5 Phone Sales Techniques Every Businessperson Must Know

Elizabeth Lockwood

In this video, Kelsey Johnson, product marketing manager at Smith.ai, points out how phone calls, though often overlooked in our modern, digital age, can be the key to businesses gaining more prospects, converting more leads, and closing more sales. In order to unlock the potential growth opportunities from new leads calling in, business professionals must first understand how to perform sales calls correctly, or the sale can fall right through your fingers. For business professionals hoping to get the most out of their phone calls, Kelsey recommends implementing a few tried-and-tested techniques.

To learn more about how to perform sales calls like a wiz, we've provided a full transcript of the video below, edited for readability. You can watch the full webinar by clicking on the video below. This webinar is also available to watch for free on YouTube. To hear more advice about how you can strengthen your sales process, improve internal operations, boost lead conversions, much more, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Speaker

Kelsey Johnson

Product Marketing Manager

at Smith.ai

INTRODUCTION

KELSEY JOHNSON, PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER AT SMITH.AI:

Are you struggling to grow your business revenue? You may actually have a sales problem, and not even realize it. Chances are, your phone conversations are making the difference in the conversion rates of your business every day! But, if you’re not a trained salesperson, you may not be bringing in as many clients as you could.

So today I’m going to give you 5 tips for making the sale every time someone calls your business.

I’m Kelsey Johnson from Smith.ai, a virtual receptionist service that has taken over 2 million calls on behalf of small and medium businesses. 

Despite the prevalence of text, email, and other communication platforms these days, when it comes down to it, people still really want to pick up the phone and call your business. Many of these callers are new leads — they have a need for your products or services. But it’s a mistake to think these callers are already sold on your company. And it’s another mistake to think that only salespeople make sales.

Whether you are a lawyer, tutor, dog sitter, contractor, or any other type of businessperson, you are likely answering calls from new leads. Whether you call it a conversion, booking, or intake process, it’s a sale, and you’ll be more likely to close it if you’re prepared.

And even if you have a non-sales position in a larger business, being adept at phone sales techniques can be necessary in a number of situations. Do you work directly with clients who can be upsold? Are you a receptionist taking all incoming calls?

We often associate sales with outbound calls to prospects, but the same tactics can be applied, often very effectively, to inbound leads who call your business.

So here are five techniques to help you make the sale every time someone calls.

TOP 5 TECHNIQUES

1. Pick up the phone — right away

The number one thing, and most important thing, you can do to make a sale is to pick up the phone when it rings. This might seem obvious, but any prospect who is sent to voicemail is likely to immediately seek out one of your competitors — and they may pick up the first time. You can’t sell anything to a lead you never speak to — and they will not wait for you to call them back. Leads want to talk to a real person right now — that’s why they called instead of emailing or filling out a form on your website. 



If the concept of answering the phone every time, day and night, seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. Especially for small business owners who may only have one or two employees, or none at all, and have work to get done. You could solve this issue by setting up your phone to ring multiple people, and the most available person can pick up. Or you could hire a virtual receptionist service to answer all your calls. Either way, answering every call is the #1 thing you can do to make more sales.


2. Sound friendly and genuine, but not overly enthusiastic

It’s likely that you are excited at the prospect of a new client, and you are certainly excited about the products or services your business offers, but people are put off by high pitched/high energy people over the phone. Be very friendly, but keep your voice calm and speak as you normally would to any other client or associate.


3. Have a script ready for new interested leads

Chances are, when you take a call from an interested prospect, you are being distracted from another task or thought. And even if you are calling a lead back, you haven’t planned exactly what to say before dialing. But remember this — it takes about 7 seconds for you to make an impression. What you say first will impact the rest of the conversation and the sale.

So start planning now and write out a script with an initial hook, to ensure you capture the caller’s attention straight away. This will also make each conversation easier for you since you won’t have to create talking points from scratch each time.

 Wondering what to put in this script? Your phone prospects don’t want you to agree with everything they say. Be provocative and challenging in this initial conversation (in a friendly way of course). Get straight to the point, which brings us to tip 4:


4. You’re not selling your product or service, you’re selling a solution

Get to the bottom of your caller’s frustration or issue, and identify how your business is the solution to that problem. Almost no callers are likely to be ready to buy without asking a few questions first — some may have many questions. But there is an essential need beneath all of the side questions, so try to get to the bottom of it.

You know your clients — they are likely all bringing similar issues to the table. So try something like this: “Many of the people who hire me have [THIS ISSUE]. Does that sound familiar to you?” If they agree, have a read-made answer for how your company would go about solving it. Don’t forget, you are the expert here.


5. Take the lead to the next step every time

What is that next step in your business’s sales process? Is it booking an appointment for service? Setting up a consultation? Running a credit card? Don’t leave the situation up in the air! Never agree to call them back or, worse, wait for them to call you — book an appointment while you’re on the phone. Are they signing up for a free trial? Stay on the call until they’re fully signed up so you can answer questions (and ensure they finish the signup process). No matter what, make sure you have the next step finished and confirmed before the conversation ends. 



Bonus: Have a contingency plan. If the lead is trying to get off the phone before you reach the next step, have a plan B ready to keep them around. For example, if your caller tells you they’ll call you back in a week, you could say something like, “You know, our schedule often gets booked weeks in advance — why don’t I put you down for a time right now.” Always put in your best effort to make the sale, so you know you’re converting every possible lead. That’s what will truly grow your business revenue and success!


Outsource call answering to Smith.ai

Having a hard time answering every call, every time? Smith.ai receptionists are trained professionals who can handle the first call with your leads, keep them warm, qualify them, and then transfer or book them on your calendar. We can answer all of your incoming calls, answer just when you’re busy, or provide coverage on nights and weekends only. Head to Smith.ai to get started with a free trial today.

Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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