Sales is set of skills that anyone can learn. If you learn and then practice the right skills, then things will be easier for you, and you’ll have more success. But if you don’t learn and use the right skills, then you’ll tend to wing it and make it up as you go along. This strategy is proven to lead to more frustration and less sales. It’s sad but true: most sales reps use ineffective skills and techniques that actually make it harder for them to succeed. And until you change what you do, you’ll just keep getting those poor results.
Below are five examples of poor techniques, I call them “Don’t say that,” followed by what to say instead. Look at these and ask yourself how many of these you are using and then make a commitment to begin using the more effective statements instead, and see for yourself how much easier selling over the phone becomes…
While prospecting, don’t say:
“Wonder if I caught you at a good time?” OR “Is this a good time for you?”
While I know it sounds polite to ask permission before you begin a conversation, giving your prospect a chance to avoid speaking to a sales person (you) is almost always a bad idea. If I’m ever given that option, I always say it’s a bad time just to get you off the phone. There is a better way to acknowledge that you are barging into someone’s day unannounced, and here it is:
Say this instead:
“________ I know you’re busy, so let me briefly ask you just one thing: we provide (your product – to other like companies or clients) and it may help you, too. Quick question:
“How do you currently..” OR “When was the last time you compared…” OR “Are you the right person to speak with regarding this?”
This technique works on several levels: First, you’re acknowledging they are busy and letting them know in advance that you’re going to be brief. Second, the opening is short and you immediately get to a qualifying question. And by getting to a question quickly, you’re giving your prospect the opportunity to tell you if they’re busy or not – don’t worry, if they don’t have the time, they’ll tell you. This is much better than offering them the out in the beginning. Third, by asking a qualifying question (and feel free to customize what you want to ask), you’re actually learning something about your prospect. Overall, this is the much more effective opening.
While prospecting, don’t say:
“I’m calling to learn a little bit more about your company…”
Quick: what’s the one thing you and your prospects don’t have enough of? Time. One of the biggest causes of resistance from your prospects is the idea of a sales rep taking some of their precious time to pitch them on something they probably don’t want anyway. I groan when a sales reps calls me and starts pitching, and when you’re at home and a telemarketer calls you, how do YOU feel?
While opening your call by asking, “I’m calling to learn a little bit more about your company,” might sound consultative and in your prospect’s best interest, it isn’t perceived that way. That’s why it’s much better to:
Say this instead:
“________ briefly, we help companies do XYZ, and I just have a quick question to easily find out if this is a fit for you as well…
“How do you currently..” Or “When was the last time you..” OR “Are you the right person to speak with regarding this?”
Once again, the key is to be brief and to get to a qualifying question quickly. Your prospect will appreciate that you’re getting to the point right away, and this immediately separates you from all the other sales reps calling to steal their time.
While prospecting, don’t open your call like this:
“The reason for my call is that we provide accounting solutions for companies that process more than 150 employees in a month. Our solution is ideal for companies like yours in that we can save you both time and money handling…..”
Believe it or not, most sales reps start a call with a product dump monologue that instantly puts prospects in a bad mood. Nobody cares what you do or how you do it. Instead, what they want to know is if it’s a fit for them and how it can help them. And that’s why you must, absolutely must, get to the point quickly and ask them a question so they can engage with you. Try:
Do open your call this way instead:
“The reason I’m calling is to see if you’d be a good candidate for what we do. _________ in a nutshell we have a super easy solution that saves companies as much as 15% monthly in the way they process their employee checks. Let me ask you just two quick questions:
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