When studying the most successful sales, marketing, and customer service professionals, one thing clearly sets them apart from the pack: They understand how to engage customers. In other words, they don’t just lecture their audiences – they work on truly connecting with them. If engagement is something you struggle with, maybe it’s time to shift your approach.
Try These 6 Tips and Techniques
There isn’t a one size fits all approach to dealing with customers. With that being said, there are ways you can increase your chances of procuring a specific result. Whether it’s a long-time customer or a cold call, the following tips will help you make better (and more engaging) sales calls.
1. Know Your Audience
In order to have a successful sales call, you need to know who you’re talking to (preferably ahead of time). If possible, do some research on the individual and their company prior to making contact. If you’re unsure of who you’ll be speaking with until you’re actually in the middle of the call, get the prospect to provide you with some context.
When you know who your audience is, you’re able to guide the conversation in a direction that’s comfortable for them and profitable for you. This ensures they’re actually engaged in the conversation, as opposed to looking for an excuse to get you off the phone.
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2. Nail the Intro
You only have a few minutes to connect with a customer before they tune you out or hang up. If it’s a cold call, you might only have a few seconds. As such, the intro is very important.
Don’t start a call by rambling on about who you are and what you’re selling. Begin with a short blurb on who you are, but quickly bring the customer into the conversation. Engagement requires involvement from both parties.
3. Ask the Right Questions
Nobody likes to be lectured, especially on a sales call. In order to engage prospects in a meaningful way, you need to make sure you’re asking questions. Specifically, you need to ask the right questions. This is something the team over at Chorus has studied in-depth over the past year.
“Our data shows that top reps have an average response time of 21 seconds for each question they ask. In comparison, bottom and mid-ranked reps have response times around 17 seconds for each question,” says Tom Wraith, who works in the Chorus sales department. “In fact, our research shows that on average, high-performing reps ask fewer questions per minute than lower-performing reps, but are able to get the prospect to open up more.”
Are you asking the right questions of your customers? This is the quickest way to get them to engage with you on a meaningful level.
4. Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page
You know the product or service you’re selling from the inside out, but do the people on the other end of the call? It doesn’t matter how intimately you know the product. What matters is how well this knowledge resonates with your customers.
This is something entrepreneur Robert Falcone learned the hard way. “I’d ask people, ‘Do you understand what I’m saying?’ and they’d tell me, ‘Yeah,’ because they didn’t want to look dumb,” Falcone recalls. “But you don’t want people to just say, ‘Sure, I get it.’ You want the sale.” Once Falcone recognized this and changed his approach, he began to see much better results.
5. Go Off Script
Most salespeople have a script that they use to conduct sales calls – especially cold calls. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a loose script, you have to be willing to stray from it. A script should only be something you rely on when you hit an absolute standstill.
Customers will respond much better if you infuse humor and storytelling into your sales calls. Reading off bullet points and stale calls-to-action will only get you so far.
6. Talk About Them
Nobody cares about what you’re selling – that’s just the cold, hard truth. What they do care about is how you and your product can help them satisfy a pain point or fulfill a desire. If you start off a call talking about yourself, you’ll lose their interest. Instead, you need to make the call about them and their needs. Once they realize you’re interested in them, their whole demeanor will change.
Engagement Matters Most
Everyone has their own unique techniques for turning prospects into customers, but engagement is the defining factor when it comes to sales calls. You can’t consistently get good results if you aren’t directly engaging your customers in ways that matter to them. Try using some of the tips highlighted in this article and see what sort of impact they have on your results.