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How SMEs can effectively close sales over the phone

by jcp

By Damian Hanson, Co-Founder & Director of CircleLoop

Closing sales over the phone is a skillful, yet timely art. To find success, you need to know how to create a balance between being persistent and knowing when to stop and rethink your sales strategy. Some would argue it’s easier to close a deal in person, but in this day and age, it’s likely you’ll have more significant opportunities to close over the phone.

Our Chatterbox Matrix shows just how important business communication is. Businesses in places like Watford and Macclesfield are amongst the chattiest in the UK, and more businesses are dependent on converting prospects to customers via the phone than ever before.

With this in mind, I think it’s important to share six useful tips to hone your sales skills and close more deals at a faster rate.

#1 Don’t rely on a script

When we first get into cold calling, it can be a little daunting not knowing how the call will go or the reaction you may get from the person on the other end of the line. To combat nerves, salespeople may feel the need to develop a script. However, regurgitating the same lines could make the conversation sound robotic and dull to the potential customer.

Try to make each call sound as close to a real conversation as possible. Provide a level of small talk and ask relevant and relatable questions to add a human touch to the process. Not only will this allow moments for genuine conversation, but it allows you to add a personal touch that will help the direction of the call.

#2 Know what you are selling and be confident

A potential customer does not want to be on the phone with someone that does not sound like they know what they are talking about. To close that sale, you need to ensure you sound confident and enthusiastic.

Knowing your product or service inside out is one way to boost your confidence in what you’re selling. This will help you feel certain that you can answer any question or handle any scenario that may play out during the call.

#3 Listen to understand

This tip may seem obvious but is something that even the most experienced salespeople can forget. To listen, we need to make a conscious effort to not just hear what is said but to take it in, digest it, and understand what can be done to progress the conversation.

Reiterate what was discussed on the call, and ensure that you have established a mutual understanding based on what the potential customer wants. Listening will enhance your ability to make recommendations, quickly find the right solution and make you a better communicator over the phone.

#4 Trust in the process and don’t be afraid to lose

Sometimes extenuating circumstances can be at play that stops you from having a great call with a prospective customer. Maybe you called at a bad time, or they need to establish who is best placed to discuss sales on behalf of the organisation. Either way, acknowledging that being told ‘no’ in sales may mean ‘not right now’ as opposed to ‘never’.

60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. Don’t be a salesperson that is willing to burn a bridge to try and secure a deal. Take a step back if necessary and revisit at a time that makes sense for you and the potential customer. Showing humility is noteworthy and can work in your favour over time.

#5 Learn from your mistakes for future successes

In sales, you will speak to several people from all walks of life and each call will be different. Some may be painfully awkward, whereas some may be a success from the very start. All calls – good or bad – can offer an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson that can be implemented in the future.

Don’t rush the process. Take a moment to identify what went well and what could have been better to ensure you give each call moving forward your best performance.

#6 Don’t forget you are a human speaking to another human

Last but not least, be human and be able to empathise with the person on the other end of the phone. Sometimes we have a way of exaggerating the sales process on the phone compared to a face-to-face conversation, but it’s key to show you’re invested in the person you’re talking to.

Be realistic – speak calmly, confidently and pleasantly. Get to know who your potential customer is beforehand and find out their story and how you can add value to their world.

What’s next for you…

Closing sales over the phone is a permanent part of customer acquisition and should always be treated as such. Despite us not having the luxury of being everywhere at once, the phone certainly gives us the opportunity to connect with people from anywhere, at any time.

Fine-tuning your skills on the phone with these tips and techniques will help you close sales in the long term. Sales is a constantly evolving craft so adapt your skills to meet the demands of the current customer landscape and ensure that you have a solid base of knowledge to improve your efforts going forward.


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