The best products in the world couldn’t keep a company with a lackluster sales team afloat. At its heart, the math behind business is painfully simple: without a strong pipeline of lucrative sales to fund development, even promising ventures will inevitably flop. But it isn’t enough to simply assign a few employees to contact businesses that might be interested in becoming a client and rattle off some marketing slogans over the phone; representatives need to be able to engage potential clients in a way that convinces them of a product’s business value. In this post, I take a closer look at the anatomy of a sales call and point out a few mistakes that representatives should never make when speaking with a client.
Call Without a Clear Plan or Message
A meandering call wastes time and tanks sales calls. Approaching a potential client without a plan or central idea will both take up valuable time and convince them that your company lacks professionalism. Always prepare for a sales all by outlining goals and strategies beforehand, and always have talking points on hand so that you don’t wander off-track during a call. Most importantly, make sure to do your research well before you set up a call! Successful sales call hinge on having an interested prospect who could be a fit for your business’ products or services. As one writer for Small Biz Trends puts it: “Better research leads to better sales calls; without doing your homework, you’re flying blind.”
Boast About the Product
Whatever you do, don’t boast. Prospects know that you believe in the product; they expect you to sell it to them. However, talking up your business too much can come off as disingenuous or scripted. According to statistics provided by SalesHacker, overuse of vaguely positive terms such as “absolutely” or “perfect” can drop sales chances by as much as 16%. Prospects want to talk to a convincing person – not a sales bot!
Read from a Script
Never let your talking points turn into a script. At its heart, a sales conversation is just that: a conversation. It requires each party to listen and respond to what the other says in a way that demonstrates that they care about the other’s ideas and thoughts. If you sound as though you’re reading from a script, the prospect won’t feel valued and will disengage. Consider talking less! In a study that involved analyzing well over a million B2B sales calls, researchers at SalesHacker found that top sales reps only talk for about 46% of a call – and that sales reps who dominated conversations tended to have a lower success rate.
Forget to Outline Next Steps
Don’t leave your client hanging if they want to move forward! Always have an outline for next steps and a concrete follow-up plan at the ready during a sales call. Poor planning could cost you a client you might otherwise have retained for years.