Telephone sales skills: your first contact with the potential client


Phone Sales Skills with the Prospect: Once you get past the secretary screen and start talking to the prospect or decision maker, you enter the “Call. Fix. Hang Up” phase.

This IS the time to briefly Introduce yourself and make an appointment to meet us. This is NOT the time to go into lengthy explanations, or try to make the sale over the phone. (Unless, of course, you’re doing telemarketing…and we’re not going into telemarketing here.)

At this stage, you have a crucial goal to accomplish: to persuade that prospect to spend time meeting you face-to-face. Time is money for effective decision makers and they are not willing to waste it on long phone calls or unproductive meetings.

When you talk to the prospect, be friendly but to the point. Don’t talk about the weather or how your day is going.

It is also not the time to talk in detail about what your product is, or your career. All that will come later.

ASK “Is this a good time to talk?” DO NOT ask, “Is this a bad time?”

When you call the prospect on the phone, don’t ask, “Is this a bad time to talk?” Why not? Think how easy it would be to say yes to that question.

Instead, take the positive approach: expect good news. Use your phone sales skills to frame the question with a positive expectation: If you feel like the person on the other end of the call is distracted or harassed, ask with a positive spin: “Is this a good time to talk?” Once again, it is easier to answer yes.

But if the prospect says, “Actually, no, it’s really not a good time,” then you’re well positioned to ask, “I understand. When would be a better time to talk?”

Key phone sales skills mantra: “Call. Fix. Hang up.”

Sales professionals think of this first phone contact as the “Call, Fix, Hang Up” phase. The point is to make the call, schedule a meeting, and then get off the line without getting stuck.

Obviously, you don’t want to come across as abrupt during the conversation, but you also don’t want to get into a long conversation at this point. For busy decision makers, phone calls are by nature interruptions, so the shorter, more business-oriented, and more direct the interruption, the better.

Another reason to be succinct now.

— YOU MAY MISS your chance to meet with the Prospect if you talk too much, but the reality is…

— BUT, no matter what you say, YOU CANNOT DO the sale over the phone.

Telephone Sales Skills: The First 30 Seconds

Once the prospect picks up the phone, you have two crucial tasks to accomplish in about 30 seconds, or maybe even less…that is, before the prospect’s interest wanes or before another incoming call takes precedence. .

In these first few seconds, you need,

1. Introduce yourself and your company(if operating under a company name), and,

2. Present concise reasons for your phone call, as well as why the decision maker should take the time to meet with you.

That may seem like a lot to do in 30 seconds, but here’s a sample script you can adapt:

“Mr. Robinson, this is Tom Gibbons from Productivity Services. I’m calling because I believe we can increase your company’s profitability by reducing office overhead, maybe as much as 20% in the first year. I’d like to meet you.” with you for about half an hour to explore the possibilities. Would later this week be convenient, or would it be better for you early next week?”

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