9 ways to make a sales call

Is your sales pitch strong enough to get potential clients through the door?  Image via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Is your sales pitch strong enough to get potential clients through the door?
Image via Flickr/Creative Commons.

By Chanda Temple

For the last three weeks, business expert and social media guru Melinda Emerson has been hosting webinars on how to improve your sales game. I’m not in the sales industry, but tips from the webinars can be applied to any industry, including public relations.

Today’s post includes Emerson’s nine tips on how to make a sales call. If you like these tips, she has two more FREE webinars. They will be on Thursday, Nov. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. EST. Visit http://www.getsales14.com for details. Her webinar co-host is Jeffery Gitomer and he’s just as awesome as Emerson.

1. How to make a bold call

Call someone you’ve already met. Cold calling does not work. Do your homework. Use LinkedIn to look for info to connect. Look at your contacts’ volunteer interests to discover their passions. It can help with your conversation. People give their time and money to things they care about.

2. Make a call sheet in advance

Before you pick up the phone, make sure you have people’s names, phone numbers and email addresses. Put 15 people on your list to call that day. You may not call everyone, but the more calls you make, the better you get at it. If you are on a streak, keep going. You want your message to be clean and ready to go. These calls are about checking in with folks and not about closing a sale. (The Nov. 20 webinar will be about how to close a sale.)

3. Never make a sales call on a Monday or a Friday.

Mondays suck for most people. They are trying to start their day from the weekend. You don’t want to jump on them with an interruption. Fridays are bad because people are already living for the weekend. The best days to make initial sales calls to people you have just met are Tuesday through Thursday.

4. Never call before 10:30 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m.

You don’t want to hit people as soon as they walk in the door. Nor do you want to call people as they are trying to get out the door. They may be trying to get home, pick ups kids from daycare, etc. Also, avoid lunch time too. Emerson prefers calling 10:30 to 12 p.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m.

5. Always ask “Is this a good time to talk?’’

If you tell the person you only need a few minutes, only take a few minutes. Don’t tell the person you need 15 minutes and you take 30 minutes. If you go over, people will remember that you did not respect their time. If they can’t talk when you call, ask them when they can talk.

 Melinda Emerson's Nov. 20 webinar will examine how to close a sale.  Image via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Melinda Emerson’s Nov. 20 webinar will examine how to close a sale. The Dec. 4 webinar will be on how to build a relationship in business.
Image via Flickr/Creative Commons.

6. Follow up a call with an email

Tell the person: “It was so great to talk to you today and I want to see how I can be of help with you. Here’s my number and contact info. Thank you so much for your time today.” Also, define or ask for next steps with this email.

7. Use customer management relationship (CMR) software with your calls so you are not winging it

ACT is the most popular software. Also check out Ace of Sales, Microsoft Dynamics is good for small businesses. If you are a bigger company, look at Sales Force, which is big and expensive. Look at your needs to determine what will work for you. “I don’t believe in bringing in a bazooka to kill an ant,’’ Emerson said.

8. If you don’t reach them, it’s OK to leave a voicemail

Don’t assume the person remembers you. Don’t be vague. It’s annoying. Leave your name, remind them how you met and tell them how you can help. Leave your name and phone number twice in the voicemail.

9. Call back only three times

If they are interested, they will call you back. After you’ve called three times and they don’t call you back, they are not interested. Don’t make a nuisance out of yourself. You are calling because calling is a key way to build a relationship.

Said Emerson: “I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and it works.”

NOTE: Check out Emerson’s business tips for the single female here.

Chanda Temple is a former reporter now working in public relations. She blogs about being better in business and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple

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