The Most Effective Ways to Start a Sales Call

Posted on May 21, 2013 · No Comments

You probably have a collection of business cards that you built up over the years. Chances are you haven't stayed in touch with many of the people you met. Yet some of those contacts could be excellent prospects for you. But who's got the time to call all of them? Plus, what would you say?

Warming Up Your Call List

There's a much better and more effective way than to pick up the phone and start dialing for dollars. Nobody likes to make cold calls. Nobody likes to receive them either. If you can warm up a prospect before you call, you will completely change the dynamic so that when you do call, you are met with a receptive lead, not someone who is trying to get you off the phone as quickly a possible.

Here is what you can do to warm up a prospect ahead of your initial call:

  1. Send an educational newsletter on 2-3 topics related to your business. Example: an IT consulting company might talk about cloud computing or data back up services, a web design company might discuss font size testing methods or designing around the letter "F", a management consulting company might dive into business plan topics.
  2. Use your email tool's analytics to see who is opening your message and, more importantly, who is clicking on each article so you know what topics they are interested in.
  3. Call people on this list. Do this strategically, not like a robot.

Don't call and say:

Hey, I just noticed you clicked on my article about setting up a disaster recovery plan for your business

That's creepy!

Instead, wait a day or so and say something like this to start the conversation:

Hi Sally, this is <your name>. I'm calling because we're noticing several companies like yours take a closer look at disaster recovery to protect their assets and I wanted to check in to see if you'd like to explore some options for <name of Sally's company>.

Sally will very likely take your call. Why? Because you warmed her up by sending an email that you know she is interested in. How do you know that? Because you know that she clicked to read more about disaster recovery. Your email analytics showed you exactly what she is interested in, allowing you to guide your conversation appropriately.

This approach allows for a much softer initial call, one that focuses on the prospect's needs and interests. As a result, you will be talking to more engaged prospects and improve your chances of closing more sales.

Follow Up Questions

Once your prospect responds with something like "okay, tell me more," then use these sample questions to help you see if there is a good fit for your services:

  • Have you ever encountered a situation where...

your servers went down and you lost several hours of work?

you had a power outage and you couldn't access your data remotely?

your web site analytics showed many people visiting your site but few clicking beyond your home page?

you wanted to know how productive your staff is when they work remotely?

your business plan sat on the shelf without actionable items being done?

  • How much would you estimate that cost you (is costing you) in downtime/lost productivity/missed opportunities/etc.?
  • What have you tried so far? How is that working out?

The key to a successful sales call is to pinpoint the prospect's needs quickly and to show them how you can solve their issues. Don't waste their time or yours with questions to which the only obvious answer is "yes." And definitely avoid asking "What keeps you up at night?" That requires too much thinking and shows you didn't do your homework.

By leveraging your analytics data, you can shorten your sales cycle by focusing on the warmest leads and their specific interests

See Presstacular's Resources section for guides and more to help your business grow.