Phone sales (aka telesales) are a key revenue driver for many businesses. The ability to sell to clients over the phone is a very valuable skill, but not one that develops without employees being given the proper tools and training.
The correct development and implementation of a phone-based sales strategy is a long and arduous process, which will require continued updating and training as you discover which tools work better than others. However, in order to put your business on the path to improved sales over the phone, you may want to consider ensuring your sales staff do the following:
1. Qualify your leads.
Whether you buy leads, use a lead generation service, or generate leads internally, you absolutely must make sure that all leads are qualified. Every client that’s called needs to be a suitable customer with the ability to buy today.
Failure to qualify leads will generate huge wastes of time for effective salespeople.
Moreover, bad leads can be the source of undue headaches and lead you to revise your sales process unnecessarily.
2. Don’t try to move too fast.
Gone are the days of the hard and quick sale. Clients today want the ability to do their own research and see if something’s right for them. They can be led to make a purchase, but they need to make their own decisions.
Often, this takes a series of calls and follow-ups before a client is ready to close.
Make sure you have a process of sales staff to manage communications with a potential client and ensure timely follow-up.
3. Understand the client.
It isn’t enough for your salespeople to have intimate knowledge of what they’re selling. They need to be able to demonstrate how their product is good for the client, and this means knowing a customer’s needs as well as they know your product.
Sales associates should know all of the reasons a potential customer should say “yes,” but also all of the reasons they’re likely to say “no” on a sales call.
4. Make sure the client is having fun.
This is perhaps the most-overlooked aspect of successful sales, on the phone or otherwise.
People don’t buy if they feel burdened or put out. Admittedly, this can’t always be helped. Sometimes you reach them at a bad time or on a bad day, and allowances should be made for bad timing.
On the whole, though, it’s important to make the experience pleasant for the client. Their interaction with your sales staff should not be something that they resent or regret.
The client’s enjoyment of the process – or at least their toleration of it – dramatically increases the odds of them staying on the line and eventually buying from you.
Even if they don’t buy on the first call, a client is more likely to welcome a follow-up if they develop rapport with a member of your sales team.
5. Learn your rebuttals.
Excuses vary by industry and by product, but clients will always have reasons to say “no.”
What’s important is that you anticipate what they’ll be, construct good responses, and train for them.
Find ways that you can assuage doubts, answers questions concisely and positively, or find ways that you can circle back to complete a sale.
6. Practice – a lot.
Phone sales are virtually impossible without some amount of training and preparation.
It can help to have a well-developed script on-hand, but not because salespeople can lean on a canned opening or response. Instead, they learn to address any client issues early on and get them out of the way.
Staff also develop the ability to concisely address any new concerns that a customer raises on the call.
Practicing can feel extremely awkward at first, but it’s absolutely necessary to the success of sales calls.
If your business relies on phone calls to generate sales, the tips above will hopefully serve to hone the kills of your sales staff.
More importantly, they will help to develop your company’s sales process, which must continue to be refined and revised as customer psychology changes.
You will need to learn to adapt as customers begin asking new questions or raising new concerns.
Like any of your marketing efforts, your phone sales process will need to be continually improved, and make use of updated technology for continued success.
Hopefully, the tips above will help to provide you with a strong starting point to improve your phone sales efforts, as you begin the process of developing and refining your strategy going forward.
This article was written by John Taylor. John is a long-time professional with over two decades of experience in analytics and communications technology. He works as the Senior Data Analyst at Fone Dynamics, a leader in call tracking, voice, and SMS communication. When John steps out of the office, he loves to spend time with his family and bike riding.
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