have some talking points prepared to address any concerns that your prospect is likely to raise.
Be familiar with some of the most common sales objections -- such as not having the authority to make a decision, or not wanting to be locked into a contract -- and have a response. Objection handling is a big part of making successful sales calls.
Speak slowly and make time to listen.
At the same time, remember that this is a discussion, not a debate. Your job is not to deliver a lecture, but to make a genuine connection with your customer. That means listening as much as you speak, and making sure they feel heard.
Gong.io reports that the best sales reps pause more, ask more questions, and use fewer words per minute that the average sales rep.
That might go against your expectations of how a sales rep “should” behave on a call, but it makes sense when you think about customer psychology. People respond best when you match their tone, speed, and conversation style.
Besides, if you don’t listen, you won’t know what your customer actually wants. Pay attention to subtext to find out what they really mean, and be honest about how your product can or cannot help them.
With that in mind, it’s important that you maintain control of the call and have a clear idea of where you want it to go.
If a conversation is dragging on and going nowhere, don’t be afraid to thank them for their time and let them know how they can reach you.
Another step that many sales reps overlook is taking notes. If you’re nurturing long-term leads, then it’s important to keep a record of each phone call so that when you follow-up with them again, you’ll know exactly where you left off.
This is especially important if you’re working on a large team and share your leads with other sales reps.
Taking notes doesn’t mean writing down every word your prospect says and getting distracted from the conversation. In fact, you should use your CRM to automatically make a log of every call, and in some cases, make a recording of it.
What you can do is take a moment after each call to update their record with any new information that might be useful.
Did they mention an upcoming vacation? Remind yourself to ask them about it the next time you’re on the phone with them. Do they prefer to be called at a certain time of day, or on a different phone number? Write it down so you don’t forget.
Make clear notes that other sales reps can understand in case they take over contact with your prospect in the future.
Use your time wisely.
Most sales reps don’t spend nearly enough time selling, and more time than they need to on administrative tasks. It doesn’t matter how good you are on the phone if you only spend a third of your day on sales calls.
That’s why it’s so important to use the right sales dialer and CRM. Whether you use it to automate data entry or schedule follow-up phone calls, a CRM like OnCourse makes it easy to manage your time wisely and increase your productivity.
You can also use built-in reporting tools to track your metrics and find out which sales techniques are giving you the best return on your time.
What works for one sales rep may not work for you. Don’t burn yourself out making 150 calls per hour if it turns out that cold calls aren’t your strong suit.
Use email and SMS to warm up your leads, and separate your prospecting calls from your sales calls so that you’re in the right mindset for each one.
Leave a callback number.
Whether or not you make contact with your prospect, always leave a way for them to get in touch with you. They may change their mind after a sales call, or they may be encouraged to call back after listening to an engaging voicemail.
You can use a sales dialer like OnCourse to leave pre-recorded voicemails, saving you the time and trouble of recording each one individually.
Not only that, but you can choose from multiple recordings, leaving the one that’s most likely to interest a particular lead.
Why bother with voicemail when you can just try calling again later? Well, if you call too many times, a customer may recognize your number and decide to block it.
A short and sweet voicemail (no more than 20-30 seconds) gives them time to consider your offer and decide whether to call back.
You can also leave a callback number in other places, such as in your email signature or on a widget that prospects encounter when they visit your website.
In fact, the biggest growth in inside sales is coming from inbound calls, with as many as 73 billion calls to businesses coming from mobile search in 2018. Experts say you have a five-minute window to respond to a lead before you lose it!
Replay your phone calls.
The last tip for improving your phone strategy is to play back your phone calls. Yes, it can be awkward listening to the sound of your own voice, but there’s no better way to understand how a customer experiences your call than to listen to it yourself.
First, if you are recording your sales calls, make sure that you’re doing so in accordance with local laws. That may be as simple as playing a “quality assurance” message before a call, but in other cases you may need to get verbal permission.
Then, go back over your phone call and take notes over what went right or wrong. Work on eliminating verbal tics like “um” or “uh” and look out for any awkward pauses.
How confident do you sound throughout the call? Can you work on improving your tone of voice or active listening skills?
For additional improvement, ask your manager to listen to one of your sales calls and coach you through any weak points. Or, ask your coworkers to listen to each other’s calls and provide each other with constructive feedback.
Many sales dialers and CRMs have built-in tools for call recording, making it easy to record your sales calls and play them back whenever you need to.
OnCourse can help.
Whether you’re looking for a predictive dialer or a voicemail drop, OnCourse is a sales CRM with a built-in dialer that can help you increase call volume and productivity.
From call recording to SMS sequencing, OnCourse can help you step your sales game while you’re on the phone and after you get off it. Reach out to OnCourse to request a demo and get started implementing these sales tips today!