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Category: Sales · 8 min read

Four Ways to Master the Art of the Sales Call

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on August 22, 2018

author profile photo

on August 22, 2018

Financial professionals should master the art of the phone call

How many times have you answered your phone, only to realize you’ve unwittingly stepped into a sales call with someone you don’t even know? Or worse, you realize you’re on a call with someone who has no idea how to handle themselves on the phone?

Whether you’re calling a list of new prospects or just reviewing past client accounts for opportunities to upsell, financial professionals inevitably need to pick up the phone and make a professional, effective call. Do you know how to appropriately conduct a sales call in a way that leads to future sales opportunities?

In the era of texting and social messaging, the practice of making a sales call has been lost. That’s why we’ve put together four tips to help you master the art of the sales call and drive more conversions for your financial services business.

 

1. Have a Script, Know the Script

Every good sales call starts with a script. You have a very specific product or service you’re trying to funnel the prospective customer toward, so map out that conversation flow. Step one might be, “Do you want to do A or B better?” while subsequent steps in the script might be, “Then you purchase this product and the problem is solved because of C or D…can we get you started on that application?” 

But the script needs to have a workflow to account for objections, move the contrarian answers out of the way, and continue to get the prospective customer to see the benefit in saying, “yes.” To do that, write those potential responses out, so you can address concerns confidently and keep the conversation going.

Next, memorize and rehearse your sales call script so you have an air-tight flow, no matter what the prospect says on the other end of the line. 

Practice your sales call in a conversational tone, even mixing up the exact wording, so it sounds like you’re just talking off the cuff.

PRO TIP: Memorization and rehearsal are key, but reciting the script as if you’re reading it is a problem. Practice your sales call in a conversational tone, even mixing up the exact wording, so it sounds like you’re just talking off the cuff with people. Alternatively, keep an outline of your script handy, but only refer to it for the major points and talk naturally, not from memorization.

 

2. Be Polite and Personable

Just like communicating your script naturally, you want to come across as friendly and professional. Try to avoid sounding rushed, arrogant or like you’re thinking of them as a number and not a real person. Put yourself in the right mindset for your sales call by:

  • Setting aside enough time to have the call, including small talk. Nothing annoys people more than feeling rushed, even if they didn’t ask for the sales call in the first place. Block off 10 to 15 minutes for the call, then another 10 minutes for small talk, or to just take your time. People who feel rushed opt to say “no” more than “yes,” so give them the time to take it all in and not feel overwhelmed by what you have to say. 
  • Avoiding distractions. Put down your other devices and turn away from your computer, or at least only have that prospect’s information up when you call. Mindlessly perusing emails or bouncing around social networks while you’re talking to a prospect is disrespectful of their time and attention. And it’s easier than you think for them to hear it in your voice when you’re distracted.
  • Being positive and calm. A positive, friendly, and soothing voice goes a long way, but the calm of allowing them to speak, too, is often a differentiator. Many sales calls feature a hyperactive sales person chatting away and never letting the customer get a word in edgewise. When you begin the call by asking if they have time to talk, then allow them to ask questions throughout, you quietly convey your professionalism and impart that what you have to say is worth checking out. 
  • Being personable, but not unprofessional. It might be perfectly fine to call someone “dude” or “babe” in your social circles, but personable doesn’t mean unprofessional. Saying “please” and “thank you” and respecting the other people on the call with “yes, sir” and “no, ma’am” politeness will most likely give you respect in return.

Just remember that you are lucky to have a small window of opportunity to talk to this person. Be thankful for it, make efficient use of it and make the sales call opportunity worth it for them and you.

 

3. Speed Does the Deed

No, we’re not suggesting you talk quickly. In fact, as you may have gathered in the calm, soothing voice indicators above, a steady, normal-to-slow pace of speech is preferred. Talking too fast makes the person on the other end of the conversation nervous and defensive. However, you do want to get to the point and make the sales call seem as if it isn’t interrupting the person’s day.

While offering a personal greeting and pleasantry is a fine way to start out, state confidently and clearly why you are calling in the first couple sentences, and then ask if they have time to speak with you about that now. Giving them the option to not continue the call may disarm them in a welcoming way, and often leads to a counter-intuitive, “Sure, go ahead,” in response. 

If they say “no,” then simply ask to set a time to call back and make an appointment, tell them you’re looking forward to speaking and then wish them well. If they’re ready to talk, then get straight to the “why” of the call.

Try to keep your “why” to two to three sentences, and have a logical next step that allows you to get off the phone (pay you/them a visit, expect an email quote, etc.). After that, wrap it up! The less time you have pitching to get the “yes,” the more likely you are to hear “yes.”
 

4. Leave Voicemails That Work

More than likely your cold sales calls will be routed to voicemail. Stand out as someone worth following up with and leave a great voicemail. Much like the advice for the actual live sales calls, great voicemails are:

  • Positive/Enthusiastic
  • Brief
  • To the point
  • Spoken clearly and calmly


Practice your voicemail for a sales call like you would practice any script. Make sure you find a watch with a second hand or a digital timer and keep it to under 30 seconds. It’s perfectly fine to make it generic, but be sure to make the person you’re calling a personal part of it. For example:

“Hello Bob! It’s Jim, calling from Smith Financial. We met at the Chamber meeting last month. I’m going over some new opportunities that will help folks save up for retirement and wanted to make sure you’ve got a sound plan. Give me a call and we can chat about it. My number is ….”

This is short, clear, friendly and even hints at the value you’re going to provide them when they call you back.

 

Never Underestimate the Power of the Sales Call

In order to close deals as a financial professional, you will have to cold-call prospects. You will have to conduct hundreds of sales calls. And you will have to get good at it.

Whether or not you personally enjoy, or are even used to talking to people on an actual telephone, in order to close deals as a financial professional, you will have to cold-call prospects. You will have to conduct hundreds of sales calls. And you will have to get good at it. 

As easy as it is to fire off an email or a text message, never underestimate the power of knowing how to conduct a good sales call. The personal connection and one-to-one, live communication is as close to an across the table handshake as you can get with some prospects. And it’s often the last step you take before actually being able to make that final deal and handshake in-person. 

For more help improving your sales approaches in the financial services spaces, see what Brokers International has to offer in our Sales Builder product suite, or contact us to speak with our experienced staff today.

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