Sales Coaching Series, Part 23: On the phone and making sales!


Lots of people are pretty good when it comes to having a chat over the phone. In other words, we can be very competent at building relationships, asking questions and finding out about where the prospect may be having "pain" and , in general, getting to diagnose their needs.

However, when it comes to the final piece of securing business over the phone, why is it that so many of us "leave it behind"? What I mean by that is, why don't we ask for the order? We don't close the deal, we don't ask for money and we let people off the hook by saying "why don't you think about and come back to me when you've made a decision!".

Does this sound familiar? You are not alone!

This behaviour can be fatal in sales teams. Why is it that so many of us act in this manner? In my view, it refers back to one of my earlier blogs where I spoke about the fears that people have when in sales. These fears are real. They include fears of failure, of  rejection, of hearing the word "NO" and so on. Who wants to feel a failure, feel rejected and be told "no" like a child.

So how do we avoid it? We simply don't ask, pretend that it was a great call and the customer/prospect with come back to us again in their own good time and close the deal.

Not a chance!

Unless you're very lucky, have a product that is in short supply, have little or no competition, then maybe the prospect will come back. Life isn't like that because I can assure you the prospect, who has their antennae up and are looking for a solution to their problem, will probably come across multiple options and your "nice conversation" is now irrelevant.

So, do you want to fix this? If you do, read on.

I find when I am making a call of this nature, that I physically stand up. Yes, get out of my chair. Sitting down or even slouching, comes across to the prospect when on the phone. Smile, act happy, do whatever you can so that people get the sense that there is something uplifting/motivating coming down the track. This is why all successful outbound call centres have everything scripted. They have trained their people to, literally, within an inch of their lives. All angles and questions are covered. All objections have a ready-made answer. They are all heading for the point in the conversation where they are either going to ask for a deposit or the credit card or "can I get one of my colleagues to call by" ... whatever!


 I'm sure you all been on the receiving end of high pressure marketing calls. The word "sale" is not a dirty or four letter word. It's what feeds the family. It's what keeps you in the style to which you have been accustomed and, to repeat what I said in the past, businesses survive because of one thing and one thing only, that is, high sales. Equally, businesses fail because of one thing and one thing only, and that is low or no sales.

What you want to do in order to get the receiver interested in what you have to offer is to break their preoccupation by asking a question that the prospect thinks "I wonder what it is?". Okay, so warmed up leads and referrals from other satisfied customers are far better than cold calling. I hate cold calling and in my view, frankly, it doesn't work to a great extent. It's hard work and unless you're a tough cookie, as they say, it can wear you down.

Let's assume the person knows of you through referrals or some other testimonial. Once you go through the niceties of introducing yourself, you then introduce this "preoccupation-breaking" question. In my business advisory and consultancy world (which is not the easiest service to sell), very often I would say something like:

·       "if I could show you ways to improve your staff productivity by 40%, would you be interested?".

·       "if I could show you ways to double your sales in the next 12 months, would you be interested?".

Of course they would!! This is just a few examples of questions that which gets the decision-maker thinking in pictures. The business owner is now thinking "OMG, wouldn't that be just great".

What's your question or questions that will get them thinking of giving you a chance to present your offering or getting an appointment. In consultancy, what you are really selling is 10 minutes, F2F to present your ideas...and let them decide!


Think about perfecting this and we will pick it up next week.     

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