Selling over the phone can be a tricky business. There’s no body language to pick up on and no eye contact, but you still need to make an impression. These sales call tips should help make sure you aren’t forgotten the second they’ve hung up.

Some phone calls are so memorable they stick with you for years. To pick just two examples, I’ll never forget Liam Neeson’s “very particular set of skills” or Ron Burgundy being stuck in a “glass case of emotion”. But can we learn something from them in the business world? Probably not, no.

Whether you deal in inbound or outbound, we’ve collated 12 of the very best tips and techniques for selling over the phone, based on science, data, experience and psychology.

Tip 1: scheduling the call

Our first tip for successful sales calls starts before you’ve even picked up the phone. An AI analysis of 2 million pitches shows that there are significant advantages to calling at the right time.

Although the most common time slot to book a sales call is 10 am -12 pm, this isn’t the best time to call. Calls booked between 3 – 6 pm have a 30% higher chance of actually turning up to the call than one booked between 8 – 11 am. 

Of course, you may have a system in place that allows prospects to pick their own time. Prospects are more likely to attend the call if they’ve scheduled it themselves but if you have any input, book the call towards the end of the working day.

Sales tip 2: call script or call structure?

Reading from a script is a surefire way to lower your close rates. As you get more used to the words, you become more robotic. Last time I looked, Daleks had a terrible close rate.

However, having a structure that groups topics together can be very beneficial.

It makes the conversation follow a familiar pattern and allows you to get across your main selling points, but it’s also easier for the prospect to follow and remember these points.

The call will still be able to flow naturally, with questions from the prospect picked up and answered as they arise without upending any script.

Sales call tip 3: Start by building rapport

Don’t jump straight into the pitch like Usain Bolt starting the 100 metres. Start by building rapport with a quick bout of small talk. 

Outlining an agenda, and checking with the prospect if they want to edit it, puts the two of you on a more equal footing. Nobody wants to go into a call worried they are going to be lectured for an hour.

 

 

Tip 4: Listen more than you talk

On that point, although you are doing the selling, one of the key aspects of a good call is listening. Saleshacker reports that top sellers talk for a maximum of 46% of a sales call. Whereas poorer performers chatter away for over 68% of the time.

By giving the prospect space to talk, you turn it into a two-way conversation, allow them to direct you to the points that matter to them, and find out more about their use case.

Sales tip 5: Focus on benefits, not features

It’s easy to focus on features. We tend to view our products and services from the inside looking out: our strengths and weaknesses can often be seen in the features we’ve worked hard to put in place. We obsess over what we offer that the competition doesn’t.

But a buyer often is far less interested in how something works, they want to know the results they’re going to get, and how it is going to make their life easier or their company stronger. Spend more time on demonstrating business value, and they will be able to imagine an easier life with your product at the centre.

An old white landline phone on a grey floor

Sales call tip 6: Discuss competitors

Prospects will be looking at multiple solutions, and both of you know this. But how and when you address it can make a big difference. 

When dealing with the competition, do it early in the sales cycle and your chances of closing a deal increase by 49%. It’s also important to avoid bad-mouthing them; it comes across as unprofessional and unpersuasive. You can acknowledge they have strengths, but outline why you are a better fit.

Sales call tip 7: Act like a consultant

Think of yourself as a consultant who is advising the prospect on the best way to solve their issues. Understand a prospect’s needs and demonstrate how your solution can add value. As well as doing your research before the call, you need to ask questions…

Sales tip 8: Ask the right questions

But ask the right questions, and ask the right number of questions. Pick three to four problems. You can ask a few targetted questions on each, so you want to ask around 11-14 in total.

Success rates peak at four topics before declining sharply after that. Don’t try and cover every single thing that you can help with; focus on the big ones and cover them well.

Sales tip 9: Hold off on the price chat

Don’t talk about pricing until later in the call. An analysis of one million sales calls found that the lowest-performing sales reps talk about pricing in the first 15 minutes.

The best performing hold off until around the 40-minute mark and beyond. The idea is to have demonstrated value by the time the money conversation starts, so they think “well that’s good value considering how much it will help us”.

An old style black phone on a dark blue background

Tip 10: Have great collateral

If sales and marketing are aligned, your marketing team should have created some great sales collateral for you that can help move closer to the close.

Whether it’s a company presentation, product details, case studies, or collateral that tackles the competition head-on, having well-presented documentation can help reassure the prospect and bring other stakeholders on board.

Sales call tip 11: Send the right collateral

Don’t just send whatever you have. Done right, collateral should be created based on common objections, so match your information with their need.

You should have a fairly good idea from topics discussed during the call, but you can always make sure by asking “You’ve mentioned A and B are important to you, would it be helpful to send over a document covering those topics in a little more detail?”

Tip 12: Discuss next steps

Without confirming the next steps, you’re just marketing your product, not selling it.

Top salespeople spend 13% more pitch time discussing next steps than their poorer performing counterparts. Use that time to discuss and confirm how to move the sale forward.

 

If you’re trying to drive conversion rates from lead to sale, I hope the above sales call tips help you close a few more deals.

If you’re interested in pouring more leads into your funnel, you’ve landed in the right place. We’re SoPro, award-winning and best-in-class prospecting agency. Take a look around or have a chat with us – we’re good at starting conversations.