Making sales calls is one of the inescapable responsibilities of being a business owner. No matter what you sell or how big your company is or how much success you’ve enjoyed, as the business owner, you still need to stay actively engaged with the art of selling and finding new business for your company. Unfortunately, many business owners are falling short in the role of sales person. Many business owners don’t want to make sales calls, or think that they shouldn’t have to pick up the phone, or are going about sales calls the wrong way.
Sales Call Mistakes
Here are a few telltale signs that your next sales call will fail:
You’re too nervous. Sales calls require confidence. But if you’re sounding anxious and stumbling over your words, you’re going to make your prospect uncomfortable, and they will be less likely to trust you. Rehearse your sales pitch in advance. Practice recording yourself while holding the phone. Get your sales pitch down to the point where it feels comfortable and easy to remember; then you’ll be more likely to deliver it with ease and aplomb.
You’re too eager. The flipside of a nervous cold call is just as bad — being overly eager. If you’re too eager to get the prospect to agree to a sale or agree to a follow-up meeting, you will make the prospect feel pressured and mistrustful. If the prospect feels like you’re trying to pressure them, they will be skeptical of what you’re selling, and might even hang up. So try not to be too eager. Remember: this sales call is not the end-all, be-all of your sales effort, it is just the start of the process. You don’t have to close the deal on the first call, you just need to see if the prospect is interested, and try to get them to agree to a second call, a meeting, a demo, or whatever the next step of your sales process might be.
You don’t know why you’re calling. Every sales call needs to have a specific goal in mind. You need to know why you’re calling and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, are you asking them to sign up for a product demo? Are you asking them to agree to receive some sales literature for their review? Your sales process should be well organized with several stages to work through; know which stage you’re on and understand the goals for each sales call before you pick up the phone.
You don’t know who you’re talking to. Are you sure that you’re talking to the right person at the company that you’re calling? If not, don’t just launch into your sales script — ask questions to make sure you’re talking to the right decision maker that you actually wanted to reach. Sometimes getting the right person on the phone is a more complex and difficult process than ultimately making the sales call.
You haven’t done your research. B2B sales is all about doing your research and finding prospects that are the right fit for what you sell. Just like the old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” you need to spend a lot more time doing research into your prospects and their organizations before you pick up the phone to call. Make sure this company is really in the right industry, make sure your solution is a good fit, make sure that you’re aligned with each other. Better research leads to better sales calls; without doing your homework, you’re flying blind.
Picking up the phone to make a cold call to a new prospective customer for the first time is not “fun” for most people; it can be frustrating or nerve-wracking. But if you believe in your business, and you want your business to succeed, you need to find a way to keep making sales calls and keep getting better at it by avoiding the four sales call mistakes above.
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