Real Clients, Real Answers: Face Phone Fear to Connect & Close

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Two weeks ago, I talked with a recent program attendee in the technology field, providing amazing solutions to IT customers. He manages a team of people who must get on the phone to close sales. During our exploratory call he said, “I’ve got an issue with some of the team having phone fear. Can you help?”

Yes I can!

See yourself as an educator of options and a carrier of solutions!

I believe if someone is reluctant to pick up the phone to make a sales call it is because they feel like the customer is doing THEM the favor when buying. Now, that may be because they worry about being a stereotypical “pushy salesperson” or maybe they aren’t confident in the words they need to sell.

If my business depends on reliable internet and there are so many choices I’m paralyzed with indecision, then your salesperson educating me is a welcomed call, not an annoyance. If he or she can deliver a solution to my problems I’m thrilled not bothered.

Change the mental process to believe you are doing the CUSTOMER the favor by calling. That drastically reduces the fear in dialing.

Know your product and your buyer, then marry the two.

The magic to sales is the balance between superior knowledge of the industry and the products while also doing your homework to understand the buyer’s needs. For example, I am solo-preneur and it wouldn’t take more than five minutes on my website to know that I do not run a curbside, brick-and-mortar business with hundreds of staff on board. So when a sales call comes in and the first question they ask shows that they don’t know a thing about me, there is no connection. THAT is truly cold calling and would take a lot to convert into a sale.

However, with this client’s team, they are building relationships. So more homework before dialing and knowing the best words to use for that specific customer is going to leave the salesperson feeling prepared, thereby decreasing fear.

Know the next actionable step before hanging up!

Of course we would love to close every sale in one dial but it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, in my business, it takes an average of three contacts to close a deal. The initial reach out to discuss needs, the follow-up call to check status, answer questions, or negotiate and the third contact is either the close or the pass. (Sidebar, if a large percent of your sales calls end in a pass, something is wrong with your system of pitching, negotiating, or communicating. Maybe we will talk about that next time!)

It is important that every lead be tagged with a status in your database system and when the call ends the salesperson must be clear about the next actionable step – like…

  • send proposal
  • schedule a site-visit
  • activate the launch sequence
  • call back in 30 days

Whatever it is… get it down and literally schedule the action on your calendar. If no step is determined, the lead will drift into the abyss and likely disappears until they encounter their next pain point for which you are the solution. If you are top of mind they will call. If your competition slid in during the time you went dark, they may get the call instead.

For example: when I finished discussing training options with this manager I said, “Right after we hang up I’m going to put together a three-tiered pricing option for your consideration and email that to you by end of business day. How does that sound? He agreed, with enthusiasm.

My next action step: create the proposal and send today. Next: make a note to reach out in 10 days, which I did.

He responded with a nice note and a status update.

The next volley back is his – when he is ready to unpack the other 5 ways to face phone fear.

How about your team? Do they want to know the other 5 steps too? Let me know and I will pick up the phone and call you!

Meet Laurie Guest

Meet Laurie Guest

An entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author, Laurie Guest, CSP is a “go-to-resource” for customer service excellence. For more than two decades, she has shared her practical point of view on customer service and staff development with audiences and companies across the country, blending real-life examples and proven action steps for improvement. Her latest book, The 10¢ Decision: How Small Change Pays of Big, presents her most sought-after and impactful strategies to find and retain the best staff and highest-quality customers while delivering exceptional guest experiences.

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