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Outbound Sales Call Tips and Techniques

Even when you know you’ve got a red-hot lead, calling a stranger and pitching your product is not for the faint-hearted – or the unskilled. At the same time, being confident and articulate simply isn’t enough. 

After all, you aren’t calling to demonstrate that you’re a smooth talker. Instead, you’re hoping to present your product as a solution your customer wants, and you’re guiding them through a process that ultimately leads to a sale. Use these sales call tips to get maximum value – both for yourself and your sales prospects. 

How to Prepare for a Sales Call

Cold calling in sales is becoming far less common. All the same, it can still work. For example, B2B sales calls can alert your market to opportunities for enhanced efficiency or saving costs. If you’re offering a significantly better version of a common consumer product, B2C sales calls, even when they’re cold calls, can be effective too. 

However, you do need to be well-prepared. Sure, you can’t predict everything that happens in a call, but you can be ready for some of the most obvious questions a person may have. Let’s look at these next.

1. “Why are you calling me?” Do your research

Even when cold calling, there should be real, research-based reasons why you’re approaching sales prospects. 

If you’re making B2B sales calls, your targeting can and should be very specific – and you should have a basic knowledge of the businesses you approach and how you can benefit them. It also helps if you know who to talk to. Delivering your pitch to the receptionist won’t be nearly as effective as talking to the relevant decision maker. 

When calling members of the public, you have less to go on. If they responded to a lead generation campaign, you already have an indication of interest. Use it to take the next step. If you’re cold-calling, know what would lead your ideal customers to be interested in making a purchase, and how you plan to guide them towards it without making them feel pressured.

2. “What’s in this for me?” Identify the benefits you offer

Be very clear about the benefits you can offer possible customers. That means knowing and believing in what you’re selling, being able to express what makes it different, and being able to communicate how it might help customers who purchase it.

3. “What do you want from me?” Set goals

Although your ultimate goal is selling, there are many steps that contribute to a sale. A typical sales funnel begins with awareness and moves through interest to evaluation, desire, and action. Sales calls benefit you by helping you speed up a process that might otherwise span weeks, months, or even years. 

You can keep your prospects focused and move them closer to a sale quite quickly. At the same time, trying to rush your prospect is seldom a good idea. Set goals based on a typical sales funnel and be ready to let prospects set the pace they’re comfortable with. If that means scheduling call-backs or emailing additional information before you resume the selling process, so be it!

4. “I’m not convinced because…” Identify and address objections

Plan your responses to objections. For example, some people don’t like agreeing to buy anything over the phone. Others may want data and evidence. You may encounter resistance to pricing. Or, you might simply have picked a bad time to call and need to encourage the prospect to schedule a better time. 

Let’s not forget that no product is right for absolutely everyone. Know when to recognise that the person you’re talking to doesn’t match your target market and be ready to close the call on a positive note. 

5. “You’re wasting my time!” Prepare scripts and agendas

Develop a script that can also be used as an agenda. At times, things will go completely to plan, and the script is all you need. At others, you may need to improvise. Either way, you need a purposeful process that leads towards a defined goal. 

In B2B interactions, you can target your script to a specific business’s needs. When talking to consumers, you may find fewer options to customise before you make the call. In this instance, look for opportunities to do so. Asking the right questions can be as important as your actual pitch. 

Whatever you do with your sales call, make it purposeful and well-considered. Time is valuable. Make good use of it. 

How to Start a Sales Call

The way you open a sales call sets the tone for the conversation. Begin by acknowledging the person you’re calling by name. Ask how they are. 

You may have noticed this approach when you receive sales calls yourself. That’s because it really is the best sales call opening line. It shows that you recognise the person you are calling and are open to give-and-take. Now, introduce yourself. Establish a basic rapport. Then, summarise the reason for your call, including the benefits you’re offering your prospect. 

