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Making sales calls - the basics

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by Startacus Admin

Some of you will no doubt already have preconcieved notions of what a sales call actually is... and we cant blame you, the typical 'cold call' has become all too prevalent in our lives.  Before we fully start this article, we want you to realise thatMaking Sales calls  whatever industry or business you own or are in, the reality is that every call you make has the potential to be a sales call. Irrespective of whether you sell handmade crafts on a local market or you provide accountancy services in your local area, the chances are that you have a product or service that you sell. Therefore every time that you call a prospective customer or client (or a current one at that) it is better to have an understanding of the format of a successful sales call, than no idea at all. Self Starters, get your telephone voices on, here are our basic tips...

Plan
Unless you can, or think you can, wax lyrical the chances are that you really need to take some time out to consider what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. “Scripting your call” may sound a little cliche, but unless you are used to doing sales calls every day, even the more experienced business person may need to take some time out first to consider what they want to say. This may mean writing it down or practicing out loud, but either way, plan and prepare before you go anywhere near that phone. That also means making sure that every call is prepared and not rushed and that a good amount of research about who you are speaking to first is undertaken so that you are fully aware of who you are speaking to before even a word is uttered. Researching a company or person can be rather easy and apart from using Linkedin and doing a google search, you can use an online business directory such as 192.com which can provide you with business lists, full names, addresses, company & director reports and such like. 

Phone
Yep, it might seem abundantly obvious, but to some of us, making that actual step from planning a call, to making that call, can be a giant leap. So, take a deep breathe and dial that number...

Introduce yourself and your business
Assuming you have managed to get hold of the right person...Again although this may seem pretty obvious, it can be a mistake that even the more experienced sales person can make. Before you start selling yourself...your product...your soul...make sure that you at least introduce yourself and say where you are calling from. It might be an idea to in a sense imagine you are meeting the person face to face. Could you imagine having a conversation with a complete stranger, if you didn’t at least introduce who you are and what you do!

Check for ComfortMaking sales calls
It’s taken you two weeks to speak to Mrs Managing Director - the worst thing you could do would be give the person the chance to say goodbye, right? Nope, wrong. Put yourself in their shoes, and as much as sales calls are often a necessity, they can be a hindrance. Therefore give the person the chance to say “not right now”. After introducing yourself, your business, be respectful and check they have the time to chat or listen. It can be tough to do this, but in the long run, this approach may pay off, as a pushy call, will lose more customers than it will make friends.

Pitch / Your proposition
Why are you calling? What are you looking to get out of the call? Are you looking to arrange a meeting or ask for advice? Either way, make sure that you know what you want and how you are going to say it first before you make that call.

Avoid Crutch Words
Um, Eh, Uh.....Obviously.....We all have comfort words that we use (and use and use). It’s a tough one, but in reality the more nervous or unprepared we are, the more crutch words we are likely to use. Practice saying your sentences out loud to yourself before you make that call and try not repeat yourself. The more experienced you get in making calls the more likely that this common trait will disappear or at least subside.

What is your target?
You know what your pitch is - but at the end of the call, what will you be happy to have achieved? What is the minimum that you need to achieve? Is it a meeting? Is it a call back? Is it a sale? By setting a target before the call starts, there is a better chance you will at least find out if that target is realistic or not.

Record the call
Nope, I don’t mean physically recording the conversation, but it does mean having a system that helps you to remember the calls that you make, the customers or clients that you speak to, and the conversations and targets that you make. Recording your calls will mean that the next time that you speak to that customer or client, you are much better prepared to move things on that little bit further...From first base to second base, so to speak!

Dont be disheartened

It is a certainty, that no matter what industry you work in, you will face rejection and possible even rudeness when making sales calls.  For many this is the reason that they feel they are unable to work in a sales enviornment since the feeling of rejection, and on occassions even hurt, can be somewhat overwhelming.  The most important thing to remember in cases like this is that the person on the other end of the phone is not rejecting you as a person.  It is probably the case that they are innundated with work and simply do not have the time to take your call at the moment, or have already had several sales calls today- in short, don't take the whole thing too personally.

Good luck with your next Sales call!

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Published on: 9th March 2013

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