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How to Sell Effectively Over the Phone

One of the key challenges in selling by phone is you miss the visual cues that you otherwise would see. Facial expressions and body posture, as well as surroundings, offer hints to your client’s personality and needs. When you’re on the phone, you rely much more on the tone of your client’s voice. This works the other way round too—your client seeks cues in your voice!

Phone sales can be daunting at first, but is much easier if you keep these tips in mind:

  1. Research the customer before picking up the phone. If you can mention a recent success by the client or company, it shows you are really interested in them—and their business.
  2. Plan each call so you have a clear objective—the reason for the call. Use a script if needed, but learn to say it without sounding like you’re reading.
  3. Keep your tone of voice warm and friendly; a monotone voice will immediately turn them off.
  4. Use your client’s first name. This personalizes the call.
  5. Be respectful, not only of the client, but the gatekeeper as well.
  6. Sometimes it helps to actually stand up and talk; it can keep you more focused, especially on very important calls.
  7. Ask good questions—preferably open-ended—so the client will talk, enabling you to learn about their needs.
  8. Be quiet and listen.
  9. Take good notes, so you can refer to them later. This is especially important in high-volume call situations.
  10. Know your product as much as possible. But, if you don’t know the answer to a question, jot it down, get the answer, and call the client back ASAP.
  11. Try to be the last to disconnect; sometimes you might be asked a last minute question that could clinch the sale.
  12. Follow up, follow up, follow up. If you say you’ll call them again next Thursday at 2, then be sure to call them next Thursday at 2.