Ask them if they have time to chat with you. It’s good manners, and it may save you from talking to a person whose only aim is to end the call as soon as possible. There’s no rush! You can always call back later when they have time for the conversation. 

Remember, there’s a difference between talking to people and talking “at” them. Listening is as important as talking, and possibly more so because it helps you to get to know your prospect and respond appropriately. Begin with this mindset from the time you start, and carry it through to the conclusion of your conversation. 

Best Time to Make Sales Calls

The best time for cold calling in sales depends on the type of people you’re talking to. In B2B sales, this is quite well-researched. The answer isn’t surprising when you think about it, and you’d follow a similar thought process for your B2C customers – although the times you uncover will likely differ. 

The best times for a B2B sales call in most business contexts are 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. With a bit of reflection, you’ll see that this is an unsurprising conclusion. 

Consider a normal business day. Your prospect hits the ground running, organising tasks for the day, attending meetings, and making a dent in their to-do list. By 10:00 AM on a regular day, they’ll be making good progress and won’t feel as rushed. 

The time after lunch is a mini version of the morning routine. They’re checking progress, and following up on their goals for the day. By 3:00 PM, things should be ticking over nicely and the workday is winding down. They have more time to reflect and explore new ideas.

B2C prospects, on the other hand, will be discouraged from engaging in personal calls during their working day but they may be ready to talk during their tea or lunch breaks. As a rule of thumb, a call between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM might catch them when they aren’t feeling pressed for time. In our experience with B2C outbound sales calls, we have found that the best contact rate is between 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM.

How to Close a Sales Call

The best way to close a sales call depends very much on the prospect’s responses up till that point. If you’ve targeted the wrong person – or one who isn’t ready to consider a purchase owing to their current circumstances, simply slamming down the phone is a great way to infuriate them. 

Basic courtesy is always constructive. Remember, the person you’re talking to may experience a change in their circumstances or a change of mind that makes them the perfect fit for your product. Or, they might remember your call and suggest your business to someone else. 

Maintain rapport. Thank them for their time and tell them how to get in touch should they like to reconsider in future. You may only have generated awareness, the first step towards a sale, but it’s still progress. 

You may find it necessary to close a call somewhere between awareness, expressions of interest, and the final sale. If your prospect expressed interest, there’s still a good chance of conversion. 

Prepare to execute a follow-through. For example, you might ask if you may send them further information to consider at their leisure and follow that up with another call. If they simply ran out of time, ask them when it would be convenient to call back. If B2B prospects sound close to conversion, ask if they’d like to schedule a demo or meeting. 

Skills Needed for an Effective Sales Call

No matter how good your script is, you’ll need skilled salespeople to handle your outbound sales calls. Look out for these points:

  • A well-modulated voice
  • The ability to sound positive and enthusiastic
  • Active listening skills (this may include note-taking)
  • The ability to think on their feet in unscripted interactions
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Excellent product knowledge and competitor knowledge
  • Empathy and the ability to build rapport
  • The ability to remain calm and positive when overtures are rejected
  • The ability to effectively gauge next steps and follow through

You may be wondering where you can hope to find representatives who reflect all these qualities without you needing to undertake intensive talent searches and training initiatives. At RSVP, we have a straightforward solution

Our call centre agents include a skilled team of people who specialise in outbound sales and have a track-record to prove their selling abilities. Getting your outbound sales drive started could be as simple as picking up the phone once. It’s your call to RSVP. We’ll work with you to establish an effective approach to outbound sales.

When it comes to B2C outbound sales calls, most companies do their outbound sales calls between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM when they run it in-house and miss out on the best time for calling. By outsourcing your outbound calls to RSVP, we can staff these evening shifts which are usually key for successful B2C sales where much of the target audience will be people at work during the day.

Whether it’s cold calling or following up on leads, our customers know they can rely on us to represent them well, making calls that convert. Our outbound sales and custom retention service offers proven results. Contact us today to partner with us and fast-track your success. 


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