Professional salespeople use the phone every day in some capacity. Those with remote selling roles are in an office on the phones, and those calling on companies in person use the phone to set appointments, hold conversations, confirm meetings, and ultimately bring business to a close through the telephone.
Most of us are reading email on our mobile devices, and making calls almost every chance we get.
Are you someone who just rolls into the office, sits down, and starts to figure out what to do today? Or do you work a well-defined plan?
Success comes from planning and from making every minute count in your selling day.
Why? Because you cannot get your time back – time wasted surfing to do “research” – you know what I mean – you go to look up something about a company you are interested in and then get sidetracked.
There is no time to waste in your selling day. Maximize it by working smarter. Here are some tips for success:
Have a visual display – old school whiteboard or a digital screen showing appointments that you have set today, or conversations you have completed. There is nothing like having a visual reminder to see what you accomplished today and this week. The idea of gamification for sales is that everyone can see what those on the team are doing and what has been accomplished.
While we are talking about visuals – I recommend you create one column to track prospects and one column to keep track of conversations with potential referrers – those people who can refer multiple sales opportunities your way. Why don’t more sales teams track that and review to see who they need to talk with?
Create an environment for success – your physical surroundings are important because if it is really noisy and you get distracted this won’t be a good environment for you. See if you can move to an end or quieter corner to produce better results. What you read – online and off contribute to your day as does the influence of the people you surround yourself with. If I was seated next to Lenny Loser who can’t bring in any new business and has 1000 excuses as to why, I’d want to move. All of this factors in. Keep your mind uplifted and forward thinking.
Use power words and power phrases rather than weak words and weak phrases. Examples:
“If you could try to get back to me” is weak. Use, “Get back to me at ____”
“When you have a quick minute” is weak. Use, “Please get back to me at ____”
“You can try to reach me back at ___” is weaker than “Reach me at ____”
Be brief, be clear, and add value at every opportunity. You called me, I didn’t call you – so add value rather than small talk and I’ll listen to you. Tell me something that helps educate me or that shares insight into something going on in my industry, company, or business in general.
Use blocks of time to do research and blocks of time to make calls. Put them in your calendar and honor them. If you research before or after each call you might almost double the time it takes to make calls. Be smart by focusing on one thing at a time. I even update CRM in blocks – do you?
Set goals for yourself and make it more fun than it is. If you have a lot of calls to make, it can seem like a very long day, week, and month. Find ways to make it more fun or interesting. Track those goals and award yourself a prize if you don’t have any team competition going on at the office.
Be confident – that’s the best thing you can do to be more successful when you are newer to a position. Understand enough for your voice to convey confidence since people want to work with people who are sure of themselves. As soon as a prospect asks a question and hears you hesitate or stumble to answer, they know you are not seasoned. Instead have an answer for every objection and learn how to think on your feet.
More tips are available here - Phone Prospecting Check List
Find two areas you can improve on and focus on those for 30 days. After that, choose two more areas. Soon, you’ll gain more confidence and strategies that work -- and by doing that, you'll gain more opportunities.
(Image credit: katre / 123RF Stock Photo)
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.