Society worships speed. From driving fast cars to shaving minutes off your morning routine, the faster the better.
This is especially true in sales, where many professionals view selling as a numbers game. They think the more calls you make, the more sales you can ultimately close. Sounds reasonable, but it’s not.
Being in a hurry to close a deal can actually work against us. When we speed through calls, we’re more prone to overlook making a human connection—an equally if not more important component to successful selling. And the data supports this. According to Sales Hacker, successful cold calls last an average of 5 minutes and 50 seconds, compared to unsuccessful calls which last barely more than 3 minutes. Those extra 3 minutes can make all the difference between being a sales leader and a sales lagger. So what are the best ways to slow down and keep prospects on the phone longer?
Pace your speech. The quick-talking salesman reputation holds a lot of negative perceptions. Talking too fast can make you hard to understand at best, or untrustworthy sounding at worst. Slow it down. The best way to earn trust is to match the other speaker’s pace. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that retail sales workers who mirrored their customer were 17% more likely to close a sale than their coworkers who didn’t use the technique.
Make use of pauses. Without visual cues telling you when someone’s done with their thought, it’s all too easy to speak over the other person on a phone call. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your prospect in an effort to get your message out quickly. One of the best ways to avoid this is to take frequent pauses between thoughts. It’ll minimize the number of awkward interruptions and give the prospect the opportunity to ask any questions. Also, don’t be afraid to let a question hang in the air a few beats before answering it.
Call at the right time of day. Think about it: You’re prepping for an important lunch meeting and someone calls to sell you something. Even if it’s something you need, you’re likely to blow them off because it’s not a good time to talk. Your prospects are the same. To make things easier, Dialpad offers analytics to help you track call-time patterns and pinpoint when most successful calls are made. You can then share your insights across the team to make your whole organization more successful.
Listen. Listening is easily the #1 rule in sales, but it’s still not done well across the board. Don’t listen simply to gather enough information to launch into your prepared pitch. Spend some time getting to know the prospect and their business on a deeper level. That way, you can personalize your sales pitch when it’s your turn to talk.
Ask questions. Just like listening, asking questions is the best way to gauge your prospect’s needs and keep them talking. But rattling through your list of questions doesn’t always get you the answers you need to connect to a sale. Instead, dig deeper with follow-up questions, like, “What do you mean when you say ____?” or “Can you tell me more about ____?” Questions like these will show that you’re listening and trying to understand their pain points. It will also keep you from making bad assumptions that can hurt the relationship later on.
Offer value. Instead of leading with features, try providing value first. Consider offering a free trial or a relevant eBook. Giving something away first instead of asking for something off the bat is a far better bet. Then, if what you’ve offered proves useful, you’re in a better position to make a sale.
Surprise and delight them. Customers get lots of repetitious sales calls. Instead of sounding like everyone else, say something different. Try losing the phony enthusiasm and get real with your prospects. They might just likely stay on the phone out of pure shock!
Trying to speed prospects through the sales process is a great way to make them pump the brakes. While it’s true that sales is a numbers game, speed means nothing if you’re not closing. Slowing down the conversation—and using a reliable business communications service like Dialpad—gives you a better chance to make a connection and get the sale.
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