By: Michael Hamelburger, CEO of Sales Therapy
Generally, people think that selling over the phone is easy since you’re basically reading from a script. When the call has ended, do it again for other prospects in the lineup for the day, then rinse and repeat.
It may sound so simple, but there’s more to it than that. It is important to master a few basic sales skills before you can sell on the phone. Let’s dig deeper.
How to Sell Over the Phone
Most sales reps started their career with face-to-face selling. They became really good at it over time. Face-to-face selling meant REAL selling — meeting the buyer in person, pitching your products and services with a live demo, all in the hopes of closing the sales.
In order to sell over the phone, you need to master a few basic sales skills about confidence, attitude, and tone. As a sales representative, this guide will keep your head in the right place and help you avoid getting discouraged. If you’re selling over the phone, you’re going to get a lot of hang-ups. It’s important to be able to shake it off and call the next person on your list, on a daily basis. Rejections and frustrations will wash you out if you cannot handle them. It’s sad but true, most salespeople quit because of this exact reason.
Nevertheless, here is a framework guide you can use to start learning how to sell over the phone:
In order for you to be successful as a sales rep, you must build your confidence early on in your career. Like most salespeople, you may not have much of it when you start, but you can build up your confidence in two ways: Belief and Action.
Build your belief/self-confidence
Are you personally bad at selling? Do you find yourself stuttering, losing your place in the script, looking around for cheat sheets, etc.? Frustration, anxiety, and worry wash you down?
We have all felt washed down or frustrated at some point in our lives. Still, you can sell successfully. Like any other attitude, self-confidence can be learned. Practice will help you become more confident, and in turn, this will increase your ability to sell.
Build your confidence through routines like:
- Using a five-minute session of self-praise each day.
This self-confidence-building technique counters the negative thoughts inside our heads. Override your mind’s messages with praise for what you have done, or what you do, well, instead of allowing it to dictate what it believes. A positive mental climate will boost your self-confidence.
Try to say to yourself, “You did great! You handled that customer’s objections really well!“, or “You did good today! Kudos for a job well done!”
- Using complex techniques to visualize success.
Imagine what it feels like closing a 10k deal or getting praise from a customer.
Build your Confidence with Repeated Action
You may gain belief by attending countless training sessions. It is not uncommon to be randomly picked to attend a training session, and you can gain more confidence and believe in your skills with each session. This will allow you to see how well you can do in sales.
- Practice the skills you learned successfully over and over again to gain confidence.
- Try to better yourself by reading an article in a magazine, something inspirational, or a script from a colleague.
- Get feedback and coaching from people in positions to help you gain a thicker skin, strengthen your resilience, and transform you into a better version of yourself.
- Speak with confidence and speak slowly during sales calls.
If you’re learning to sell over the phone, bring a positive attitude to the table. Telephone sales are different from face-to-face sales because the people you’re dealing with cannot see you.
People never lose deals due to their positivity. By having a positive attitude, you will be able to close more deals and talk more people off the fence, and ultimately get more people to buy from you.
- Visualize or make a mental picture of the party on the other side.
- Bring a positive attitude to the table-always!
- Wear a smile and face the mirror when you are feeling down after receiving a barrage of hang-ups to turn your day around.
- Make sure you are polite, well-mannered, and pleasant during the call.
- Be attentive and do not let anyone or any other call interrupt you. When you can’t avoid interruptions ( like your boss calling you on another line), tell the other party you will return the call or request they wait for a few minutes.
- Always remember that your attitude towards the other party will show in the tone, voice, rate of speech, choice of words, and pauses you use in your communication. Therefore, always maintain a positive attitude when you call or receive a call.
Keep your voice down on the phone. If you cannot hear the other party, you might subconsciously raise your voice.
Be careful when you speak because walls have ears. You should avoid criticism, badmouthing, foul language, gossiping, and sharing confidential information over the telephone.
- Keep the call to a reasonable length.
- Follow through on your commitment- whether to call back, send information, or keep them informed.
Your tone of voice matters when you are selling over the phone. Your success depends on this soft sales skill. Don’t be the person who sounds too “sales-y” during the call. When you’re selling over the phone, people naturally smell as if you’re trying too hard. People will truly appreciate your honesty if you are yourself.
The tone of your voice is your greatest asset when selling over the phone.
When you ask for business or formalize an appointment, you may use a tone that communicates firmness. When you are in the discovery phase of a business, you use a tone that communicates, “Tell me more.” It’s also important to use a tone expressing concern when you catch a person at a bad time.
- Make sure you don’t sound fake. Your tone should sound genuine and upbeat. A prospect can praise you for having a conversation with him instead of just “selling the product.”
- Keep an authentic, real, and enthusiastic tone to avoid coming across as a script talking bot and to make yourself more relatable and human.
Top Tips for Selling Over the PhoneWe’ve rounded up some of the best call center sales techniques in order to help you sell over the phone better:
- Be Confident in making calls.
Whether you are making an inbound or outbound call, feeling confident is crucial. Buyers and customers need to be confident that you understand what you’re doing. You should be confident enough to present your product as the perfect solution to a customer’s problem. It’s important to sound like an expert.
