5 Phone Sales Skills Every SDR Needs to Reach the Decision Maker and Book More Meetings


When it comes to phone skills, there are a lot of different ones that have value. Selling is a lot different than it used to be, and yet in several ways, it’s also still relatively the same. If you are trying to build the best sales team, you’ll need to make sure that your sales development representatives (SDRs) have the best skills for their role. 

While their exact skillset may vary depending on the business that you operate and the type of products or services you sell, there are some general skills that everyone in sales can benefit from. Sales development reps are usually involved in handling incoming leads, but some also handle outbound calling and lead generation. In any case, having the best skills and abilities will allow them to provide you with a higher level of service. 

If you’re trying to improve your booking rates or conversion rates and get in touch with more decision-makers, there are some skills that stand out among the rest. Consider giving the five skills below a little extra attention and see how quickly things improve. And remember, before they get on the phone, your SDRs should have the necessary research to know who they’re calling and how to reach the right people. 

Now, let’s talk about those must-have skills. 

1. Personalization 

This can show itself in the form of adaptability and the capability to think on one’s feet. Essentially, your sales development reps need to be able to personalize their calls on the spot to keep up with the conversation and get the decision-maker on the phone. Of course, part of this can also come from researching prospects before calling. Then, your reps will know who to ask for and have a better chance of getting past the gatekeeper than if they just picked up the phone and hoped for the best. 

2. Persistence

SDRs are going to get a lot of rejection. Sales is not a hard-and-fast model of business. It changes with the needs of a business and the demands of the consumer. Therefore, your SDRs may have to make multiple attempts to reach certain key decision-makers, and they should be prepared to do so. Tied into this is the skill of resourcefulness—how resourceful are your SDRs in finding out how KDMs (Key Decision Makers) are and how to get in contact with them?

You need to have sales reps that are willing to go the extra mile with every lead to ensure that your company gets the growth that it deserves. If all your SDRs give up after the first call, your sales pipeline will dry up quickly. 

3. People skills

Although this is a bit more generalized than the other skills on this list, it’s a valuable set to have. Your SDRs aren’t going to get anywhere with cold calls if they can’t get along with people. If they don’t know how to handle rejections, how to assess a person over the phone and respond accordingly, and so forth, they’re not going to get the results that you want. Make sure they’re personable, respectful, and able to read people to communicate effectively. 

Salespeople should be somewhat of the chameleon type—able to shift their personality to match that of whoever they’re talking to. If your SDR calls a quiet, reserved lead, they’re not going to want to use their normal boisterous tone, for example. In person, it’s sometimes referred to as “reading the room” and it can be applied over the phone by the best to improve sales calls. 

4. Persuasion

It’s not that you want to mislead people—you just have to grab their attention and in sales, a great way to do that is through fear of loss. You can also leverage likeability or social proof, or make it all about the customer to ensure that your leads know that you care about them above all else. Persuasive skills are so valuable in the sales world that there are entire blogs, books, lectures, and other resources that focus on all the different kinds of persuasion and the techniques that different sales reps can use to get the results they desire. 

Persuasion can also be tied in with the personalization aspect because you can leverage that personal connection to create a more trusted relationship with potential leads. This will increase conversion rates just on likeability and trust alone. Make sure that when you’re teaching your SDRs about persuasion and developing their skills to focus on the good aspects that you also train them on persuasion tactics to avoid because you don’t want to accidentally mar your business name with poor sales tactics. 

5. Purpose and passion 

Hard skills are great, but soft skills like these are going to do your business far better when it comes to landing deals and converting leads. Your sales development reps should have purpose and passion in their work and love what they do. They should understand the reason behind their calls, how they can help drive sales, and ultimately they need to believe in what they’re selling. If your company culture is on point, these will come naturally as you choose and develop the best SDRs in the industry. 

Another great skill is knowing when to ask for help 

While you’re coaching your SDRs on how to be better at their jobs, why not consider making their jobs simpler too? You can partner with the dedicated virtual receptionists from Smith.ai to handle things like after hours calls, live website chat, appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even things like taking payments, handling warm transfers, and providing outbound sales and support solutions. We can even handle your outreach campaigns and call your leads, taking a lot of work off your team's plate.

Plus, we’ll even help you come up with a strategy to manage all of it, no matter how big or small your needs may be. To learn more about a partnership with the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, schedule a consultation or reach out to us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 

Business Education
Sales Tips
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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