As with any other business activities, it is very important to prepare even before making a phone call.
You also need to know that the purpose of the call is not only to sell but that it can help you with several other objectives such as inviting a customer to view a website, to book an appointment for a meeting, etc. Phone calls are different since you can’t see the other person. Research shows that it’s better to walk during phone calls as it improves your breathing and speech. Use headphones and a microphone so you can move your hands while talking and have a better conversation.
Preparation before a phone call:
- be well rested and relaxed; breathing exercises may help,
- your voice is very important; if you are nervous your voice tends to be higher so lower your voice before a call,
- be well informed about the product and/or service you are selling,
- write down the goal you are trying to achieve with the phone call,
- consider the benefits you bring to the customer and why they should listen to you,
- prepare the questions you will ask the customer and appropriate responses; prepare the story of benefits the product you are selling brings (this is called a calling script, which should be next to you during the phone call and you should try memorising it, as it will help you with the answers to any possible rejections e.g. the product is too expensive),
- practice makes perfect (I recommend that you practice by recording yourself and listening to your phone sales),
- before making the call find information about your buyer,
- if possible, greet the customer by their name (this means finding out their name before the call),
- it is much easier if you try the product out yourself and trust it,
- start your call with a positive introduction and avoid negative ones, for example, bad news.
How to create a call script?
The script is better told than written down. This means you first say it aloud and later write it down, because writing it before speaking means longer sentences, commas, learned words, etc. The easiest way to do that is to call someone, record it, later write it down and use it as an initial calling script. The script is never finished and is constantly upgraded. Use multiple scripts, as they should be different if you speak to students or to pensioners.
When is the best time to call?
Every field is different. It also depends on whether you are selling to individuals or companies. Walter Hailey states that 70 percent of sales are made between 7 am and 1 pm, 20 percent during 1pm and 4 pm and just 10 percent after 4 pm.
Rules to keep in mind during a phone call:
- sentences should be short,
- don’t talk bad about your competition,
- use appropriate words like agreement instead of contract, challenge rather than problem, to have instead of to buy, investment rather than cost, etc.,
- start with questions,
- adjust the calls to different groups of people (neuro-linguistic programming teaches this),
- use headphones as it makes speaking easier (use your hands while talking),
- some people use mirrors while they talk,
- adjust the way of talking to different age groups (some older people might not know what a banner is),
- don’t interrupt the person you are speaking to,
- change your voice (high and low),
- avoid fillers, for example, erm,
- your speech should be picturesque, for example, water is crystal clear.
After the call, do self-analysis (record conversations, at least your own, and listen to the recordings as this is the easiest way to see which words you used, which fillers, etc.).
I suggest you follow the people listed below who are phone calls experts: