July 6, 2021
Google “sales call tips.”
In no time you will notice a crazy number of articles already, there is no dearth.
And frankly, many of them are quite good. We read them regularly too.
So why this!
We want to share our learnings that are backed by data from over 126k interactions on our platform.
Let's dive in!
Congrats on landing the sales meeting.
Let’s maximize your chance of it going well.
There are good and bad times of day for the first sales meeting.
Know when they are?
If you think a morning-fresh, bright-eyed prospect is your best bet, guess again.
Afternoon calls have fewer no-shows and prospects stay on the call longer:
Your prospect is 30% more likely to show up for a call at 4 PM than one at 8 AM.
This approach is counterintuitive, so most salespeople get it wrong:
When we looked at the day of the week, we found it doesn’t matter much at all.
Your sales call is not the time to find out whether you rock at improv.
The world’s top salespeople never “wing it.”
In fact, the top 5-10% of them have an incredibly organized and repeatable sales call process.
For starters, they cover more topics than poor or average performers: 15 compared to 12 on a 43-minute call:
Their conversations are linear.
Top reps use overarching themes and move smoothly within them from one topic to the next.
Meanwhile, average and low-performers offer their prospects a rollercoaster of haphazard topics.
Don’t. It gets ugly:
If you cluster topics thematically, you’ll “switch” topics during your conversation 15.6% less frequently than average or poor performers:
The key point?
PREPARE for your sales call like your job depends on it.
Because it does.
This sales call tip is an extension of the last one.
A great sales call structure starts with a great “opening” to the meeting.
Here’s how we’ve seen the best salespeople start their sales meetings:
Top salespeople are incredible at building rapport.
You can be too, without cheap tricks like mirroring.
Instead, learn to pull the prospect into your rhythms (volume, pitch, talking speed, and pauses).
That’s how the pros do it.
In fact, prospects will actually adjust their talking speed by 13% to conform with the top salespeople.
Top reps, on the other hand, only adjust their talking speed 1.7% of the time:
Average performers shift by 7% in the prospect’s direction, while the prospect hardly changes at all:
This pattern repeats itself when we measure positive and negative language in recorded calls.
Top reps don’t mirror negative prospects.
They stay the course and use more positive language until the prospect falls in line:
Don’t mirror other people. Be a leader. Let them follow you.
You’ll reach conversational synchrony around the 2-3 minute mark.
Say something worthwhile.
Though features are important, it’s what your prospects can do with features that really matter. They’re a means to an end.
Have a conversation about business value instead of features.
That’s what top reps do 52% more often than their peers:
Business value topics include these categories:
Less-than-stellar salespeople talk far too much about product features and technical details :
The top reps (those above 120% of quota) discuss those topics 39% less often.
Our data shows that reps who switch from talking about features to talking about business value move up in their teams’ rankings.
Shifting your habit from talking about features to talking about business and value is the number one way to go from good, to great.
Switching between speakers matters a lot early in the sales cycle.
You can use that two-way dialogue to build trust and understanding.
That’s why successful sales calls are almost twice as interactive as unsuccessful ones.
Words set the tone of your conversations.
That’s why even tiny language differences like using “I” or” we” matter.
They make you sound familiar or formal, unified or solo, so you want to use them at the right time.
For example, use “we” language when you want to warm your buyer up on a cold call.
That’s when the top salespeople use it to generate a sense of credibility:
Don’t stop using the “I’ language, just increase your use of the “we” language.
It can help you book a first meeting.
And when you do, keep using “we” language in the first 4-6 minutes of that meeting:
But don’t get too set on “we” language.
There’s a transition coming.
Around the 5-minute mark of the first sales meeting, start using more “I” language to build personal rapport :
It moves the prospect from connecting with a company to connecting with a person.
Totally. Different. Ballgame.
Now you’re getting somewhere.
The right kind of sales questions is those that get you as much bang for your buck as possible.
Imagine that every question you ask withdraws from your prospect’s emotional bank account.
Ask too many, and they’ll feel like you’ve been interrogating them.
