Selling by Phone

Niall Devitt

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Selling using the phone is different from the face to face sale in two distinct ways namely the seller as a much shorter time to get their initial pitch across to the prospect and you only have one means of communication to deliver your message, your voice. These factors should be given serious consideration when selling over the phone.

It is also worth noting that it is much easier for a prospect to object early in the communication so there is strong need to grab attention and involve the prospect very quickly.

Remember if you are not happy to be calling, the prospect won’t be happy that you called so get yourself in the right frame on mind and make sure that you sound enthusiastic. First impressions will happen extremely quickly over the phone so the tone and emotion of your voice will have a big influence on the prospect in those initial seconds.

Phone introductions need to be quick and contain only relevant information, your name, company info, some well known customers, a piece of information to demonstrate that you have done some research on the prospect and something to grab the prospects attention, a reason why they should continue the call.

After your intro you need to ensure that the conversation is flowing both ways and the easiest way to achieve this is ask lots of open questions, you need to gather as much relevant information about the prospect as possible so that you can establish any existing needs and tailor you sales pitch for the person at the end of the line.

When you have gathered all the relevant info you are now in a position to sell. Communicate to the prospect where you feel your product will benefit him or her and how it can positively affect his or her organisation. If you have done a thorough fact-find you will know the pain-points or benefits that you should emphasise with this particular person. Try to make the pitch as personal as possible and refer back to the earlier answers to your questions.

Deal with any objections ensuring that you empathise and qualify each objection before reselling the corresponding benefits, ensuring that you cover additional extras such as quality of customer service and reputation etc.

We know that it can be difficult to get decision makers over the phone so when you do and you have got this far, ensure that you close. It amazes me how good some sales people can be at getting the sale to this stage but freeze when it comes to closing. Asking prospects to buy products is the definition of what we do so make sure that you close.

Other factors to consider when selling over the phone are people can be rude so prospects can be rude, it’s not personal so don’t take it personally. The minority of calls made will lead to sales but it’s this minority that count as regards to target, commissions, promotions etc etc.

As a rule of thumb if the conversation is going one way, that’s not good, if it’s flowing both ways that’s good. As with all selling, good questioning technique is the best way at achieving this conversation flow. Try to stay away from selling until you have gathered enough information to make the pitch uniquely personal to the prospect.

In my opinion sticking word for word to a scripted intro rarely is a good idea, where scripts can be useful is as a guideline to what to say as part of your initial intro but unless you are Colin Farrell or Jodie Foster, use your own words to convey your message. Where the prospect is busy try to secure an agreed time and date where you will call back and ensure that you do.

Selling over the phone can seem difficult at first but for those who become experts are highly sought after and quickly progress up the ranks within organisations.

Niall Devitt is a Sales Training Consultant with Real World Sales Training based in Ireland web:


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