There are times, however, when salespeople do outbound sales calls that sound hesitant or fearful. The result is a negative impression of the caller, their company, and their product or service.
For you to be confident, you need to be composed at the beginning of the call. Provide an engaging script with a clear tone and have a solid understanding of the product or service you’re providing. Also, it is helpful to talk with an agent to gain confidence in how you sound and the product you’re selling.
Do these confident phone call tips and everything else will start to happen naturally. Try it –It works!
- Wear a smile while talking. Your customer can definitely hear it on the other end. People will feel more at ease if you smile while speaking, making you seem more confident about everything you say.
- Make your voice slightly louder than usual. You don’t have to yell, just smile and raise your voice a bit.
- Do not assume anything.
It is very common for the person making the call to finish off the statement of the person being called. Customers are only irritated by this, and sometimes even put the phone down. This is not the result the caller is hoping for!
Callers often finish off the customer’s sentence incorrectly, leading to the customer having to correct them and the relationship getting strained. Talk about quickly losing rapport with potential customers. It’s definitely not the outcome we’re looking for!
- Be pleasant, polite, and well-mannered during the call. Let the other party finish their sentence instead of cutting them off. Telephone manners and etiquette are important.
- Be Natural.
Sales representatives are expected to learn a script well enough to repeat it several times throughout the day. Sadly, they make it sound ‘false’. Either they’re reading a script they don’t believe in, or they aren’t taking the time to learn what they’re supposed to say, so they don’t sound like them. Ultimately customers are looking for sales representatives who sound ‘natural’ and capable of conversing – not a ‘robot’.
- Learn the words you use to describe a new product or service, once you are comfortable with the words they will sound more natural.
- Put your own voice inflections and tonality into the script so it sounds more like you.
- Be natural. Do not sound robotic, which dehumanizes and depersonalizes conversations.
- Don’t be too cheerful and enthusiastic about your product or service- overdoing it makes you appear too ‘sales-y’. Being too enthusiastic or cheery turns people off. Your customer will appreciate your modest enthusiasm as you demonstrate your belief in the benefits of buying your product.
- Listen to your customers attentively.
Making a connection in a conversation is all about listening. Expert listeners make the best salespeople.
Listening to your prospects is crucial to avoiding miscommunication. When we interrupt or interject quickly, this can cause them to be confused about the reason for your call. Sales reps often forget to practice “Active Listening” to their clients. Talking overly causes the prospect to lose interest because they feel they are not being heard enough. Give your prospect a chance to speak, it will benefit you both.
It’s also a good idea to clarify and paraphrase the customer’s comments. Moreover, things like ‘uh-huh’, and ‘I see’ also help to combat pure silence on your end of the phone. A salesperson should use such noises to assure the client of their focus and understanding. It helps them better understand themselves. Customers are more likely to purchase when they feel understood.
- Make each call interesting.
Imagine saying the same things over and over again… It’s likely that you’ve repeated the script 65 times already today.
You sound tired and robotic, and prospects can tell. However, this is the first time they have heard of it! Do they not deserve the best effort you can give, rather than the bored and tired sounds you just wing it to get through?
5 Phone Sales TipsWith the right mindset, attitude, and techniques, here are some of the 5 phone sales tips that can contribute to your sales process success:
- Do not call the prospect twice on the same day
Don’t be afraid to call back or follow up on a call. It is possible that your prospects are too busy to return your call. That said, be persistent without coming off as “too annoying”. Ensure you get through to your prospects by leaving a few days between calls or changing the time at which you reach out.
Nobody enjoys receiving a robocall from the same number twice a day or every Tuesday at 3 pm. They will eventually begin to expect it, so they will avoid you. Don’t make your calls predictable; just make them random so they can’t expect it.
- Do your homework–research!
If you don’t research your prospect, you may be turned down for one of two reasons:
- You cannot deliver value if you don’t know who your target is and what they do.
- You only care about what you can get from them, not who they are and what they do.
Your prospects will appreciate you taking the time to learn about things that matter to them, such as a recent achievement or award they received. Additionally, if you don’t do some research, you cannot prescribe the right product/solution. Usually, a prospect will pick this up since you will jump right into your pitch without mentioning anything about their company. Thus, getting to know your prospects should be a priority. They will appreciate it.
- Sort your calling list every day.
Sorting your call list should be one of your first tasks in the morning. We found it effective to sort by the last call date first, and then by those with a specific follow-up date assigned. You can easily complete this task if you are using CRM.
- Practice your pitch.
Nobody is born with the perfect pitch. It takes a lot of practice to become a master.
You will become more confident as you practice.
- Plan your script, but don’t recite it.
- Be sure to practice your presentation and infuse your own twist until you sound confident and natural.
- Practice the sales presentation backward, and practice answering awkward questions from a potential customer.
- Role-play with colleagues in your office. Seek feedback.
- Record your call. Listen for mistakes or areas for improvement.
- Engage the prospect in your presentation, ask them questions, and get small commitments along the way.
- Don’t wing your presentation, practice it over and over.
- Listen More
Do not make your calls about yourself. Instead, listen to your prospect’s pains and how your product might be able to help. Talking too much will eventually lose their interest, and they will either avoid you or ignore you entirely.
If you need any more information, I’m happy to reply as soon as possible.