Talking to prospective customers on the phone is inevitable in the sales industry. If you are comfortable on the phone you are already ahead of many others who do their best to avoid this type of prospecting.
Getting on the phone with a potential customer doesn’t have to be a stressful situation, especially if you are prepared before you ever dial their number.
Knowing how to get someone’s attention and more importantly, keep it, when you are not right there in front of them is an excellent skill to possess. The good news is that this is a skill you can learn but it needs regular practice and improvement to ensure that you stay on your game.
Part 3 of our Phone Strategy Series addresses utilizing the time before you make your calls wisely. The seven points below are all things you should be doing before you pick up the phone to make those calls.
None of these steps are difficult, but if you practice them regularly you will become better and better at your phone prospecting and soon you will be one of the sales associates that don’t bat an eye at calling customers. You may even start to love phone prospecting!
1. Know exactly why you’re calling – This point may sound odd at first glance but it is important to know what you want the result to be from the phone call you are getting ready to make.
What do you want to achieve with this customer; an appointment in the dealership? A referral? A sale? Know exactly what you’re after so you don’t jump around from one call to action to another.
2. List your questions before the call – It’s easy to become tongue-tied if you don’t have some points in from of you before the call. Jot down the questions that you want and need to ask your prospective customer before you make the call.
The purpose of this list is not to read a script it is to keep the goal in front of you and keep you on track. What pieces of information do you need from them that are pertinent to your goal? Preparing these questions ahead of time will prevent you from forgetting to ask them something that you really need to know.
3. Anticipate and practice possible answers – Think through the different questions you will be asking and brainstorm possible answers your customers may have.
The purpose of this exercise is to help you handle different objections, responses, and questions they may have so you can smoothly deal with them without stumbling or having dead air hanging between you.
Long silences can make it appear like you don’t know what to say in response to what they have said which can leave a negative impression on the customer.
This exercise won’t help you target ALL the questions and responses your potential customers may have but it will certainly get you accustomed to handling all kinds of responses easily.
4. Practice really does make perfect – It might sound funny to practice a phone call but there is a lot of value in this practice that will go a long way when you’re actually on the phone with customers.
The best way to practice how you will sound to customers and what you will say to them about the vehicles and sales you have going on is to record them and play them back so you can hear it.
This is something you should do every couple of months to monitor yourself and ensure that you’re not developing bad habits.
5. Use visualization before the call – Some of the most successful sales associates out there regularly use visualization in their preparations before calling potential customers. Visualize the outcome you want before you ever pick up the phone.
Imagine and visualize the call going well, the objections being easily dealt with and removed, and the conversation going well. There is plenty of information out there that supports visualization as an excellent tool for the sales associate’s arsenal. If you’ve never used it, try it! You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to the outcome of the call.
6. Dress for success – How you dress and how you present yourself goes a long way toward having the confidence that will make you a better sales associate.
Just because the customers you talk to on the phone can’t SEE you, that doesn’t change how dressing for success, literally, can make you feel.
Each day when you get up, regardless of where you will be conducting the phone calls, dress in a way that makes you feel fantastic. Feeling great and happy with how you look will project over the phone and give you extra confidence when you are speaking to prospective customers.
7. Ask for what you want – Always be upfront and straightforward with your potential customers and even customers that you have talked to before when it comes to what you want from them.
If you want an appointment, end the call by asking them to set up an appointment.
If you want to follow up with them, ask them when a good time is for you to call them again. Be direct, be honest, and then once you get the appointment or promise for the next call, follow through.
Summing It Up
Phone sales calls can be hard enough when you DO prepare; they can be downright brutal when you don’t do anything to get ready ahead of time. Using the seven valuable tips above before making sales calls will dramatically affect how you feel about them and the results you get as well.
Confidence in what you are going to say and how you are going to handle the customer’s objections and questions is priceless. That confidence will carry over to your customers giving them confidence in you as well.
Preparing ahead of time is not about reading scripted words over the phone and sounding false, it is about readying yourself in a way that will instill trust in you and your abilities and that will ultimately lead to appointments and sales.