Sales calls have always been challenging for sales professionals. Be it a scheduled online video call or a cold call to a prospect, pitches are what define your business, and doing them right is critical.
The pandemic has changed the way people sell and buy. Sales professionals had one core strength that they didn’t realise until the pandemic began. And that strength was the human connection. Sales meetings moved to calls and video conferences, leaving professionals to turn to other ways they could bring ‘humanness’ into their conversations.
But times have again changed, and we are now faced with the hybrid world. Whether you are meeting the client or calling them. Whether it is a cold call or a pre-scheduled one, the basics of preparing for a sales call has remained the same. Read on to know more.
What is the motive behind a sales call?
Sales has always been about the art of the three C’s, which are:
- Connecting with your prospects
- Communicating effectively
- Convincing them to make an investment
The first C sets in motion the other two, but it is the most difficult of the three. It is a challenge to convince people when there is so much competition in the world. Why should they pick you? How can they trust you? How can they be sure that you are as committed to the outcome as they are?
Answering these questions is the motive behind every sales call. Yes, it extends far beyond just making a sale and gaining a conversion. If you want customers to last long, you will have to find new strategies for success. You will have to sell them the service or idea without sounding as though that is your sole intention. You want them to trust you and believe that you care about their growth.
This can be achieved by following four simple steps.
1. Do your research
Remember how you used to prepare for an exam or interview with a whole night of research? How much more confident did that make you feel and how sure of yourself did you become? The same goes for sales calls as well. Information is power. Never simply pick up the phone and make a call to your customers. Do your research and do it thoroughly to stay updated with your customer’s current requirements and what they do. Read industry reports and research reports. Understand your audience and how they can benefit from your service. Try to predict certain eventualities in the call and be prepared with answers to follow-up questions.
Before starting any sales call, take a moment to jot down what you wish to achieve for your customer. With good research, you will know what your customer is doing and what solutions they would want to find. Try to formulate an approach that will give them answers at the end of your call. What will you say that will target their specific needs and get their attention? What can you say that will satisfy those needs and make them invest?
“I was once about to begin a sales call when I decided to do something different. I went to the client’s website and checked their testimonials section. From there, I emailed a person who had left a negative review of the brand. The person told me that the brand lacked proper internal communication. They often felt they were repeating themselves and there were too many people to speak to. This helped me market my product, a mobile app for productivity and communication – I connected my product to the said issue and they were sold! It felt like I truly understood them and had a permanent solution to their age-old problem!” said a sales rep from a popular mobile app company in Chennai.
2. Jot down your call objectives
This step is just as important as the first one, as you are also establishing YOUR takeaways from the call along with the client. Seldom does a sale happen in the first call or meeting in B2B sales. So, have your objectives in mind when making the call. It will help you stay focused and know if you are moving in the right direction.
Do you want a deeper understanding of the customer’s pain point? Do you want to offer your quotation and give them some time to get back to you? Or would you like to intrigue them and convince them to book a demo?
As Mr. Venkataraman Subramanyan, Director of Sales Effectiveness and Execution Excellence at Tripura Multinational, states in his video, knowing your objectives is very important while preparing for a sales call.
“What do you want to achieve? Maybe you want your customer to understand that you have far greater capabilities. Maybe you want your customer to understand that there is a specific business value that you can drive for them. Maybe your objective is to make sure that this meeting takes you upstairs into the executive suite. Having clarity of the objectives is one thing. Focusing predominantly on customer outcomes is another.”
3. Maintain a call record, update your CRM
This might sound odd, as this article lists how you can prepare for a sales call. But you can start a call record even before your first call by adding all the points you have researched. This will benefit you as it will help you predict the questions that will arise during the first call. Also, you can use the information in your next call, and you can improve yourself, which is the most vital aspect of preparing for any sales call.
Most sales organisations have CRMs that help with recording call details. It also acts as a customer database. You can mention all the information from the name and website to how the conversation progressed and how they responded to your points. It is a one stop shop for all your client information. You can revisit the database and ensure you aren’t caught by surprise during a future call. Always review these records before your next sales call and mentally prepare yourself for it.
4. Positioning your business, product or service
Your product or service will have several benefits and ways to be used. But what is that one way your customer can use it to enhance their business? What aspect of your product or service can you connect to your client which will give them a permanent solution to their issues? Why are you valuable when there are so many similar brands out there?
Before any sales call, make sure you know your customer’s pain points. And how your service or product can be positioned against their needs. “I met a customer at a cafe recently for a sales call. The meeting was scheduled a week in advance which gave me an advantage. I researched the brand’s niche and curated a blog that highlighted a possible pain point for the client. I then posted it on my LinkedIn profile and made it look like an old post by adding some more blogs on top. During the meeting, I casually opened my phone and said, “What a coincidence, I wrote a blog on this exact same thing a few weeks back!” I was able to position my product against the pain point,” said a sales rep from a reputed business in Chennai.
What we can understand from this is the importance of showing your audience that you can value them. You can connect your services to create a positive impact on their business. Customers will be more eager to make a sale if they can trust you as an advisor who cares about them.
What we have learned here is the beauty of timeliness and knowing how to organize the proceedings of your call. The pandemic has made us impatient and a lot less tolerant of hearing what we already know. Whether you are organising your call online or offline, the first three minutes of engagement is crucial. If you can’t convince the customer to keep listening by then, you have pretty much lost them.
Don’t get on the call and then ask the customer to elaborate about their business and their issues. You can do your research beforehand and project yourself as a reliable friend who already knows everything about the business. This will help you set your objectives in place while meeting the client’s outcomes simultaneously.
Want to learn more about preparing for sales calls and how you can ace your sales game? Click here to know more about good preparation and how to emerge as a successful sales leader.