Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Selling on the phone need not be as difficult as we sometimes think. The key to making a successful sales call is to remember a few points – classic selling techniques -and have a specific objective in mind, without which you risk spending a lot of time on ‘courtesy calls’ that never reach the selling stage. It’s nothing to be nervous about.
Identifying the real decision-maker – the person who will confirm or decline your order – is the first step. You may have to start further down the chain and work up through it, but you should always know who the real target is and who you’ll have to win over in the end in order to make a sale.
When you begin the process:
- Always remember to ask open questions that further the conversation and don’t invite simplistic responses.
- Explain your product or service in terms of the client’s needs and requirements, clearly pointing out the benefits it offers.
- Try to remember that objections don’t necessarily mean a definite no, but are often a sign that the customer is interested in what you have to offer. Deal with them without hostility or irritation and then try to close the deal. If you are unsuccessful, start the selling process again.
- You may want to use a special situation to close a deal – the product might be in short supply or on special offer for a limited period of time.
- Always try to ensure that you, and any sales people you have, see things from the customer’s point of view and review your sales strategies to see how they can be improved.