Cheat Sheet

Telephone Sales For Dummies

From Telephone Sales For Dummies by Dirk Zeller

Being a successful telephone sales professional is as much about believing in yourself as it is selling your product. Follow these tips to keep yourself focused and motivated in your telephone sales endeavors.

Telephone Sales: Get Insider Info on a Prospect Before You Call

Before you can make any sales presentation, you first need to know as much as you can about your prospects. No matter who the prospect is, get a leg up by using online sources to get to know them before you call:

  • Visit the corporate website. Familiarize yourself with the company's products and services, senior management, mission statements, upcoming projects, recent news — and even contact phone numbers. Much of this information can be found quickly on a corporate website.

  • Google the company. Using Google or another search engine can bring up sometimes thousands of mentions of the company on sites that may give you a different perspective from the corporate site. You can also use Zoominfo or LinkedIn to get information on companies. And don't overlook the lowdown from the company's competitors!

  • Google your contact. The Internet holds valuable information about the individual you plan to contact at the company. You can gather both professional and personal details — both can help you sell.

The Seven-Second Telephone Sales Opening

First impressions are everything. When you have a sales prospect on the phone, the first seven seconds can make or break your whole pitch. Keep these pointers close by to help your opening hook the prospect:

  • Greet the prospect by name. Grab the contact's attention immediately — and hold it — by using his or her name.

  • State your full name. Don't be a stranger! Identify yourself clearly and completely.

  • Identify your company. Don't assume you're a household word — say the name and add a brief description of your firm's specialty.

  • Explain the purpose of your call. Get to the point. "The reason I'm calling is . . . "

  • Link in a benefit statement. Make your "purpose" something relevant to the contact: "I'm calling to help you save money/increase revenues/do your job better."

  • Add a close or bridge. Wrap up the opener with a concise question or statement that leads into further discussion.

Time Management Tips for Telephone Sales Professionals

Time management is one of the most important skills a telephone sales professional can have. Here are a few tips to make the most of your sales time:

  • Manage distractions. When you're on task, turn off your cellphone, hold your calls, switch off the you've-got-mail notice, sign out of instant messaging and social media, and hang up a do-not-disturb sign.

  • Keep phone calls short. Schedule phone calls for no longer than 15 minutes.

  • Take advantage of voice mail. When you're simply delivering information, time the calls for early morning or evening. You're more likely to get voice mail and avoid a lengthier conversation.

  • Maximize drive time. Keep a collection of self-help, professional-improvement, and motivational CDs in your car and pop them in when you're driving to work or to an appointment.

Telephone Sales: Tips for Staying Motivated

Sometimes you're going to feel like you've hit a brick wall because you're not getting the telephone sales numbers you envision. Don't despair. Allow these six methods to be your motivational mantra to help you stay charged:

  • Stay disciplined. Sticking to "the plan" keeps the positive energy flowing.

  • Be your own cheerleader. Daily affirmations help boost your outlook. Even if you don't believe it, say it anyway: "I'm a successful salesperson"; "I'm good at what I do" ; or "I'm skilled at helping people." It's one of life's miracles: Tell yourself you're motivated and — voila! — you're motivated.

  • Take care of yourself. Staying upbeat is nearly impossible if you run yourself to exhaustion, eat poorly, and neglect your health.

  • Protect against negative forces. Whether they're doom-and-gloom friends, naysaying coworkers, or doubting spouses, keep the bad attitudes of others from sinking your motivation.

  • Follow a warm-up routine. Before you begin a sales call — or any activity calling for positive energy — warm up with a mood-lifting ritual: Review or practice your script or simply relax to music.

  • Continue learning. The process of increasing your knowledge and skills gives you further security in your abilities and potential, which feeds your motivation.

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