Making sales calls is one of the inescapable responsibilities of being a business owner and sales person. No matter what you sell or how big your company is or how much success you’ve enjoyed, as the business owner / sales person, you still need to stay actively engaged with the art of selling and finding new business for your company.
Unfortunately, many business owners are falling short in the role of salesperson. Many business owners don’t want to make sales calls, or think that they shouldn’t have to pick up the phone, or are going about sales calls the wrong way.
Here are a few telltale signs that your next sales call will fail:
You’re Too Nervous Sales calls require confidence. But if you’re sounding anxious and stumbling over your words, you’re going to make your prospect uncomfortable, and they will be less likely to trust you. Rehearse your sales pitch in advance. Practice recording yourself while holding the phone. Get your sales pitch down to the point where it feels comfortable and easy to remember; then you’ll be more likely to deliver it with ease and aplomb.
Research shows that it takes your prospects just 7 seconds to decide if they want to stay on the phone with you—or hang up right away. After those 7 seconds pass, they’ll continue to ask themselves if they want to get off the call. This doesn’t stop until they’re fully engaged.
Now, this means that you need an approach to starting a conversation that will both separate you from the hordes of other salespeople out there, and engage your prospects immediately.
So whether you’re making a cold call, responding to a lead, or following up on a referral, you need a step-by-step approach to the openings of all your sales prospecting calls. It needs to be completely scripted out so you never ramble or fumble around.
You’re Too Eager The flipside of a nervous cold call is just as bad — being overly eager. If you’re too eager to get the prospect to agree to a sale or agree to a follow-up meeting, you will make the prospect feel pressured and mistrustful. If the prospect feels like you’re trying to pressure them, they will be skeptical of what you’re selling, and might even hang up. So try not to be too eager. Remember: this sales call is not the end-all, be-all of your sales effort, it is just the start of the process. You don’t have to close the deal on the first call, you just need to see if the prospect is interested, and try to get them to agree to a second call, a meeting, a demo, or whatever the next step of your sales process might be.
You Don’t Know Why You’re Calling Every sales call needs to have a specific goal in mind. You need to know why you’re calling and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, are you asking them to sign up for a product demo? Are you asking them to agree to receive some sales literature for their review? Your sales process should be well organized with several stages to work through; know which stage you’re on and understand the goals for each sales call before you pick up the phone.
Not Starting Every Call with an Objective in Mind Ensure sales teams have an objective in mind when they begin every call. Knowing what you want to achieve when you make the call will put you in a much better position to accomplish your objective.
You Don’t Know Who You’re Talking To Are you sure that you’re talking to the right person at the company that you’re calling? If not, don’t just launch into your sales script — ask questions to make sure you’re talking to the right decision maker that you actually wanted to reach. Sometimes getting the right person on the phone is a more complex and difficult process than ultimately making the sales call.
You Listen to Respond, Rather Than Listen To Understand. Sales isn’t just about you doing the talking and your prospective customer doing the listening. When carrying out a sales pitch be sure to listen to the potential customer. Take stock of what they say and what their own objectives are. Then aim to funnel their objectives into the sale to help achieve your own targets and goals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Challenging Questions Instead of opting for feeble questions that don’t require customers to think, probe into the mind of the customer by asking testing questions. The top performing sales teams aren’t afraid to dig deep and make their prospective customer think.
Clarifying Issues Don’t be afraid to ask a potential customer what they mean if you are unsure about an issue they have raised. Top performing sales people always ask for clarification so they can fully understand the prospects’ queries, concerns and objectives.
Don’t Forget to HEAR When involved in sales pitches, always remember the HEAR model. With HEAR, you practice Humility, Engagement, Authenticity and Responding whenever possible.
Not Being Prepared for Objections Not all sales presentations and pitches run smoothly. Anticipate quips and objectives will rear their head and plan your response to such grievances well in advance.
You Haven’t Done Your Research B2B sales is all about doing your research and finding prospects that are the right fit for what you sell. Just like the old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” you need to spend a lot more time doing research into your prospects and their organizations before you pick up the phone to call.
Make sure this company is really in the right industry, make sure your solution is a good fit, make sure that you’re aligned with each other. Better research leads to better sales calls; without doing your homework, you’re flying blind.
Picking up the phone to make a cold call to a new prospective customer for the first time is not “fun” for most people; it can be frustrating or nerve-wracking. But if you believe in your business, and you want your business to succeed, you need to find a way to keep making sales calls and keep getting better at it by avoiding the 11 sales call mistakes above.
If you would like to know a little more "About Mark", please follow the link for a brief profile view.
Predictable Success can examine your sales processes and deliver an accurate road-map after determining where you’re on track and where you need a course correction. Predictable Success can provide a cost/benefit analysis and expert recommendations to improve your sales performance on every level.