People tend to be suspicious of phone calls from unknown numbers. When that caller turns out to be a salesperson, it’s an even harder uphill battle.
There are hundreds of strategies for how to sell over the phone. Here are the ten tips that you can implement today to become an expert in making sales calls.
1. Dress with confidence
Studies have shown that wearing formal clothes can change the way people think and boost their confidence. If you’re making a sales call - especially a cold call - you’ll want to make sure you sound sure of yourself. By dressing up in clothes that make you feel good, your voice will reflect how you feel.
Make sure to wear clothes that are comfortable - wearing a stiff suit or a finicky skirt will only distract you from your call.
2. Visualize the other person
When you make dozens of phone calls every day, it can be easy to forget that you're talking to a real person. It's much easier to empathize with someone when we see them in front of us. Look up a picture of your prospect and keep it in front of you during the call. This will help loosen up any stiffness in your script and keep your tone conversational.
If the picture is too distracting, find one of someone you're interested in talking to and use that instead.
3. Put on a smile
Smiling has many positive effects, from improving your posture to lowering your blood pressure. A recent study found that we listen to our own voices to find out how we feel. In other words, changing your voice to sound happier will actually make you feel that way.
Not only will smiling make you sound friendlier, it can also make the person on the other end of the line smile as well. It’s much harder to say no when you’re smiling!
4. Refer to the other person by name
When you hear someone say your name, you often react before you realize it. On the phone, referring to the other person by name shows that you've taken the time to learn and remember it. It makes you appear respectful and attentive throughout the conversation.
If the person has a name that's hard to pronounce, ask them how to say it correctly. Do they prefer to go by their last name, or are they more comfortable on a first-name basis?
As with all good things, use this in moderation. Don't start every sentence with the person's name - it will sound annoying and condescending.
5. Give people time to adjust to your voice
It takes around 10-30 seconds for someone to adjust to listening to a new voice. During this time, it's important to focus on your tone as much as your message. People will be more receptive to what you have to say if you sound curious and genuine.
In other words, don't dive straight into your selling points when you start your call. Use the first minute of the call to introduce yourself and give the other person time to get used to your voice.
6. Talk with your body
When we talk, a lot of information is conveyed via body language. On the phone, you may think that it matters less if we use gestures because the other person can't see you. The opposite is actually true - using your hands leads to more facial expressions, which gives you a wider vocal range. This helps reinforce your message and makes you sound more confident.
Use a headset to free up your hands and keep them away from your keyboard or other distractions.
7. Match the other person's pace
People talk at different speeds, depending on their mood and the situation. The best way to set your pace is to listen to the other person and try to match their tempo. At the beginning of your call, ask questions and engage in small talk to get a sense of how they talk.
If the other person sounds uninterested, you can start out slower while maintaining a friendly tone. Once you've perked their interest, you can step things up a notch and talk at a more comfortable speed.
8. Listen actively
It can be difficult to convey that you are actively listening to someone on the phone. You don't have eye contact, and the other person can't see if you're paying attention or nodding. Despite the lack of visual cues, you can still show the other person that you are engaged in the call.
Try inserting short phrases like "I see", "Yes", and "Mhm" into natural pauses in the conversation. Keeping the background noise to a minimum is also important. Avoid making distracting noises like clicking a pen or typing on a computer.
9. Use positive reinforcement
Along with acknowledging the other person when they are talking, positive words and phrases are a great way to be supportive. Even if you can’t say ‘yes’ to every request, it’s nice to be optimistic. For example, if someone is asking about a use case that you’re not sure about, saying “Absolutely, I will find out for you” is much better than “I’m not sure, actually, I’ll have to ask my boss”.
10. Say thank you
Regardless of how the call goes, always thank the other person for their time. Starting and ending your conversation in a polite manner will leave a good impression after the call is over. You want to present a professional image of yourself and your company, even if the call doesn't result in a sale.
These 10 phone sales tips may seem like small details, but they all add up. As with any skill, practice makes perfect! Being on the phone every day can be exhausting. Remember to take breaks and start fresh with every call.