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How NOT to do a sales call

I am sat here still in shock about the call I just received. I have been a sales professional for over 10 years and understand how important it is to put yourself into the mind of the customer, think about everything from their perspective, listen attentively, provide a solution and help them meet their needs.

Today, however I experienced the complete opposite! I will put it out there; I am any ‘good’ sales person’s dream. Everyone knows that sales people are the easiest people to sell too when done correctly and I am no exception. In fact I would say it is more difficult NOT to sell to me, than it is to sell. So imagine my surprise when today I listened to what had to be the worst sales call I had ever received.

To put the call into context, this was a company who has been intermittently calling me over the last 18 months waiting for the timing to be right. Like a dream (for them) today the timing was right and he should have left with a sale. I was ready to buy, I wanted to buy, yet he didn’t sell. Where did he go wrong?

1. He built no rapport– He didn’t start the call with ‘Hi, do you remember me?’ nor did he ask me if it was a convenient time to speak. He expected me to remember who he was by the sound of his voice. He had called me a few times throughout the year, but I am very busy and have lots on my mind and therefore an opening line and some rapport building would have been fundamental to the success of this call.

Suggestion: Before picking up the phone to a client, you should always smile and stand up. This projects an air of confidence and your positivism will come across in your tone and the recipient will be more receptive to speaking to you.

2. He became angry that I didn’t remember him– When speaking to a customer, you have to put yourselves in their shoes and on a phone call your tone is crucial. He started off the call very negatively stating how confused he was that I didn’t remember who he was immediately and that he always calls and emails me and then he asked if I was just wasting his time! Did he forget he was speaking to a potential customer? His anger raised my anger, not a great place to start when looking for a sale. As with dating, a sale is all about the ‘right timing’. You need to ask questions to uncover when the best time to help the customer is.

Suggestion: He should have used the ‘feel, felt, found technique’. This is one of my favorite sales techniques and if he had started the call by empathizing with my current situation and asked a few questions to determine where I was in the sales process and then shared examples of how other customers in a similar situation to me were using his solutions, I would have felt more confident opening up and sharing information with him and more inclined to buy from him.

3. He asked me no questions- Where was the analysis of my current situation? Was I still in the market for the solution he was offering? What do I want to achieve? What are my long term goals? What was my budget? Timelines? And needs? An effective sale starts with a great discovery. He spent no time getting to know me and if he had, he would have realized that this was my perfect time and that was a cue for him to start selling his services to me.

Suggestion: As he had been calling me on and off for the last 18 months, there was great scope for him to learn something about me. If he had asked a question about a conversation we had previously had, it would have created familiarity in the call and I would have trusted him and wanted to buy from him.

4. He didn’t mention any solutions– He only referred to the email he sent me 6 months ago and expected me to remember all of their packages and offerings. If he had conducted a detailed discovery of my situation, he would have been in a better position to offer the best solution to meet my needs

Suggestion: It is your job as a sales person to recommend the best solution to meet your customer’s needs. It is not their job to remember all your solutions, you have to refresh their memory and act as a trusted strategic adviser.

As you may have gathered from this post that the whole call was centered around him getting the sale and my needs weren’t considered. If he had asked me questions, sounded upbeat and friendly and genuinely cared about what I was trying to achieve and he provided a perfect solution for me, I would have bought.

Selling is not rocket science, yet so many people get it wrong. Everyone secretly wants to buy, they just need to be convinced that the risk will pay off and they will receive a great return. Fingers crossed I receive a call now from a successful sales person with the product I am desperate to buy!