Creating the right call flow is arguably one of the most important keys to successful selling. While the buyer is ultimately in control of the final outcome, a skilled (and prepared) salesperson can exercise a tremendous amount of influence during the sales call. In this article, I will provide 9 of my best sales call tips that are proven to close more deals.
A winning sales call process has 9 steps:
- Talk to a decision maker.
- Find the pain.
- Build value.
- Create urgency.
- Talk about what you do.
- Discuss opportunities
- Attempt to close.
- Handle objections.
- Close or set a follow-up.
Yes, These Sales Call Tips Will Really Help You Close More Deals
There’s lots of bad sales advice floating around the internet, especially on the sales call process. Jacco van der Kooij recently published a phenomenal post on why you should never blindly follow thought leaders, and how to decide who truly has an authoritative voice on a piece of subject matter.
Reason I mention this is to provide context on my background. I’m a practitioner with over 15 years of experience in sales!
That said, here’s a game plan to help you during your sales calls.
1. Make Sure You’re Talking To The Decision Maker
The first step is to make sure you’re talking to the right person. This will be the person who handles everything having to do with the product or service you’re offering.
Questions to Ask Your Prospect:
- “Am I talking to the owner?”
- “Are you the only decision maker?”
You don’t want to waste your time talking to somebody who’s not critical to the decision-making process.
The great thing about transactional sales is that you rarely have more than one decision maker and usually very few gatekeepers to get past.
Pro Tip for Dealing With Gatekeepers During a Sales Call:
Be friendly and provide a snippet of the pain they are likely experiencing along with some value so they know your call is important.
2. Find Their Pain
This is where the addiction model really starts to take shape. Once you have the right person on the phone, you have to get this person to admit he or she has a problem.
Dig for information about his or her business, background, experience, or comfort level.
Ask questions that drive toward the answer you want, which is “I don’t know how to do that,” or “I’ve never done that before.” Now you’ve found the pain point.
If the prospect doesn’t admit it, they won’t believe it. When it comes out of their own mouth, then it becomes real. The openness to change only happens when they come to their own realization.
3. Build Value
Once your prospect has admitted their pain point, it’s your job to make them understand why they should care about the problem.
Even when people know they have a problem, they may not truly see the value in doing something about it.
As you educate your prospect, they should begin to want to make a change.
Think about functioning addicts. They might be aware they have a problem but are not yet impelled to do anything about it.
They don’t see the value in making a change yet. That is your job—to make them understand the value.
Actionable Tip For Building Value: Tell Stories in Your Sales Pitch
I have found the best way to get your pitch to resonate is by storytelling.
Talk to them about an experience you’ve had with another client, or a story about your own life that agrees with the concept.
Tell a story that talks about the bad results that happened when the concept wasn’t executed correctly.
Real Life Example: I once saw a guy at a conference wearing a soccer jersey and commented that his team was a rival of mine (I am a Liverpool supporter #ynwa). We got to talking about soccer and I used soccer as an analogy to demonstrate the pain his business was feeling and the value is solving this pain.
4. Create Urgency
Make your prospect understand that their problem is mission critical. It’s not a paper cut; it’s a severed limb demanding urgent attention.
Illustrate how and why they are losing business every single day by not doing something to fix their problem.
The more specific and personal you can make the story, the better. If you can provide concrete data and dollar amounts, do so.
Talk about what their competitors are doing and how their market share is at risk. Paint a picture that compels them to act sooner rather than later.
Actionable Tip For Creating Urgency: Ask The Right Questions
Ask the right questions that lead them to the realization of how urgent their problem really is (and why it can’t wait).
Questions to Ask Your Prospect:
- What is the current state of your business?
- Are you happy with how things are going?
- Would this concept increase revenue for you?
- How much more revenue could it deliver?
- Will that revenue go to your competitors until this is fixed?
- What is that worth to you?
When it comes from them, it takes the prospect to a different mindset and once they have an open mind now they can be receptive to an immediate solution.
5. Talk About What You Do
Once your prospect admits they have a problem and is compelled to act immediately to resolve it, then and ONLY then have you earned the permission to talk about what your company does.
This is the part every prospect wants you to talk about right away. Don’t do it! First, get them so interested that they are nearly begging you to talk about what you do.
Now they will pay attention as you explain the product or solution. Keep it simple, and use the script you prepared.
Pro Tip: Do not oversell and avoid getting into the minutiae.
When describing what you do you, you always want to make sure that they understand it clearly. Don’t settle here!
Ask the prospect what they think, and fight for an honest answer.
If they give a closed response such as “OKAY” or “YEAH, IT LOOKS GOOD” – well, that means they’re not fully bought in or don’t understand your value prop.
This would be a good time to relate what you’re talking about in your pitch back to their business. Always make sure you’re painting the picture of the results they should expect as if they were already using your product or service.
6. Discuss Opportunities
After talking about what you do, it’s time to give a summary. Recap the problem so that prospects understand why it’s important to do something about it and how you can help.
Always go back to how your product will benefit them. Summarize it in a really clear-cut way that presents a compelling story.
Again, make your analogies or examples as real and specific as possible.
Get them to see the outcome in their minds.
Pro Tip: Avoid Failure by Closing The Loop
Failing to discuss the opportunity means failing to close the loop.
7. Attempt To Close The Deal
If, after following all the other steps, you present a compelling story in the right way, the table is set to go into a trial close.
Recommended transition phrase to try:
“There are a couple of different ways we can partner with you.”
Then, in a consultative fashion, carefully walk your prospect through each option.
Ease them into an entry-level price point, so they don’t get spooked. Show them a mid-tier option and then a high-end option.
No one wants to be the big spender, but people don’t want to be the cheapskate either.
Give them your recommendation, then ask what makes the most sense to them. Guide them into the close by steering them into the middle option, which is where most people end up.
8. Deal With Objections (And Rebut Them)
Inevitably, when you go to close the deal, there will be objections. All the doubts, fears, and budget constraints the prospect has are going to rear their heads.
Be prepared to deal with these objections and provide rebuttals. You’ve got this! You know why? Because you scripted all this out, rehearsed it, and are therefore completely prepared to answer any objections.
Walk your prospect through your way of thinking, so the person sees that the objection is not a big deal; it’s something to work through.
You will be in a loop of dealing with objections and rebuttals until you finally get some indication that the flow is going to conclude in one of two desirable ways, described in the next step, or in one disappointing way—with a no.
9. Close the Deal or Set a Follow-Up Appointment
Once you’ve dealt with all the objections, your job is to try to close once again.
If the deal’s not going to close, then close on the next best thing: a proper sales follow-up.
Set a specific day and time to talk again, so the prospect has some time to think about it. Lock down the appointment with a calendar invitation. Invite the prospect to do research and come prepared with any further questions.
Then politely ask, “Next time we talk, all I ask is that we can arrive at a yes or no decision. Does that sound fair to you?” And that’s the best you can do. That’s still a win.
Follow the process and stay on track with the right call flow, and you will find yourself teaching others the “best way to sell.”
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