Making sales calls are a necessary part of your business, though for many people, it is one of their least favorite things to do. We are sometimes hindered by a fear of rejection, but by implementing a few suggestions and preparing well, you will find your sales calls to be much more pleasant and effective.
- Use referrals. When making your list of contacts, use your referrals as a starting point. You already have an opening when you make the call by telling the customer who referred you; this can even lead to a bit of small talk that will put the person at ease. For example, “Jane Woodson referred me to you. Our sons play on the same baseball team, and she mentioned that your son is on the team as well? How is he enjoying the season so far?” Using referrals can help you take a genuine interest in your contact, which will motivate them to listen to your pitch.
- Offer a good value. This can be a bit tricky, as value is perceived differently by different people. However, as long as you are knowledgeable about the benefits of your product or service and how it compares to others, you will be able to demonstrate its value in ways other than price. For instance, if a product you carry has similar features to a competitors’ but is more expensive, point out that it is made from higher quality materials, that it comes with a lifetime guarantee, or that the customer can try it risk-free for 60 days. Whatever the incentive, always be clear in emphasizing a product’s value.
- Provide solutions. Most consumers are seeking certain products that have a purpose in their lives. What solution does your product provide for a customer’s problem? Reflect on your own experiences to help you answer that question. One consultant for a jewelry company first fell in love with the product line because it allowed her to take her outfit from the office to an evening out by simply changing out one necklace for another or clipping an extra piece onto her bracelet to make it sparkle for her night out. This may not be a life-altering solution, but it is a common one that most women would love to know about. Be the answer to your customers’ problem.
- Know your client. A client never wants to feel as if he or she is just a number on your list of calls to make. Tailor your calls to be specific to each person; this doesn’t mean that every single call will be different, but it does mean that you have done a certain amount of preparation for the call so that you can appeal to a client’s unique need. You wouldn’t have the same conversation with a repeat customer that you would have with a prospect you’ve never met or done business with. Take a few minutes to find out something about each contact before picking up the phone. Often that research can be done when receiving the referral.
- Anticipate objections. Sometimes you will encounter one or more objections to what you are trying to sell. Before making a call, prepare a list of possible objections and decide how you will respond to each one. You will not be able to anticipate every possible objection, but having a good idea as to how you will handle them can be useful in helping you overcome objections and make the sale. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to be caught off guard without knowing what to say.
- Use scripts wisely. Writing a script is a great way to get started with sales calls. You can literally map out your ideal conversation, and then using the suggestions above, prepare yourself for the many different turns the conversation may take. One thing to be aware of, however, is not to sound like you are reading from a script which can sound extremely impersonal, and may cause a client to either tune out or cut the call short. Use the script as a guide only; know what you are going to say and speak in a natural, conversational tone.
Do you have any tips to share for making your sales calls more effective? Please share them with us below!
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