Sales Tactics for Opening A B2B Sales Call Over The Phone

Sales tactics for Opening a Sales Call

Sales Tactics That Don’t Work – Reading Your Script

I can’t believe sales reps are still being taught old tactics that don’t work.

This morning I received a call from someone offering a free executive report as a “reward” for subscribing to one of their online publications. I can appreciate what these sales reps are trying to accomplish. However, if you you’re targeting executives, your communication style needs to be a little more… executive-like.

So there I was, in the middle of a task when I got this call. Like most people in business, I didn’t want to stop what I was doing. I looked at my smartphone and made a decision based on the caller ID.

Usually, when the ID pops up as “unknown” I let the call go to voicemail, as most business people do. However, this morning I was curious. So I answered, expecting the call to be a recorded message that I could easily drop.

Instead, I got  “Bobbi”. She opened her call with, “Hi my name is “Bobbie” and I’m with High Tech Magazine. May I speak with Lance?”

Now realize that I typically answer the phone with, “Lance Tyson.” So when somebody responds, “Hello, Lance?” or, “Lance?” my perception is, “OK. They are on a cell phone…”, “They are getting my attention…” “They are opening up a dialog…” or “They are re-affirming my name because I didn’t speak plainly enough.”

But when they begin with a “Hello this is Bobbi from High Tech Magazines, Inc. May I please speak with Lance?” after I just said, “Hello, Lance Tyson…” it says to me that they are reading from a script.

Perception is everything. If you sell over the phone in a B2B environment, cut loose from the script. Keep your ear on the conversation and respond to your potential client accordingly.

Sales Tactics That Don’t Work – Disrespecting Time

So after her self-centered opening, Bobbi goes on into her script about this wonderful report and how it’s going to reveal secrets about the sales industry. But in order to send it she needs to confirm some information.

Since I’m trying to finish my own tasks, I tell her that I’m currently in the middle of a meeting.

Ok — show of hands. How many people here are always in the middle of a couple of different tasks when they get a phone call? As I’ve said in many of my B2B training sessions and consultations, no one is sitting at the desk waiting for the next salesperson to call them. You always have something going on.

After I tell her that I’m in a meeting, she paused for a few seconds, and then said, “I apologize for the interruption. I just need to verify your email address”. Not, “I apologize, is there a better time to talk” or “I apologize, I’ll call back at a more opportune time”, but “I apologize. This is more important so drop what you’re doing and give me your email address”.

If someone says that they don’t have time right now or they are in a meeting, don’t double-down on your request. Use the few seconds that you do have to set up a future meeting.

Remember, perception is key here. How you respond to your prospect’s statement of “I don’t have time right now” goes beyond simply getting the calls in to make a quota. It reveals to your prospect how you view them: either as a number on a spreadsheet or a valued professional.

Sales Tactics that Do Work – Stay In The Moment and Respect Their Time

Today, business happens quickly. That business executive’s attention span is limited and they are typically involved in numerous projects at any given time.

On the other hand, sales reps have more avenues to communicate with their potential clients such as email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, text messaging, in addition to the phone. If your prospect is so busy that they can’t talk at that moment and you have something that is truly of value to them, get a commitment to call them back. But to do that, you will need to have a healthy dose of self-confidence and some phone training.

You won’t win their attention by sticking to a phone script. And you certainly won’t win their respect by disrespecting their time.

When someone says that they don’t have the time to talk at that moment, reschedule time in the future with them and move on to your next prospect. It positions you as a professional B2B salesperson – someone who knows the value of time and is ready to take care of theirs.

And taking care of their time speaks volumes about how you will treat their business interests.

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