Archive for October, 2016

Tips for Improving Phone Skills

Friday, October 7th, 2016

by Susan Novicki

I just got off the phone with a seller that I am coaching in Albany NY and I realized how important solid phone skills are – and something that we can always practice and hone. I have done phone skill training for inside sales groups and created interactive exercises focusing on tone, pitch, cadence and tempo. The more practice even a seasoned sales professional does increases success to the bottom line. For those of you who have been through our various phone skills trainings, you know we teach the importance of pre-qualifying as much as possible and getting a homework assignment on the phone when talking to decision-makers. Everyone is busy and time is valuable – decision-makers appreciate that you are being respectful of their time by doing this. This also closes the length of the sales cycle and helps you gain instant credibility with high-level decision-makers. Learning to ask compelling questions about THEIR business shows we are legitimate marketing partners who can help them with their needs and create solid solutions. Making calls every week is critical to a salesperson’s success and in doing so phone skills will improve while filling your funnel with qualified leads. Though email communication is also important, nothing beats the personal touch of an old fashioned phone conversation.

Today the Albany seller and I were making a call to a decision-maker who was “on her way out to a meeting” and didn’t have time to talk and told us to email her something. Instead of saying “ok” we talked about how everything we do is customized and mentioned a few campaigns we were in the middle of and talking to her counterparts about in other parts of the country. We asked about her marketing efforts and asked how she reached and engaged with her key targeted consumers. Our conversation was extended and we were able to qualify and move the needle on the prospect.

Picking up the phone can be intimidating, especially when we are calling CEOs, Regional Sales Managers, Field Marketing Managers, Agency Supervisors, Brand Managers and the like. Most sellers are out of their comfort zones when going beyond media buyers or local business owners. To get over the fear, prepare for the call and practice! Make calls on a regular basis – I like Mondays and Fridays because I get decision-makers in their offices. Leave messages for yourself – would you call yourself back? You may not realize it, but many of our success stories initiated during a cold call to a decision-maker during a telecoaching session. But the key to success is consistent phone activity every week. Block out time every week to make the calls -prepare for them and create a compelling opening statement about their business and discuss how you can help them – don’t pitch your assets or an event you have to sell. With each conversation, you will develop solid phone skills and talk with more confidence about what you can do to help them move the needle on their business.

Wouldn’t you want to do business with someone who exudes confidence over the phone? Wouldn’t you meet with that person? Practice moves towards perfection – but no one is perfect!