6 essential tips to make an effective prospection call

29/10/2018
Author Avatar
Dieter Offermans
Sales Engineer, EASI

For sales calls, you need some talent, courage and sometimes some luck. But even on bad days, you can give your luck a push in the right direction with these tips!

Believe in your product/service

People who are suffering when calling to prospects almost always don't - really - believe in the things they sell. And if you are not really convinced, why would your clients be? To impress your future clients, you need to believe in the difference your product or service is going to make for them. And if you believe it, they will as well. This tip may seem obvious but it is really important. After a couple of no's, you might need to catch your breath and remember what makes your product or service so great. Can your clients win time? Earn money? Avoid or reduce something? Make sure you know what you are selling and why you are calling. 

Research 

Be super specific! The best sales conversations are completely tailored to what your prospect needs. Start with Google. You'll quickly have a hunch about the size of the organization, their market... And do not forget about their social media presence. Facebook and LinkedIn are super useful if you need more information about the person inside the company you're going to speak to. And last but not least, try to find common ground. Research shows that we are all programmed to like people and things that look like us or that we like ourselves. So if you share the same hometown, know the same people... It'll open more doors than you can imagine. 

Don't over-analyze 

What are the odds the conversation will go exactly like you expected? ZERO. So don't waste too much time on your preparation. This contradicts my previous point a bit, but let's be honest here. When you are prospecting, a lot - if not everything - depends on the goodwill of the person you are calling. That is why I would recommend to scrip the first 30 seconds of your call to get your prospect to start talking. Arm yourself with a few predetermined questions, some relevant statistics and use a list with bullet points. This way you can get your conversation back on track. A very useful trick if your prospect doesn't give you the answers in a logical way, you won't forget to ask the other questions you had in mind. 

Listen! 

The biggest mistake of any sales call is not asking enough questions. Getting information is the entire reason why you're calling. If they are trying to get rid of you because they are merging with another company? Whoops - ask your questions. It might be your new way in. If you know you have a tendency to ask closed questions - draw up a checklist. 

  • What kind of solution do you use right now? 
  • What is your most important challenge for the moment? 
  • Are you exploring or actively looking for a solution? 
  • What other solutions are you considering? 
  • Who do we need to talk to about an implementation of this kind of project? 
  • ... 

Another thing that works very well for me is asking little questions like: 

  • Can you explain this to me? 
  • How did you deal with that? 
  • Could you give me an example? 
  • Tell me a little bit more about that? 
  • How do you usually solve this? 
  • ... 

Oh but what if they say: "I'm sorry, this just is not an issue for us at the moment." Be nice - be happy for them. Tell them that's nice to hear, but ask them about their strategy or plans for their project. Maybe you'll learn something else or discover a new opportunity! 

Follow-up

Always, always work towards your goal. Agree about how your follow-up contact will be. Are you going to make an appointment, then plan the exact date, time and place. You decide the next steps. Fill in a CRM or find a way to keep track. A correct follow-up makes you a reliable partner. 

Don't get discouraged! 

Yes, you will run into some brick walls. 
Yes, the phone will have some though calls where prospect are just not polite or end the phone call immediately.
Don't give up. It's part of the deal. 

Don't stress for your calls. At the end of the day they are just an opportunity for both parties. Decide how important this lead is for you. If you want to try again, wait a month or two, vary your pitch, the time of your call and just keep trying. You don't need a 100 people to say 'yes' but you do need 100 people for 3 yes'es. So brace yourself, get yourself motivated and start your marathon, because nothing - and you know this! - is more satisfying than making that appointment and getting that yes! 

Good luck!!

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