Today we have a guest post from Danny Wong. Danny is a marketing consultant, sales strategist, and writer. He does marketing at Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. Connect with him on Twitter @dannywong1190.
Sales calls get a bad reputation, but should you completely abandon sales calls? Sales calls have the reputation they do because there are more bad sales calls than good ones. Your prospects assume that a sales call won't be worth their time—because 9 out of 10 calls really are that bad.
These are tough odds to be up against, but sales calls are often the only avenue into the new business you crave. Dispelling the myths can help combat that fear or feelings of defeat.
Myth: People aren't interested in the call.
This one is unfortunately true in many ways, though you likely didn't need to hear that. Just think about how you feel when you first listen to someone who is clearly reading off a script and desperate to get the wording right, despite the fact that you tuned out of the conversation minutes ago.
However, this myth is still a myth.
While it's harder today to establish a relationship over the phone than pre-Internet days, it's by no means impossible. People do want to take your call once they know you're invested in what they're doing. The average salesperson only makes one or two attempts before giving up on a lead, with the exact average being 1.3 times. To get people interested in answering the phone, it means establishing relationships with the people who screen the calls in order to finally make it up the ladder.
Myth: Sales calls aren't for the best salespeople.
Sales calls are not supposed to be a punishment or reserved for those who are just starting out in their careers. Being on the phone should be a privilege, and treated as an extremely valuable skill.
The top salespeople are the ones who have likely already cultivated their phone voice, charm, and expertise, and are able to adapt each of those qualities to the person on the other end. Some clients and businesses need more charm and finesse while others just need the person to get to the point. While this doesn't mean that sales calls should be the only thing sellers do all day (because sales calls really are exhausting), it also shouldn't be seen as a dreaded task that just needs to be checked off a list.
Whatever the client wants on the other end is a mystery just waiting to be discovered by the right salesperson. Treating a phone call like it's just another duty that must be completed will actively hurt the company.
Myth: Sincerity can be established right away.
This one is absolutely false, and all sales reps have to be acutely aware of it. While charm and flattery can be established practically before the receiver even picks up the phone, it will take quite some time for a client to fully believe in the person's sincerity.
Your company should never rely on customers who are too trusting to realize that the salesperson is motivated by something else other than helping a client solve a problem. One of the best ways to connect is to tell stories along with statistics. Only 5% of people remember specific stats from a sales call whereas 63% of people remember stories. As long as they're true stories, it can transform a surface-level connection to a deeper one faster.
Myth: Only the outgoing and personable succeed.
All good salespeople have the gift of gab, right? Well, maybe not. Sometimes it's introverted people who can actually listen to and (more importantly) interpret what the client is trying to say.
Those who are a little quieter have a chance to really absorb the client's needs, and therefore give them solid reasons as to why they'd be better off choosing their product or service.
When a prospect perceives the sales rep as thoughtful, they're more likely to put extra weight on what the person is saying. But when sales reps seem like they're in love with the sound of their own voice, prospects don't have confidence in the person.
Myth: Stretching the truth is perfectly fine.
Some businesses actually encourage their sales reps to skirt around certain issues, but while these can be great for getting initial business, it's not so good for the long-term goals of the company.
If you're looking to create a lasting reputation, your reps would be better off practicing honesty—especially when they're getting the vibe that a business has been burned before by less-than-truthful salespeople. No product is ever perfect, and no customer satisfaction rating is ever 100%. Lying about it will only create problems either on the call or when the company does discover the truth.
Reminding yourself that these myths are just that—myths—will help you improve your sales calls. And with better calls, you'll see better results.