Sales calls aren’t always easy.
Especially when you’re shooting out a bunch of scripted questions to a prospect with whom you’re beginning to build a relationship. It can get boring, awkward and sometimes outright disastrous, making the entire process feel like an interrogation! But when done right, you’re a step away from building a healthy sales pipeline.
So how do you conduct a successful sales call?
The rule of thumb is that the call isn’t about you and your business. It’s about the prospect and their business. So allow them to do most of the talking while you spend time doing what you should be focusing on: listening. Any sales pitch during the call is only going to turn them off and you aren’t going to get a second chance with them.
Your main motto during the call is to uncover if the prospect is a good fit and that your solution can provide additional value to their business. And even if you use a script, you don’t have to follow it to a T, which you’ll learn in the audio recording at the end of this blog.
Most sales managers train sales teams to structure their sales calls so that conversations are meaningful and flow naturally. And a sales call template is a great way to do so.
Of course, the more calls you make, the less you’ll rely on the template and the more you’ll be able to improvise on it.
Building rapport is most essential as it is the first step to earning confidence and trust. The more someone trusts you, the more they’re comfortable to share their pain points and needs with you. Here are some ways that will help you build a rapport with the buyer.
Setting the right tone: The quickest way to open prospects up and create rapport is to smile while you’re having a conversation, even if it’s over the phone. A chirpy voice creates a positive response in the buyer and they’ll look out for further conversations with you.
Deivanai, Business Development Executive at Freshworks, tells you how and why to set the right tone during your sales calls.
Addressing prospects by their name: Starting the conversation by addressing the prospect’s name grabs their attention and makes the call personal. So instead of,
“Hi. This is Don from Acme Corp. How are you today?”
“Hi Rebecca. This is Don from Acme Corp. How are you today?”
Introducing yourself and the company: Tell them who you are. If they’d reached out to your business earlier, they can instantly recollect and be more inclined to carry the conversation forward.
Researching about the prospect: Breaking the ice with some research is a brilliant way to show prospects you care and get them to talk. But that doesn’t mean you’ve to spend hours researching about them. You don’t have the time. Mansi, Program Manager at Freshworks, suggests quick tips to research about the prospect and use that as a conversation-builder.
3 areas to do a quick research:
- Social profiles: Before you jump right into the sales call, take some time to look at their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. Find out their hobbies, current interests and activities in their professional life. If you share mutual interests, that’s enough substance to start an effective conversation. As Anthony Iannarino rightly puts it in this sales blog,
Rapport isn’t “I like you.” Rapport is “I am like you.”
Here’s an example:
“I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you’ve recently taken up a new role, congrats! If this is your passion then I’m sure you’ll succeed in your new role.”
- Company website: Check the prospect’s company website and news/media page. If they just had a round of funding then you know that the company has the budget to buy your solution and you can steer your conversation accordingly.
- CRM software: Your CRM software should be equipped with features that show the prospect’s interest in your solution. For instance, their behavior on your emails, website or even on your product would give you a fair understanding of their needs and you can plan for the call appropriately.
Understanding the pain points
The best way to unlock a prospect’s pain point is to understand their business model and how they do things today. Get them to open up by asking open-ended questions like,
“What led you to sign up with us?”
“Have you used a similar tool in the past? If so, why are you looking for a change?”
Once you know the need, drill down further by asking clarifying questions to understand the problem they are trying to solve.
“Can you walk me through what exactly you are looking for in a helpdesk system?”
The first set of questions helps uncover the prospect’s current situation or process, while the second set of questions gives evidence of where you might be able to help them. Once you’ve uncovered the prospect’s pain points, go deep and challenge the prospect’s thought process by asking those hard, pressing questions.
“How would you define success for this project?”
“What are your short-term and long-term goals?”
The more you uncover the prospect’s pain points and needs with “what”, “why”, who”, “when” and “how” questions, the more you’ll understand and be able to guide them in their buying decision.
By now you’d have understood the prospect’s pain points. But before you go ahead and provide the solution, summarize the conversation you just had with them to check if you’ve addressed all their concerns. This gives them room to think and add more challenges, if they’ve missed out on any.
“OK, so to quickly sum it up, [summarize the conversation]. Have I got this right, or do you want to add to it?”
At this point, tell them how your product can add value to their business by connecting the benefits of the product with their pain points. Drop keywords related to your product so when the buyer looks at your website, they can relate to your conversation.
Another way to add value to your conversation is by giving a relevant customer story that’s similar to the situation and concerns you’d just summarized. A relevant use case is equivalent to saying “don’t take my word for it” and shows that you’ve had success helping similar customers in the past.
“In fact, I’ve worked with ABC Corp and helped them move to our product completely, and they are seeing success with improved customer engagement and drawing powerful insights from reports. I can share their case study, it will help you understand how our product helped them. I don’t see why we can’t work with you to help you see similar success.”
You can also send case studies, any product videos, competitor analysis sheets etc. to help prospects in their buying decision. Digging right into plans and pricing isn’t going to provide value, unless the prospect is keen on it.
Establishing a timeline
Once you’ve qualified the prospect and the prospect has shown interest in working with you, find out if they have a timeline to get the solution up and running. Based on this information, you can suggest steps on how to carry the project forward.
“When is a good time for us to connect again?”
“How are you placed tomorrow?”
Send them a calendar invite or share your calendar with them so that they can choose a convenient date and time to schedule an appointment. If you aren’t sure whether the prospect is the decision maker, encourage them to add more members to subsequent meetings to speed up the decision-making process.
“Would you like to have some members from your team join in?”
Make sure you leave contact details with them so that they can get back to you. The whole idea is to help them at every step in their buying process.
Every sales call is different because prospects are different. This call recording should give you a framework on how to create your sales call template.
The above four steps are a great starting point for sales reps, irrespective of experience. Now, try it out in your next sales call and see how things improve. And if you’ve discovered a tip or two that has worked for you, how about sharing them in the comments.