As a small business salesperson, you know that repetition and practice can make perfect. You will become more confident as you gain experience communicating with potential customers. Here are some tips we’ve picked up from experienced sellers who have successfully used them to make great calls with their customers.
1. Before you call new customers, talk to current customers
One of the best ways to learn what your customers want is… ask them! Speak with your current customers to identify particular problems your product or service has helped solve. Work to really understand the relationship between their problems and the solutions you offer. Using this information will certainly help you during your initial conversation with a new customer. After all, you know that leads in your target audience will most likely face the same problems your current customer are dealing with. This proactive approach helps demonstrate your competency and guides your conversation toward an objective.
2. Be prepared before your call
First, determine who your target customers are. If available, connect with your marketing team to research potential customer profiles and other relevant information. Next, do your homework and create a specific objective for each call. Ask yourself—is this call to set up an appointment, find a specific contact within the organization, or get the prospect into your sales cycle? Knowing the person you should connect with and your objective for the conversation is paramount to succeeding with a great call.
One helpful strategy prior to making your call is to research the prospect on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Learn about their interests, social activities, and other items of note that you can use in conversation. This can help warm the lead and move you away from being viewed as a total stranger.
3. Create a strong opener that moves you from stranger to connection
A strong first line helps keep a prospect on the phone and often reduces the chances of the call ending prematurely. Try a variety of different openers that are warm, personal, and show respect for their time—see what works best for you.
It’s more than likely you have caught the prospect off-guard with your call. They could be unprepared for the conversation, so don’t give them too much information in the first few minutes. Keep your initial call simple. Focus on gathering insights about their challenges and business needs instead of launching into a monologue about your products. By treating your first call with the lead as a research step, you can be of more value during your following conversations.
4. Remember what your goal is
When you finally connect with your call, it’s not about you. It’s about the customer. With that mindset, you are already setup for success. Yes, you have a great solution for their problem or need, but your call should always focus on them and their problems. Learn about their business, current pain points and engage in active listening. Recommend your solution after they know you have a genuine interest in their challenges and know how your business can overcome them.
5. Learn from those who reject your offer
When you can, learn why you were told no. It may be that your product isn’t a great fit for them right now. You may also discover insights into your target market or find out where they perceive a lack of value or immediate need for your offering. Use this information to your advantage by tackling these head on during future calls.
As you learn more about each prospect or your audience as a whole, enter the information into your customer relationship management (CRM) platform. The more data you have on your customers and contacts, the better you know them– so speaking with potential customers is a great way to capture research each time.
Look at every call as a chance to learn more about your customer. Even if they say no, you walk away from the call with better call experience, greater insight into their business, and more information you can use to turn a future call into a “yes.”
So try using these tips and see how your calls improve with each customer connection you make! Happy selling!