Sales calls can be awkward. The prospect may be of peripheral interest to your product, but they may also dislike the call, assuming that all sales calls would go the same way. If they’ve had enough already, they might also know the typical procedure of the calls, down to the questions that you’ll ask.
So, how does one surprise a prospect pleasantly on an initial sales call? As 60% of buyers want to talk about prices on the first call and 50% of buyers want to see how a product operates on the first call, clarity is important. But there are a few additional lengths a salesperson may take to create a bond with the prospect and leave them happily surprised beyond sharing all details.
1. Do deep research
Firstly, prospects don't want to feel like just another number on your call sheet, even though they are. It might be your 17th call of the day but they're not expected to feel this way. To take a pause between calls and attempt to create a genuine link with the prospect, study them or their business ahead of time. Perhaps they have earned some attention lately, so you should mention the story they were featured in.
There's a difference between being friendly and professional, but remember to follow proper business etiquette and put a smile on your face even though you're on the phone. Your tone is affected by wearing a genuine smile, making it sound more optimistic and upbeat.
2. Show that you’re a human
When a sales leader trains a sales team, they almost always use the same scripts for sales. This makes the script feel like a second nature after intensive practice. The problem with reciting the same scripts over and over again is that the words lose their meaning to the salesperson, so instead of actually talking, they only repeat the words. When many prospects are used to getting on calls with sales people who have the perfectly rehearsed sales script, it makes things worse. So, this should be avoided at all costs.
Consider some behaviours that you won’t think as positive during public speaking, like “err”, “hmm” or hesitating before you talk – these might be helpful on phone calls to make them sound more genuine.
Also, you can treat cold calls as speaking to you friends. You wouldn’t use a script when you do so right? If a friend was interested in your product or service, you likely wouldn’t jump into your usual script. You’d talk with them more in a more casual, ‘human’ way. Talking this way to prospects helps them feel like you’re talking to them, rather than at them.
3. Share real-life stories
The integration of stories into the sales call is one way to break from a script's routine. It may be a personal story, or the story of another client or customer who used your service or product. Each time, stories are told a little differently, so it will give you an opportunity to break out of the mundane rehearsal and make real human connections.
A good story walks the prospect through the experience of another customer: the issue they had initially, how the problem was addressed by the product or service, and where they are now. It allows the prospect to imagine going on the same journey. Depending on the type of client or customer you are dealing with, it is also a good idea to have a few stories on hand because people want to learn about how you've been helping people like them.
The goal is to pleasantly surprise the prospect by making it clear that you know what they need, and that to satisfy that need, you have the right product or service. It takes only a few improvements to your strategy and an extra few minutes to study the prospect to create a human connection and to demonstrate genuine interest, but it can make all the difference. They are the happily delighted prospects that turn into leads, which turn into clients or customers.