Even in today's age of online communication, salespersons can't do without making phone calls. Whether it's cold calls, setting up a face-to-face meeting or a regular call with a regular client, smoothly made phone calls are important for salespersons. Read on for tips on how to make the right phone calls to succeed with clients.
1. Good preparation is essential
Before you pick up the phone and dial the first number, be clear about why you want to call the client and what you want to achieve. Is it to set up a business meeting or to present an offer? Depending on the purpose of the call, prepare a handout and write down the key points you want to touch on. That way you won't forget anything important during the call.
If it's a first contact, also find out as much information as you can about the potential client and their company in preparation. You can then mention some detail during the call to show that the client is not just one of many you are calling today.
Don't forget about yourself either. If you have a day full of calls ahead of you, get a good night's sleep so you have plenty of energy and are mentally well. This will help you to maintain your focus during calls, respond faster and appear natural.
2. Make a good impression right from the start
Start the call by greeting and introducing yourself - make your name and company clear, including your position in the company. This is the basis of good manners, but it also gives the person on the other side a chance to enter the conversation and start to notice.
The same applies if the client is calling you. Avoid phrases like "Hello?" or "Well?", instead opt for a polite "Please?", introduce yourself and ask how you can help.
3. Check that you are not interrupting
Make sure you don't disturb the client right from the start. Try not to use questions like "Am I interrupting?" or "Do you have a minute?" Instead, it's better to be specific about why you're calling and how much time you want the client to give you. For example, try this, "I need to discuss with you a new feature offering that will enhance your CRM. Can you give me 10 minutes right now?"
Be aware of and respond to the background noise. If you hear a client driving or children barking by, take advantage of that and ask directly if now is a good time to talk.
If the client is busy, suggest calling back later. Arrange a specific time when it will be most convenient for the client.
Answer a missed call from a client as soon as possible. If you can't call now, text that you'll call back after the meeting, in an hour, or the next day. Don't play dead.
4. Speak slowly and clearly
Once you have the client's attention, explain the main reason you are calling. Keep in mind that the client cannot see your gestures and facial expressions, which make it easier to understand when speaking normally. Therefore, articulate well, speak slowly and use short sentences.
Be factual and concise, do not overwhelm the other party with unnecessary details and do not stray from the main topic. Save the smalltalk for a personal meeting and get straight to the point. If you don't engage the client right from the start, they'll be left wondering how to end the call quickly.
5. Pay attention to the client
When you're talking to a client, give them your full attention. Listen well, take notes if necessary. Show interest by nodding or addressing the client by name from time to time. Also ask questions and let the client talk.
During the call, the client should feel that you are there for them. Therefore, make sure you do not engage in other activities while on the phone. The client may not be able to see you, but they can tell if you are listening to them or if you are focused on something else.
6. Observe telephone etiquette
It is not enough to impress at the beginning of the call, it is important not to discourage the client during the following minutes. It goes without saying that you do not drink, eat or chew gum while on the phone.
Try to avoid making calls in public places, such as a restaurant or café, but also among colleagues. For one thing, you are disturbing the surroundings and the traffic around you and the client. In addition, you risk divulging sensitive information.
Calling at the right time is also part of telephone etiquette. It is common practice not to call before 8 am, between 11 am and 1 pm for lunch and after 10 pm. If you really need to call a client in the evening or at noon, text instead. If you're calling internationally, don't forget the time difference.
7. The end of the call is also important
Once you've discussed everything important, don't forget to summarize the results of the call and the follow-up. For example, reiterate the exact time of the meeting and remind the client what documents you will send. You'll clarify everything you've agreed on and avoid misunderstandings at the same time.
At the end, ask if the client has any questions to ask or anything to discuss. If not, have a good day and say goodbye. Wait a few seconds before hanging up so that you don't lose the client mid-sentence.
After the call, save all your notes in your CRM as soon as possible. Schedule the appointment in your calendar, send the necessary documents, and write down any other information the client has told you that may be useful next time.