Sales calls are a vital part of any business. They’re the first personal voice-to-voice contact you have with potential clients, and they’re an important opportunity for you to relay the benefits of your product to get people on board.
But, despite being such a vital component, a lot of businesses get them wrong. They turn up unprepared and are more focused on telling the story of their business than meeting the needs of their potential clients.
This is what we’re going to tackle today. By getting a structure and sales call strategy in place, you can make every B2B sales call a successful one.
Firstly, don’t forget to prep
Are your sales staff eager to get selling? That’s great, but are they really prepared before they hop on that important call?
Getting ready for a sales call is one of the key indicators that the actual call will be a success. So how do you do that?
Know Who You’re Talking To
This doesn’t just mean you need to know the name of the business and what they do. It means you need to know exactly who it is you’ll be talking to, their role in the company, and their power in making decisions.
Determine how many people you’ll be on the call with, too. Will there be more than one person? Do the same research on each of them, so you go in knowing precisely what they do in the company.
Understand Their Needs
As well as knowing who you’re talking to and why you’re talking to them in particular, you want to understand the pain points of the business and how your product or service can tap into that.
It’s not enough to go in hoping they’ll understand your product and selling them using a generic spiel. Instead, you really want to hone in on how you can help them specifically.
If it helps, select one particular pain point that they might be facing (maybe they’re struggling to get the right clients if you have an acquisitions product, for example), and use this as the pin-point of your sales pitch.
Know How You Can Offer a Solution
This requires knowing every aspect of your business and the different ways it can help different companies.
Let’s take that acquisitions company again as an example. You might be on a call with a business that struggles to get the right clients, which you need to be able to offer a solution for, and then you might be on a call to a business who desperately needs a streamlined acquisitions process.
Both businesses could make use of your product, but both have different needs for you to tap into.
It’s time to kick off that phone call
Once you’ve got all your notes together and understand who you’re talking to, why you’re talking to them, and how you can help them, it’s time to pick up the phone.
Dave Mattison, CEO of Sandler Training, says there are four key things sales reps need to cover during every call:
Structuring your B2B sales calls like this will help you keep things focused, while providing the business you’re calling with all the vital information they need to make a decision.
Let’s dig deeper.
1. Establish who you’re talking to
I touched on this earlier – you need to know the name of the person you’re talking to and their position in the company. You want to clarify this as soon as you start the call, as well as determine if there’s anyone else in the room you should be addressing.
Prompt line: “Is this X that I’m speaking to? Great. Is there anyone else there in the room with you?”
2. Ask for their expectations
Next, you want to gauge what your caller’s expectations are: why do they think you’re calling? This will determine how you proceed with the call and which areas you need to emphasise the most.
For example, if they believe you’re there to pitch them a specific aspect of your business, be sure to tap into this so their expectations are met.
Prompt line: “Is there anything specific you’re hoping to learn today?”
3. Build a rapport
Building rapport in a B2B sales call is so important. You want your prospect to feel at ease with you and to be able to ask you questions. This means holding off from diving straight into the sales pitch, and instead spending a moment or two getting to know the person on the other end and learning a bit about their conversation style.
Prompt line: Scope out the situation by asking leading questions. Begin by asking about their day, and move on to more focused questions, like what their interests are and where their pain points lie.
4. Introduce yourself and your company
Now you know the person on the other end of the phone, it’s time for them to get to know you. You don’t want to dive straight into who you are at the beginning of the call, because that’s the moment for you to lavish attention on your prospect; to make them feel special and attended to.
But once you’ve seen to their needs, you need to let them know who you are, what your position is, and a bit about your business.
You don’t want to drag this on for too long, so it’s worth having a potted history set up beforehand.
Prompt line: “I’m just going to give you a quick introduction to who I am and what [business] does. Is that okay?”
5. Agree on a timeframe
Time is precious, so you want to let your caller know exactly how much of theirs you’ll take up. Recap what you’ll discuss and how long it’ll take to make them feel more comfortable.
Prompt line: “The information I have to tell you will take around X minutes. Is that okay?”
6. Tell your prospect why
Once you’ve established that your prospect has enough time to chat, start digging into the meat of the sales call. Tell them why you’re calling them and what the purpose of the call is (if it’s to give them a cold sales pitch, be open and honest about that – people are more likely to connect with you if you’re authentic).
You also want to let them know what it is you want from them, if anything.
Prompt line: “I’m calling today to tell you about…”
7. Hit on the benefits
Businesses don’t buy into features, they buy into benefits. They don’t care that your product has this fancy feature or that innovative design. Instead, they want to know how you can help them. They’re focused on their business, so share that focus with them.
Prompt line: “I believe this will really benefit your business because…”
8. Detail and Clarify
This is the part where you really get down to the nitty gritty and pitch them your offer. At this stage, you should have a really tight pitch in place that you’ve drawn up from the research carried out before the call.
Focus heavily on their pain points and the results they’ll be able to see if they come on board with you. With every new thing you discuss, be sure to determine that your prospect understands exactly what it involves, how it works, and how it can benefit them. You can easily do this by asking questions, getting them to confirm they understand, and building a two-way dialogue rather than a one-sided pitch.
Prompt line: “Do you see how this could benefit [specific pain point they have]?”
9. Recap, recap, recap
At the end of the call, there’ll likely be a lot of information for your prospect to take in, so take the opportunity to recap the main points. This helps because:
- You can solidify the main benefits to their business
- They’ll remember the last things you said
Again, touch on the purpose of the call and ask them if they have any questions about any aspect of the pitch or product. If they do, answer as openly and in as much detail as possible to keep that trustworthy rapport going.
Prompt line: “I’ll just quickly go over what we’ve spoken about today, and you let me know if you have any questions, okay?”
10. Close things down
As the call winds down, you want to give your prospect a call to action to take. You don’t want to simply say goodbye, hang up and never hear from them again.
Instead, you want to set a specific goal, like:
- Scheduling a follow-up call in a couple of days once they’ve had a think about the information provided
- Send them a video to watch that digs deeper into your product or pitch
- Encourage them to take up a free trial
Once you’ve cemented what the next steps are, end the call and send a thank you note to them as soon as possible. Take this time to also put a follow up call in your own diary for 3-5 days later.
Putting together a successful B2B sales call doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s a fairly straightforward process if you prepare and layout a specific structure to follow that focuses on your prospect and their needs.