For many entrepreneurs looking forward to having sales conversations is about as fun as looking forward to going to the gym for the first time in 10 years, or speaking in public without any preparation or practice. What happens then is sales calls get ignored or put behind other seemingly more important priorities in your business. Until one day, you realize your revenue is not where it needs to be, your marketing is not working entirely on its own, and you’ve got to pick up the phone and talk to some people. Dreadful. You sit and stare at the phone thinking to yourself, “self, I don’t want to pick up the phone and sound salesly (aka: sleezy), pushy, aggressive, or worse… desperate!” or “what in the world am I going to say?” or “what do I even have to sell and how will they know it’s worth anything?” or “what if they say ‘no’!?”
As an expert in sales with over 20 years of experience, I can ensure you with great confidence that does not have to be how it works. There are a few steps you can take to make sure every sales call is fun, authentic, and moves your sales conversation closer to a “Yes!” I’m loving the book “Miracle Mornings,” so I guess you can say these are my strategies for having Miracle Sales Calls! I have thousands of ideas on how to make that happen, here are a few you can implement today (yes, I said today, you have to start some time, so don’t procrastinate any longer):
1) Listen to music before you start. That’s right, turn up your favorite song and sing at the top of your lungs. Your pets will think you’re nuts, your spouse might too, and if you’re in your car, the other drivers definitely will, but who cares. You will increase your endorphins by that beautiful music bellow into your ears and get your excited and ready to rock your next call. You’ll also get oxygen into your lungs and your brain. This helps expand your lungs keeping you from holding your breathe while you’re on the phone. Breathing helps keep your anxiety and stress down making your more calm on the call. Oxygen in your brain allows you to think more clearly to know what to say, listen to your prospect, and develop ideas to help him or her solve challenges with your solutions. 5-10 minutes of music before you start dialing for dollars.
2) Make sales calls a routine part of your week. The best way to ensure you have successful sales calls is to have them consistently. You want to schedule time on your calendar every week. Block time out, and do not let other priorities get in the way. Other than creating content for your services, or products, there is no other means of earning the most revenue than having sales calls. Yes, you definitely have to add marketing and it certainly helps you to earn revenue, but sales producing activities will earn you the most revenue, coupled with excellent marketing. Combined, that’s revenue on steroids. What’s the difference between the two? My definitions are:
Marketing: using media to promote your product or service.
Sales: using humans to move buyers closer to purchasing your product of service.
How much time do you need to schedule every week? It depends. How much money do you need? What marketing have you done to promote your business before your sales conversations? For starters, schedule 90 minutes on three days per week. It’s a cinch! Once business gets booming, however, do not let up. We don’t want you to get rusty. The best days and times to make sales calls? It’s hard to say. I have had success on every day of the week. I think mornings are generally better before your prospect has a to-do list up to their ears, but any day of the week works, even Saturdays! If you’re business is serving other business owners, they work weekends too and are likely less bothered by other callers.
3) Role Play Your Sales Calls. Yeah, I know, that maybe sound more scary than actually making the calls. Here’s the great news! It’s not. You are likely to role-play with others who are very supportive of you and will be kind on the other end of the line. They will say “yes” to your offer and that makes you feel good. Here’s the real value though, you get all of the kinks worked out before you call the real prospect. I’m a professional public speaker, and I can tell you with certainty that when I write my speeches (and they sound so good on paper), the words never come out how you want them when you are actually saying them out loud. The words don’t flow right, the timing is off, and it seems funky. Practice your sales calls verbally and with someone who is supportive. You’ll work out the bugs and when it’s show time, you’ll be well-prepared.
4) Know your top objections. It’s interesting, I’ve spoken with hundreds of entrepreneurs, and when we talk about how they handle objections, they usually say they wing it. The next question I ask is what are the top three typical objections? They always say 1) price, 2) time, 3) something else. Why is it that if the top two objections are always price and time, you do not have a response ready and you have to dance around these objections? It’s funny to me. Here’s what you do. Know these will always be two you get and proactively address these in your conversations. It sounds something like, “many of my customers think they cannot afford this product or service, but when I show them how they can x, y, z (insert how you solve their problems), they realize that it’s truly an investment that saves them time, money, or makes them money and gives them more time. That’s of course if you believe your product or service does these things. The 3rd objection varies depending on the business you’re in. My advice is to know what that one is and have an answer ready if it comes up in your conversation. This will keep you from fumbling your words, getting nervous, or saying something you did not intend to say. When you do act in any of the preceding manners, you plant a seed of doubt in the buyer’s mind. I want you to confidently acknowledge objections.
5) Know what you have to sell and how it solves problems. This may seem obvious, but sometimes people in the service industry are not clear on exactly what they have to sell. Sure, they know the features of their services, but you truly need to know the benefits and even more so, the value to the prospect. As stated above, how does your product or service solve problems? Buyers want you to provide three objectives, 1) give them ideas 2) give them facts and figures/information, and 3) give them solutions. Prepare to make an offer accomplishing one of these objectives. Your goal is to minimize their risk and they can feel comfortable moving forward. Caution: never tell the buyer that you have the perfect solution for her or him. She or he needs to come to that conclusion on her or his own with your guidance.
Now, set up your schedule, turn on the tunes, and get ready to have your best sales calls from here on out!
About the author: Jennifer Darling is an expert sales coach serving women in business. She has worked with 1,000’s of businesses in strategic planning to grow their businesses. She provides sales, marketing and business coaching for women in business, corporations, and groups. Jennifer possesses 20 years in sales, marketing, leadership and personal development for companies such as NBC, CBS, FOX, and Comcast. She holds a Master’s Degree in Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising & Promotion. Learn about upcoming events on her website.