So, here’s a tip to ask your questions in a way that gets as much value as possible for each one:
Phrase your questions in a way that encourages long responses. Here are some examples:
That’s sure to get you a better response than just “What are your biggest challenges when it comes to sales effectiveness?”
The “Can you help me understand” phrasing at the beginning signals to your prospect to go in-depth.
Here are a few other phrases to tee up your questions that will have the same effect:
Share the limelight. It’ll boost your ability to close deals.
By how much?
A whopping 258%.
Yep. You read that correctly.
It’s one of the most impressive metrics in this article.
Inviting team members to join just one call in your sales cycle has that effect:
Team selling works.
The only time you don’t want to do it is during the discovery call.
That’s when one seller and one prospect work best.
Having more people on the discovery call can actually drop your win rate by 23%:
Otherwise, make it a team effort for at least one call in your sales process.
Do it early in the cycle.
And if you’re pressed for time, use this tactic for your most important prospects.
Here’s the crux of it:
The perfect talk-to-listen ratio depends on the type of sales call you’re making.
Cold calling, for example, is a major outlier.
It’s the only time in the sales process when you can talk more than you listen:
Cold calls are about grabbing your listener’s attention.
Sometimes that means you need to talk more, even up to 37 seconds:
If you talk for 25 seconds or less, you’re half as likely to book a meeting as reps who talk longer:
If you don’t talk, the prospect will, and (counterintuitively) that’s not ideal on a first call.
Look at how long prospects talks on successful (3.5 seconds) versus unsuccessful (8 seconds) cold calls:
Mastered that concept? Good.
Everything changes for the discovery call.
You want a connection. You want your prospect to feel heard.
Let the back and forth chatter get messy :
Listen a little more than you talk:
If you don’t, your talk-to-listen ratio will look more like that of average and low performers:
Nail your talk-to-listen ratio.
It will pay off.
This sales call tip is going to surprise you.
Don’t shy away from discussing the competition.
Talk about them early in the sales cycle.
It will make you 49% more likely to win a deal than ignoring them altogether:
When you bring the competition up early on, you can affect how the prospect thinks about them.
But don’t mention them in the middle or at the end of the sales cycle.
That’s worse than if you ignore them altogether:
Ask who else they’re considering early on and you’ll be able to shape your prospect’s buying criteria before it’s set in stone.
So what else is effective in the face of objections?
The best objection handling technique is to ask questions :
When you hear an objection, your goal is to keep a solid, two-way conversation going.
Be open about the challenges being raised.
It’s a great opportunity to discuss how your product solves the prospect’s problems.
Stay calm and keep your back-and-forth flow moving along steadily:
You’ve got this.
Most of us book meetings in 30- and 60-minute time slots.
Is one better than the other for moving the sales process along?
Nope. There’s no connection there.
But there is one important point to note:
Your prospect is 12% more likely to show up for a 30-minute call than a 60-minute one:
Even if you have a complex product, keep it short.
Don’t cram everything into the first sales call.
Create a lean sales presentation and leave your prospect craving more.
There’s one sticky little matter we haven’t touched on yet.
Raise it during the wrap-up in your product demo call, somewhere between the 38 and 46-minute mark.
That’s far better than raising it early on:
In unsuccessful demos, reps spend 8% longer on pricing.
Because their inability to build value leaves them trying to win on price.
It should only take a few minutes at the end of a call to explain pricing and make the prospect feel like it’s fair.
Smooth out your talking points if it’s taking longer than that.
The last sales call tip is to discuss your next steps.
Top performers spend 12.7% more time talking about the next steps (as a topic of discussion):
It ties everything together at the end of the call and sets everyone up for moving the project forward together.
You can even condense your pitch to free up time for a ‘next steps’ discussion.
It’s that important.
Take a bow.
With these 15 data-based sales call tips, you’re about to send your numbers skyward.
It seems like magic, but there’s no wizardry to it.
These sales call tips are based on science, and we’re delighted our data team uncovered them for you.
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