Dialing for Sales

By Cindy Waxer

Art Sobczak, president of Business By Phone Inc., has witnessed thousands of sales reps sabotage their own efforts with little more than a telephone. Here, Sobczak identifies the top 10 mistakes sales professionals make when using the telephone, and the steps they can take to avoid such errors.

10. Sending unnecessary literature.
If a prospect requests literature, be certain he or she is a legitimate buyer and not someone simply trying to get rid of you.

9. Poor telephone image.
The best way to improve how you sound on the phone is to tape your telephone conversations, play them back, and determine what areas need improvement.

8. No post-call review.
Rather than quickly dialing another number after each sales call, take some time for a moment of reflection. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently on this call?

7. Lousy listening.
The next time you find yourself verbally dominating a sales call, ask yourself this: What information will I get from listening to this person? The answer will remind you of how important it is to listen.

6. Gatekeeper misuse.
Be ready to explain to the gatekeeper the results and benefits you can offer the person you’re attempting to contact.

5. Nonexistent or inadequate questioning.
Map out your questioning strategy before your call. Jot down all the benefits you can offer, the needs those benefits can fill and the problems they can solve.

4. Poor preparation.
Decide before the call what your objectives are for the call, and then determine a course of action. Getting from point A to point B will be easier if you have a plan.

3. Misunderstand objections.
Stimulate discussion rather than adversity by responding to an objection with the statement: I see. Well, let’s talk about that.

2. Reluctance to ask for the sale.
If you’re not asking for the sale as often as you should, you need to figure out why and make a change. Modify the way you handle rejection. Get out of your comfort zone and ask for what you want.

1. Opening statements that build resistance, not interest.
Avoid opening statements that give your prospects a chance to get off the phone. Keep them interested in what you have to say by quickly introducing yourself and your organization, stating an interesting benefit, and immediately engaging them in conversation.