The Ultimate Guide to Sales Call Preparation

Jeff Osness

May 10, 2024

10 min

Table of Contents

Summary:

  • Successful sales depend on being prepared and having the right information. This helps you focus your conversations with qualified prospects and avoid losing them at the start of your pitch.
  • Tools like PhoneBurner make it easy to track and refer to prospect information, thanks to a built-in CRM and over 200 integrations.
  • To prepare for your sales calls, make sure to research each prospect, have a clear objective, plan the call in advance, and embrace a positive mindset.

Reaching and converting sales leads requires useful information. Not only should you know that you’re targeting qualified prospects, but you should also have the data you need to speak to their specific pain points in language that reaches them effectively and compels them to take action.

Preparation is the key to starting these conversations on the right note—and finishing them with the results you want. Here are five things you should do before an important sales call or meeting to give yourself the best chance of sales success.

Sales rep preparing for call with PhoneBurner

Using the Right Tools to Prepare for Your Call

The way you gather information about a prospect is as critical to sales call success as the way you use it. To that end, you’ll want to use dialing technology that integrates with your preferred CRM, or has one built-in.

PhoneBurner gives you both options. You can either use the included CRM or choose from 200+ integrations with popular apps like Salesforce, HubSpot, Outreach,  and others.

Now, before you call a prospect, you’ll be able to see useful details like:

  • Contact history including a record of previous calls, voicemails, and text messages you’ve sent them.
  • Comprehensive contact notes from prior interactions along with valuable identifiers including tags, lead ratings, custom fields, and more.
  • One-touch email templates for near-instant personalized follow-ups.
  • Smart tracking to see when they’ve opened messages, watched videos, and more.

Sales managers can also use our LeadStream feature to make sure the right leads appear in each rep’s CRM for optimal outreach. When you and the rest of your team have access to this kind of data at your fingertips, it’s easier to follow your instincts during calls and reach prospects in a more authentic way.

Sales rep making phone call after preparing and researching lead

Dialer Choice Impacts Preparedness

When it comes to preparation, dialer software is not created equal.

Parallel dialers, for example, call multiple contacts at a time and transfer calls to an agent once someone answers. The agent doesn’t know who the software is calling, and barely has enough time to see who they are speaking to when someone answers, let alone prepare for the call.

Manual dialing and click-to-call fall on the other end of the spectrum, giving unlimited opportunity for prep before placing each call. But those gains come at the expense of efficiency and call reluctance, as reps must continually decide to continue after each call.

PhoneBurner provides a balance of preparation and efficiency that reps love. They have a list of contacts to call through with multiple dialing modes that allow for various levels of preparation.
In power mode, reps can quickly review a contact’s name and notes as the call is being placed. In pause & preview mode, they can take the time they need, and then initiate the call when ready.

7 Easy Steps to Sales Call Prep

Having the right tools is only half the battle—you also need to know how to use them. Follow these steps to make sure you’re going into every sales call prepared.

1. Segment Properly

If you want to be prepared on sales calls, start by building a targeted call list. This makes each call similar to the last and prevents you from having to pivot, run different scripts, and process widely different challenges on every call.

Segmentation is one of the keys to engaging in personalized 1-to-1 outreach at scale.

For example, if you sell Point of Sale software to restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores, do batches of calls in one lane to enhance preparedness. What’s more, call contacts in the same stage of the sales cycle rather than mixing new leads with demo reminders and aging opportunities. 

2. Research the Prospects

Doing some homework on your prospects can pay serious dividends. If you’re doing follow-up calls, review note history and contact details so you can forge better connections. Take a peek at their socials to uncover news, interests, or other details that might improve your call.

Naturally, if this is a first-time call, research is even more vital. Here are some tips to help you maximize your efforts:

  • Conduct sales research using LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, and other tools to learn valuable information, relatively quickly.
  • Start by doing a quick Google Search of the company, and be sure to read (or at least browse through) their website’s “About” page, company bios, and other relevant information.
  • Next, browse through their LinkedIn profiles, noting common connections, groups, and their recent activities.
  • Checking your prospect’s Twitter (X) account, as well as the social media profiles of their company can give you valuable insights as well.
  • Take notes on anything you find in your CRM so that you can quickly refer to it when you talk to the prospect.

