As a salesperson, you often spend several hours on the phone every day. But pulling off a good sales call is difficult. Sometimes you end up in situations where your arguments fall flat, the conversation doesn’t flow or it’s difficult to gauge how interested the person on the other end of the phone is. So how can you take control of the sales call and lead the conversation where you want it to go? Here are our sellers’ top tips for success!

1. Be clear about what you want

Who hasn’t been contacted by a salesperson who started with “Have you got a few minutes? I’m not going to try and sell you anything.” And of course, it’s easy to think the recipient will listen more if they think you don’t want them to buy anything. But unfortunately, it usually wastes both your own and the recipient’s time.

People don’t make sales calls in order to make friends. When you’re borrowing someone else’s time, be straightforward about what you hope to achieve. If the goal of the call is to set up a meeting, then sell the meeting, not the product or service you represent. At the same time, ask questions that give you a good base of information to take with you into the meeting, as that’s where you’ll focus more on the product or service you offer.

2. Prepare your questions in advance

You’ve probably heard that you should avoid yes/no questions in a sales call. But it’s not that easy to come up with open questions if the conversation’s stalled and you’ve started stressing out. Be well prepared before you pick up the phone by planning a few questions in situations like that. Want some examples? Well, here you go!

  • “What are your biggest challenges?”
  • “How do you make decisions about these types of issues?”
  • “Who’s involved in the decision when you purchase products/services like this?”

With a few open-ended questions to fall back on, you can easily carry the conversation forward if it’s not going in the direction you want it to.

3. Listen (Yes, you heard right!)

Sales talks are all about understanding the customer’s needs and challenges. Without understanding your customers’ pain points, you have no idea how your solution can create value for the customer. So don’t be in too much of a hurry to talk about yourself and what you can offer. Instead, ask them to describe their business, processes and employees. Only after identifying the customer’s needs and how you can meet them can you move on to your pitch*. It’s so much better that way!

*Pitch = your selling points

4. Keep the pitch short

During your pitch, show you’ve understood the customer’s problems by suggesting or describing the solution to their two or three biggest challenges. No one remembers more points than that. And if you’ve asked the right questions and listened to the customer, you should have a feel for what they need. Keep the pitch short and to the point, and save longer explanations for the meeting you’ve set up. It’s a good idea to mention a reference, in order to create trust with the customer.

5. Be yourself

Sales calls always flow best if you relax and just be yourself. Instead of starting with a long script, just have a few quick points written down. That allows you to conduct the conversation in a more natural, relaxed way. You only appear credible if you’re yourself, so don’t pretend to be someone else. This will be to your benefit in the long run.

6. Don’t act impulsively!

Last but not least: Always take time to think before answering the customer’s questions. If you’re not sure about something, it’s always better to ask to get back to them. If you answer incorrectly or make a promise you can’t keep, it’ll affect your relationship with the customer for a long time to come. Returning to something said earlier is a good and natural part of sales work. It’s also a great excuse to reach out to the customer and follow up on their thought process.  How good is that?

Want to know the best time of day to make a sales call? Read our article The best time to contact customers.

Good luck with your sales calls!