How Not To Make a Sales Call
This image is not of an imaginary conversation I dreamed up.
I really—literally—had this happen to me. But let's start at the beginning.
This was a few years B.C. (Before COVID.)
Back then, as it remains today, it's rare that I answer my phone if I do not know who is calling.
However, on this day I thought it was a customer calling and since I had a little time, I answered.
Low and behold it was a sales guy I had spoken to maybe 5 weeks ago who was "just following up." (You need to eliminate that phrase from your sales and prospecting vocabulary. The Sales Agenda will help you do just that.)
Having been in sales for (24 years now)—and having already spoken to this young salesman before—I knew I had heard it all before, but I allowed him to proceed with his scripted, unoriginal pitch, while I updated some social media posts, read a few articles, and made the image at the top of this post.
NOTE: If you sound like every other salesperson in the world, THIS IS EXACTLY what your prospects are doing on the other end of the phone as you drone on and on.
Every salesperson and entrepreneur I've ever met has told me how they are...
- Really different!
- Truly better!
- The clear choice!
- Unequaled in the space!
- With no competition!
...if they could only get in front of a qualified prospect and "tell their story."
STOP TELLING YOUR STORY AND GET THE PROSPECT TO TELL YOU THEIR PAIN!
NO PAIN? NO SALE!
If you are truly different, prove it by acting different.
You act different by engaging the prospect, which is done by asking better questions.
Remember, whoever is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. (But be sure to not make them feel they are being interrogated. Listen to this interview with Chris Orlob, of Gong.io.)
You're in charge of structure.
The prospect is in charge of content.
Can you imagine your doctor droning on for 27 minutes telling you why his tongue depressor and MRI machine is the best in the city then asking you to pay $1,000 today to lock in the $8,900 physical therapy price that is going up tomorrow because other people have liked his tongue depressor and MRI machine?
To make more sales you need to ask better questions, then listen to the answers.
Listen to understand, instead of to reply.
Ask qualifying questions.
Ask them to elaborate and expand.
Then ask more questions as you share ideas and gauge their interest and understanding.
Be slow to "solve their pain" until they are confident you have enough information to form a proper diagnosis and prescription.
Be confident enough to ask as many questions as it takes until you get to the truth.
Feed them back their own words, phrases, and lingo so they know you heard them.
When you do that, the prospect will know you are different and will pay what you recommend since you are the only one who truly understands their needs, which means you're the only one that knows how to make their pain go away.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.