Because of the word “call,” many people might think a sales call is the same thing as a cold call, which is very much the opposite.
What is a sales call?
A sales call refers to the interaction between a sales representative and a potential customer, often via phone. The sales representative’s goal is to persuade the prospect to purchase their company’s offerings. This conversation provides an opportunity for the potential buyer to gain an understanding of the product or service, along with its benefits.
Sales call tips: how to make a sales call
How to prepare for a sales call
Given the fact that sales calls are pre-arranged, a salesperson must know as much as possible about the prospect and their company. Before you get to make the sales call, ask yourself:
- Did I research enough about the lead and their business prior to the call?
- Did I send an outline of the agenda to the client before the meeting?
- Did I bring all materials, brochures, contracts, etc.?
- What is the goal of the call?
- What information do I need to learn during the call?
- What is my next step after the call?
As you can see, going into a sales call prepared requires a lot of work if you want to succeed. Prospects expect you to be well-prepared, so be thorough when planning and writing your sales pitch.
How to make a positive impression
You have one chance at a good first impression, so set yourself up to make one. Remember to:
- Find out about the lead’s interests, hobbies, awards, family
- Make a smooth transition to the business topic
- Listen more than you speak
- Ask the client about their business goals
- Ask the prospect what challenges their company is facing
How to qualify the prospect
By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to determine whether the business relationship should continue, and if so, what next steps are. Some things to find out from the prospect:
- Who the decision-makers are
- What process they usually go through when meeting a new salesperson
- How and why they decided to use their current product or service (in case they are replacing a product or service)
- What their time frame is
- How many funds have been allocated
- What their specific needs are
- What would they change about their product or service if they could
How to survey to know more about the company
You need to know what you’re getting into with the prospect and their business, just as much as they need to know about you and your company, so don’t be afraid to ask the client the questions (especially the open-ended ones that start with what, how, who, where, when, etc.):
- Ask about the prospect’s role and the corporate structure of their business
- Ask what’s important to them personally
- Ask how you can help solve their problems
- Ask what they think about your company
- Ask what support they want to see from a salesperson after the sale
- Ask their short-term and long-term goals
- Ask what the next step is and establish a specific follow-up schedule
How to present your solution
How you present yourself, your product or service, and your company is extremely important in a sales call. You must be mindful of all three and ask yourself:
- Did you prioritize the prospect’s needs?
- Did you talk about benefits to the customer (make sure they are linked to the client’s needs)?
- Did you use easy-to-understand terms?
- Did you give a general overview of your solution?
- Did you focus on the prospect’s needs during the presentation?
- Did you involve the client in the presentation?
- Did you sum up the prospect’s needs and how your product or service will meet those needs?
How to end the call
You have to nail your closing. Make sure all questions have been answered and the pros and cons of your product have been explained thoroughly, which can help lead to the deal closed:
- Did the customer identify all possible problems that might be solved with the help of your solution?
- Did the client identify the value of solving the identified problems?
- Did the prospect agree that the proposed product or service is the solution to their problems?
- Did you ask for the order (“Why don’t we go ahead with this?”)
Once your sales call is wrapped up (hopefully with a sale), you need to maintain communication with the customer. What can you do? You can write a thank-you letter, ask for referrals or reference letters, schedule follow-up calls or customer visits, etc.
Phone sales calls
Not all sales calls are face-to-face; for whatever reason, an in-person call can be not doable. Still, plan and prepare for each call. Mostly all the rules apply, especially sales call scripts; it’s important to bring the same level of enthusiasm and professional demeanor to phone meetings. Just because it’s a phone call doesn’t mean it’s less professional or that there are lower stakes. Often, salespeople also use video chats to conduct such meetings.
Wrapping it up
Yes, sales calls – in person or over the phone – can be daunting! There’s a whole lot of information to take in for both the salesperson and the prospect. Writing a good script and remembering all of it at the moment is hard and requires a lot of focus, but the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. Practice makes perfect!