What makes a great sales call?

At my local Busy Mums networking group today we discussed making sales calls and the resistance we often have with them.

So many of us have had that experience of sitting down to make a sales call, looking at the number, mentally rehearsing what we want to say, wondering how the other person will respond, cringing at the “what if it goes horribly wrong” scenarios, and thinking of a ton of other things we’d rather be doing. Next thing we know, something else has come up and we’ve run out of time.

At the end of the day it comes down to us wanting to do it well and get a good response. Much of our resistance comes from fear of rejection, even confrontation, or simply making a poor impression – and when it comes to negative experiences of receiving sales calls, we all had plenty of examples:

  • The ones that are high pressured – refusing to take no for an answer
  • The ones that are completely irrelevant, but insist on dragging you through all the ‘benefits’
  • The ones that are too attached to their script to actually listen and respond to what you’re saying
  • The ones that are fake and overly ‘friendly’, diving straight in with “how was your weekend?” when you’re still thinking ‘Who are you and what do you want?’
  • The ones that are rude and argumentative when you try to respectfully decline.

So what makes a great sales call?

Actually it’s probably one that doesn’t even feel like a ‘sales’ call – more like a mutually beneficial conversation.

One of our members talked about someone organising a summer fair, who called to ask if she wanted a stall to sell her cupcakes. It was just what she wanted, and didn’t even deem it as a sales call – yet for the person making it, they probably did see it as a sales call.

Looking at calls we’ve enjoyed receiving and pleasant buying experiences, these usually

  • Get straight to the point
  • Offer something we want
  • Are pleasant and courteous
  • Are flexible and responsive – offering to call back later if they hear a screaming child in the background, able to email if that’s what we prefer…
  • Show a genuine interest in our business (bonus points for doing some research beforehand)

And even if we’re not interested, a simple smiley “Ok that’s great, thanks very much for your time” leaves such a good impression, and a feel good factor for both parties. (The smile is important – makes a big difference :))

Make the call

If you’re still procrastinating on your sales calls, I find it helps to spend a little bit of time preparing what I want to say and making a list of people to call, then committing to doing say 5 a day. Setting a limit and a time frame means I can sit down and get them done – if I get a great response, fantastic. If it’s not for them, great, I’ll move onto the next one and be one step closer to getting them done!

How about you? How do you feel about making sales calls? What tactics do you use to help you get into the right mindset? What have been some of the ingredients of a great sales call for you – whether it’s one you’ve made or received? Let’s talk about it – share your comments below.

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