After weeks (if not months) of prospecting and preparation, you’ve landed the call. The big call.
The one with the C-level exec, the department head, and maybe a few of their reports too.
How can you best control the call so that your meticulous sales process isn’t derailed?
Here are our team’s top tips to get you from “Nice to meet you” to “Sign here” in one call.
“Set an agenda! Make sure everyone is on the same page with goals and expectations and status going into the call. Especially with multiple stakeholders – they often have vastly different wants and expectations. So make sure you’re accommodating everyone on the call in the first place – otherwise, it might not get off the ground at all.”
It’s true, it’s unwise to go into any sales call blindly, but especially one with many stakeholders and opinions. Does everyone need to be on the call? Will they all have to speak up or will some simply listen in? Who is the ultimate decision maker? Be clear and straightforward with your contacts from the get-go about each individual’s role and the goals for the call. If you can, address people by name or ask participants to state their name before speaking to maintain order.
“Have a list of questions you’d like to ask ahead of time. Ask probing, open-ended questions that will facilitate a dialogue with the buyers, who will often end up telling you exactly what they want and need, and the issues they are having. Then, you can direct the conversation from that point on, addressing their key needs.”
Focus on information that will help you serve them better. What problems can you solve? What day-to-day pain points can you alleviate? The more customer-oriented you can be, the better. No one wants to hear a one-sided sales commercial. Truly listen to their needs and adjust the conversation based on what they say and how you can help. Be careful not to interrupt or talk over folks. Without body language cues, a little more patience will go a long way to a smooth conversation over conference call.
“Know the answers and do your homework. While there’s no way to know every single answer, the less you have to tell a buyer “that’s a good question, I’ll get back to you,” the better able you will be to control the direction the call goes.”
That being said, if you don’t know the answer – don’t make one up. Simply promise to find out the correct information and pass it on to them quickly after the call. The more transparent you are up front, the more likely the buyer will sense your trustworthiness and may be more likely to buy. Take detailed notes too – empty promises are a deal-killer.
“Ask what next steps are at the end of the call. Calls usually end with buyers letting you know that they are ready to buy or the more common “we’ll talk it over and will get in touch.” Get an idea of timelines, when they plan on making a decision, and if they need any additional information to help with the process.”
Don’t let the call end without an action plan in place. Can you follow up in a few days? Do they need you to schedule another pitch with someone else on their team? Is there a certain element that’s holding up their decision that you can help manage? Does someone on the team have a specific concern? Figure out how you can get them across the finish line in a timely manner while you still have their attention on the conference call.
“Give the buyers new ideas and perspectives. Have you had clients from the same industry or with the same problem that needed solving? Show how other customers have been successful with your product and why.”
Maybe they think they don’t need your service. Or can’t picture why a certain feature could help them save time. Make sure you explain any out-of-the-box ideas, unique use cases, or special promotions you can offer in order to sweeten the deal and make it easier for them to sign on.
If you come prepared, you’ll be able to deftly manage any concerns as they arise. And when you run an organized, successful conference call, your prospects will be signing on that dotted line in no time.
How to Own the Sales Process – Even on a Conference Call