Do you talk to your leads and customers on the phone during your sales cycle? If so, study these telephone sales tips before dialing your next prospect.

When is the last time you called someone, read a sales script, and booked a contract all in the same call? Did it ever happen to you? Probably not. Customers can sniff out a practiced, unmotivated seller, and will hang up faster than you can say, “I’d like to talk to you about…” Selling on the phone is a much different process than doing it in person, so practice these telephone sales tips.

1. Practice your greeting

How a call begins dictates the way it will continue. Working on your opener is crucial to keeping your lead on the phone. When you’re contacting a lead, find out how to personalize your beginning pitch to their needs. Be conversational, and don’t rush into the selling.

If a gatekeeper picks up the phone, don’t disregard them as just an assistant. That assistant is the key to whether you’ll have the opportunity to even knock on the right doors. Be polite, be honest, and treat this person with respect.

2. Know the correct information

Once you capture the initial attention of your prospect, they’ll begin to ask questions of you. Are you prepared to answer? You not only need to know the basics, such as costs and timelines, but you need to know specifics by heart. If you’re selling a new product, role play with a peer until you’ve teased out all the precise questions and found the correct answers. Don’t make a call until you’re confident you can answer any question asked of you.

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Also, do research on the person you’re calling. Know the basics: name, position, company. Take another step and find a way to connect with your prospect. Do you share any personal or professional connections? Maybe you’re part of the same alumni group or support the same charity. If you’ve found a common ground use it as a way to build a connection. Treat every lead like an ideal lead.

3. Plan an agenda

Being organized about what you hope to accomplish on the call – information you hope to share and questions you’d like to ask – takes careful planning. Before you begin any sales call, create an agenda of the most important questions and statements you’d like to address.

Agendas are important, not only because they help you remember what you need to say, but also because they help keep the call on track. If you’re connecting well, it’s easy for a conversation to veer in a different direction.

4. Stay positive

Always stay positive during the conversation. It doesn’t make a difference if you’re taking the call after getting stuck in traffic, there’s no reason to bring it up. Instead, if you feel as if you must share some small talk, mention a positive statement. Try, “How’s the weather where you are? I was just in my car for a while enjoying the warm breeze.”

As William Clement Stone says, Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”

5. Articulate

If the person on the other line can’t understand what you’re saying, she isn’t going to engage with the call. Similarly, if she can hear the positivity and professionalism in your voice, she’ll pay closee attention to your pitch. Say your words clearly and use some inflection in your voice.

6. Change positions

How do you make most of your phone calls? Are you sitting at your desk, resting your head in your hand? Leaning back in your seat? The easiest to master of our telephone sales tips is to change your position. If you’re usually sitting when you make your calls, stand. Walk around. Stretch your legs and your arms.

7. Be prepared to leave a voicemail

When you’re making sales calls, especially cold calls, you get psyched up to speak to something. You plan your pitch carefully, and you’re ready to deliver. A voicemail derails your plans. There’s a limited time to introduce yourself and your services and do so in a manner that interests your leads to call you back. Plan out your best approach to leaving messages, and trust in your speaking ability.

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Do you have any telephone sales tips to add to our list? If so, let us know in the comments!