A sales call is your opportunity to learn about your prospect and help your prospect understand the benefits of your product or service. For your sales call to be effective you must go in with a game plan. If you don’t, you will lose control. Here are some tips to take control of your sales calls:
1. Start and end your sales call on time.
One of my greatest pet peeves of business owners, c-level executives and managers are meetings and sales calls that don’t start and end on time. When your sales call doesn’t start and end on schedule it means you don’t value your prospect’s time and you don’t value your own. Sticking to the scheduled time demonstrates that you’re prepared for your prospect and that you are in charge of the call. There are a couple of scenarios that could happen that could make it a challenge to follow through on your schedule:
Scenario: Prospect is running late.
Solution: Let your prospect know that you have another sales call scheduled after theirs and that you don’t want to rush through the sales call. Let them know you want them to be able to take advantage of the time that was promised and offer to reschedule later that day or the next day.
Scenario: One of the attendees is late, but everyone else is there.
Solution: Offer to record the sales call. Let them know you’ll provide them with the recording and the late attendee can be brought up to speed.
Scenario: The call has the potential to run long.
Solution: When the call is 15 minutes away from its scheduled end time, let the prospect know that there are only 15 minutes left and offer to schedule a time to continue talking or finish your time together with any final questions. Also, be sure to leave adequate time between sales calls in case the sales call does end up running a few minutes late.
2. Stick to your agenda.
All it takes is one off-topic question to derail your agenda. You should answer your prospect’s questions. However, don’t let their questions direct your sales call. If a prospect asks about something you know you’ll be covering later, thank them for the question and let them know you’ll be answering that later. As mentioned above, you should leave a few minutes open at the end of the call to take questions on anything you didn’t cover.
3. Don’t thank your prospect for their time.
Be careful with the number of times you say “thank you” to your prospect. Thanking them too many times shifts the authority from you to them. Be especially careful about thanking your prospect for their time. Let your prospect know that you appreciate the time you have to spend with them. Then use other variations such as “I enjoyed talking to you” or “Glad we could connect.” Keep in mind that your prospect stands to gain more from you than you do from them. If you are doing your job, they should be thanking you.
4. Don’t disperse too much information.
If you provide your prospect with too much information you can overwhelm them and cause them to tune out. In order to keep their attention, speak 20-30% of the time and let your prospect do 70-80% of the talking. In order to make this happen you’ll need to get really good at asking open-ended questions. When a prospect asks a question, don’t give them every single detail, instead learn how to answer their questions with questions. This will allow you to gain accurate information so you can be straightforward and give them only what they need to know.
5. Be confident.
Confidence is important for all salespeople. When you demonstrate confidence, your prospect will sense that and naturally follow your lead. If your prospect senses any sign of hesitation or anxiousness, they will doubt you and take over. To develop confidence on your sales calls, you must know and believe in the value of your product. When you know and believe in your product it becomes easier to explain the benefits to your prospect.
Before your sales calls be sure to do your research on your prospects. When you do this you’ll gain confidence and insight on how you can best help them. Then, as you implement these tips, you’ll find yourself taking control of your sales calls.
Founder of RedRock Leadership