Improve How Your Sales Force Sells by Phone

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 @ 07:08 AM

headsetGetting salespeople to recognize how badly they sound and how ineffective they are when selling on the phone isn't easy.  And just so you know who I'm talking about (and to save you from commenting about how these nuances are different) I'm including prospecting, cold-calling, telemarketing, telesales, inside sales, inbound marketing, outbound marketing and lead gen roles as "selling on the phone".

There are two methods that I prefer to use:

  1. Have them make a call to me and then I make the call to them and we compare the two calls.  After the comparison, I help them optimize their tonality, content and strategy.
  2. Method #2 works best if we have already conducted method #1.  Have them record their calls.  At least, after method #1, they should have a better sense of what they are comparing their calls to.  Without method #1, they may recognize how bad they sound, but rarely will they recognize how ineffective they are.

In most calls, the first 10 seconds are the worst and it only takes the first 10 seconds for a prospect to make these three crucial decisions:

BE ATTENTIVE OR IGNORE?  RESPOND OR GRUNT? ENGAGE OR HANG UP?

In this day and age, there isn't much of a chance to get prospects to be attentive and engage unless your salespeople sound great and ask effective questions at the right time.  And if prospects don't have a reason to be attentive and engaged, they can't make the next decision:

INTERESTED OR NOT INTERESTED?

If your salespeople are unable to interest their prospects there is zero chance of reaching the goal for the call which, depending on the salesperson's role, could be anything from a qualified lead to a scheduled appointment to a transactional sale.

One problem that most salespeople have is that they mistakenly attempt to go from Hello to Interested in one move.  That's like trying to go from start to check-mate in one move in Chess.  Or putting for an Ace from the Tee Box!  You can try to do it all day long but it won't ever work.

If you're working with salespeople who must do at least some of their selling on the phone, observe and listen to how they sound and what they say in the first 10 seconds.  Put yourself in their prospects' shoes.  Would you choose to be attentive, engage and be interested?  If not, the work starts right there.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, phone sales

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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