This entry is a Guest Post by Jason Karaman.
Selling over the phone is an entirely different experience than selling in a face-to-face setting. While each has its benefits, there are many aspects of persuasion that are lost when having a conversation over the phone.
As a phone representative, you have one of the most difficult sales jobs that there is. There are a few challenges that you have to overcome that traditional face-to-face salespeople do not have to worry about:
- The prospect can hang up on you at any moment.
- It’s much easier to say “no” over the phone.
- You are unable to take advantage of non-verbal sales techniques, such as a strong handshake or direct eye contact.
Due to these obstacles, many great salespeople are unable to perform over the phone. It’s extremely difficult and requires a salesperson to basically refocus their attention on different elements o their pitch.
Thankfully, there are ways to subtlety optimize your persuasion so you can most effectively sell your product or service over the phone.
Have a High Level of Energy
As phone salespeople, we are unable to greet somebody with a strong handshake and eye contact. In traditional sales, your handshake is a way for you to connect with the prospect, establish trust, and engage them in the conversation. Since you are unable to shake someone’s hand over the phone, you have to engage them in a different manner.
Having a high energy level right away is a great way to instantly bring the customer in to your conversation. Use a higher tone of voice and a louder speaking volume. The more engaged the prospect gets, the better off you will be.
Command the Call
You do not want to control the prospect, but you do want to control how the call goes. Right away, prospects will attempt to take the conversation in whichever direction they want. You have to be there to rein them in and take control of the conversation and direct it to where you want to go.
Use power statements such as “The reason for my call is…” or “It’s important that I tell you this because…”
Make it Exclusive for the Prospect
Everybody wants to feel special. If you customer tailor the conversation to make it exclusive for that individual prospect, they will have a better likelihood of listening to you and trusting in you. Blanket statements that follow the “everybody with your data” formula should be avoided. Rather, use a statement like “I am reaching out to you individually because…”
Assume that this is a Good time to Talk
It’s important to be respectful of prospect’s time. However, asking if this is a good time to talk instantly gives them an “out” where they can wiggle away from you. If you want to be respectful of their time, a better statement would be “I know that you are busy, so this will only take a moment.”
Assume that if they answered, it’s an OK time. If the house was on fire, they would not be answering the phone.
Where many phone representatives falter is the whole urgency component of the presentation. Because you are just a voice on the phone, it’s easy for the prospect to say “I’ll think about it and call you back.”
If you don’t want this to happen, press the fact that this is an urgent, limited time offer that will not be available later on. This should happen right away, and should be a constant theme during the entire presentation.
The worst thing you can do is use urgency to overcome the “I’ll think about it and call you back” objection because it will not be genuine at that point. Use it right away and make sure the prospect knows that it’s important they make a decision now.
You are a voice over the phone, and that’s it. Unlike face-to-face sales, it’s hard to humanize a phone salesperson because you cannot physically see them. The best way to humanize yourself and have the prospect think of you as an actual person is to use humor. If you are able to make the prospect laugh, you’re a step above.
The prospect won’t be able to see you smile, but they will definitely be able to notice it. When you smile, your entire tone of voice changes and your pitch will be more upbeat and friendly. A great tool to use is a mirror. Keep a mirror in your cubicle and make sure you are smiling when talking to prospects.
Silence is Powerful
This one is universal for both phone representatives and face-to-face representatives. When asking for the business, after your pitch is over, do not talk. Just sit there and wait for a response. This may sound easy, but many people crumble under the awkwardness. On the phones, you have the luxury of looking around or doodling while you wait for the prospect to make a decision. Remember, whoever talks first, loses!
While phone sales may be difficult, use the above subtle techniques to optimize your sales persuasion and increase your sales.
About Jason Karaman, MBA
Jason Karaman is the founder and author behind www.ExpertCaller.com. ExpertCaller.com is a website designed to help those who work in sales, marketing, and business. The goal of ExpertCaller.com is to promote salespeople’s confidence, develop their skill sets, and increase their income by offering helpful articles, videos, and information.