By doing this “homework” on prospects, you can find common ground between you and your prospect, which will help turn those cold calls into warm leads.

Even if you aren’t able to find common ground, the added knowledge may be useful during your call—and at the very least will give you some added confidence that's bound to shine through.

3. Identify Your Objective

It's easier to get somewhere when you know exactly where you're going. Sales calls are no different. Before you call, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve.

Some example goals for sales calls include:

  • To make an appointment
  • To conduct a demo
  • To send out information
  • To make a sale over the phone

Knowing your objective will be crucial to how you’ll navigate the call.

In addition to your primary objective, decide on possible secondary outcomes you’d be okay with. For example, if you can't make the sale over the phone, your “plan b” is to make an appointment for a product demo.

Have these objectives and outcomes in mind before making the call.

4. Craft Your Personal Greeting & Pitch

The success or failure of a call hinges on how you open it. Research is vital here—to craft an effective opening, you should have an idea of:

  • What your prospect wants
  • What they struggle with
  • Who they compete with
  • What connections you share

It's also important that you don't waste time getting into "what's in it for them.” Address the hot-button issue or benefit right off the bat, as this inevitably opens up room for the conversation you want to have and closes off potential tangents.

Pitch Example

Imagine you're selling your home, and your phone rings. When you answer, you hear...

"Good evening, Mr. Smith. This is Paul from Ace Home Inspections. The reason I'm calling is that seller-paid home inspections were recently found to help sell homes for 3 to 6% more than waiting for a buyer to inspect. I understand you're looking to sell your home?"

A specific, hot-button opening like this is going to arouse the curiosity of a lot of sellers. It's pretty tough to respond with "sorry, I'm not interested."

5. Prepare for Possible Objections

When it comes to sales calls, you should expect to face hesitation or objections.

Whether it's “This sounds good, but we don’t want to do it right now,” or “We just don’t have the money.” Or, "can you send me something."

See Also: The Ultimate Guide to Overcome Sales Objections

The trick is to lay out possible objections beforehand and know how you want to reply to them.

There is a very important added benefit to doing this. Identifying points of skepticism, hesitation, and objection will help you craft a more compelling and value-creating opener—and one that should lower the amount of objection you can expect to face.

6. Have Your Voicemail (and Emails) Ready

Contrary to popular belief, the voicemail box is not a “black hole of diminishing returns.” An effective sales voicemail can open the door for more callbacks and more business to come your way.

Furthermore, iPhone’s “Live Voicemail” feature means many of your contacts will see a real-time transcription of your voicemail message along with the option to pick up! A good voicemail can earn you live conversations.

See Also: 19 Tips to Improve Sales Voicemails and Increase Prospect Callbacks

Take the time to prepare a strong voicemail that you know will pique your prospect's interest. A good email can have the same effect

With PhoneBurner, you can leave a voicemail and send an email with the click of a button.‍ Learn more about our post-call workflow sequences.

7. Get Yourself in the Right Mindset

Don't start making calls if all you're doing is dreading the word "no."

Your attitude and frame of mind is critical to your success. Understand that not everyone is right for what you offer. Understand that MOST sales take place after multiple contacts. In other words, "no" is just a stop on the way to "yes."

Do what you need to do (pushups, drink water, stretch, listen to "We Are The Champions") to get yourself positive and pumped to start helping people. Heck, you could even do this.

Then pick up the phone and…

Sales rep and manager celebrating successful call

Get Ready to Crush Your Next Call

Preparation relies on knowing your prospect, planning what you’ll say to them, and making sure you’re in the right frame of mind to pursue your objective. The tips above will all help put you on the right path—but using dialing technology that supports you can give you an even bigger boost.

By streamlining dialing and other time-consuming tasks, PhoneBurner makes it easier to reach more leads and focus on the art of conversation. Our platform also includes the CRM features you need to refer easily to the info you need at any time during your calls. Start your free trial now.

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