Let’s face it. Phone sales aren’t easy. Ask any salesperson about phone prospecting, and you’re bound to hear a litany of complaints. “Prospects hang up on me all the time! I can never get through to high-level prospects! I leave more voicemails than I can count!” Sound familiar?
But there’s good news. Instead of giving up on phone sales entirely, you can start implementing a few simple strategies that actually work to get your best prospects to stay on the phone with you.
1. Say the opposite of what’s expected.
Remember, your prospects are getting dozens of sales calls every day. And salespeople always sound alike. They’re over-the-top with excitement, constantly cheerful and way too loud.
Make an effort to stand out. Avoid sounding like a salesperson by saying the opposite of what’s expected, in any unexpected way. Set yourself apart by lowering your enthusiasm, taking the volume down a few notches and speaking in a measured, calm way. You’ll be amazed at how much more willing your prospects will be to stay on the phone with you.
2. Make a commitment, and stick to it.
Getting sent to voicemail isn’t a lost opportunity. Use it as your chance to show that you’re committed to connecting with prospects. Give them an exact date and time when you will call them back, and stick to it.
For example, instead of leaving a voicemail in which you ask for a return call or promise to try to reach them later, be specific. You can say, “If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll call you on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m.”
3. Be persistent.
Don’t give up after just a few voicemail messages. One of the biggest phone sales mistakessalespeople make is to assume prospects aren’t interested just because they don’t call back after one or two voicemails. Nowadays, it can take up to 10 voicemails before you can get a qualified prospect on the phone.
They key to success is not getting discouraged. While other salespeople are giving up on the same hard-to-reach prospect, you need to stick to your guns. It might mean months of leaving messages, but you’ll get through eventually. Persistence is one of the most effective ways to get your best prospects on the phone.
4. Be provocative.
Voicemails don’t need to be the bane of your existence. In fact, they can actually be fun for both you and the prospect. Try saying something like, “I’m having a hard time getting through to you. Either you’re super busy, or you want nothing to do with me.” Using humor in your voicemails will set you apart from the competition, since most salespeople sound ultra-professional and stiff when they leave messages. Loosen up and get their attention.
5. Have contingencies.
At first, almost every prospect will try to get off the phone with you as quickly as possible. But don’t let that scare you away. Even the best, most qualified prospects will push you away on the phone, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to sell. That’s why you need to have contingencies in place to get high-value prospects to stay on the phone with you just a little bit longer.
If a prospect says they’re too busy to talk, shoot back with a contingency like, “I totally understand. What if I just take 20 seconds to tell you why I’m calling, and if it doesn’t make sense to you, we can hang up afterwards?” A response like this will catch any prospect off guard and buy you just enough time to stay on the phone and make your way toward closing the sale.
Which of these crazy-simple tips will you start using in your phone prospecting? You can also check out this free 9-Day Sales Intensive to help transform your selling approach.