We’ve done about a bazillion sales calls☎️.
Ok, not THAT many, but probably around 1,000 sales calls in our time.
In fact, a few years ago, we challenged ourselves to have 100 sales calls in three months to rapidly improve how good we were at them.
To be honest, the first 30 SUCKED
Then the next 30+, we converted every single one of them! :O
We soon learnt that with a few basic techniques in places, sales calls are the best way to get new sales.
It’s even something that can be outsourced once you have a template script that works.
If you’re like most business owners we speak to though, you’re probably terrified of sales calls. And because of this fear, you avoid them, which in turn means you don’t get any better at them or have a plan in place for how they should go.
It’s a catch-22 and one that we want to help you figure out so that you can have as many successful sales calls as possible.
But how do you learn without doing the scary thing?
Well, yes! At some point, you will have to pick up the phone or log onto a zoom call and actually make the sales call.
But to help hype you up, we’ve rounded up a list of every single question you could ever have about sales calls to help get you prepared. These are questions we get ALL.THE.TIME from our Growth Club Members or Rebels Members.
So, let’s get into it…
RELATED BLOGS: How to have good sales conversations
1. What do you mean by sales calls?
You are sitting enjoying your life, and suddenly…a dreaded unknown number flashes up.
For a split-second, all your sense floats away from your body, and you answer it – only to be greeted by someone from a company you’ve never spoken to before trying to sell you broadband🤦.
Just to be clear – this is NOT the type of sales call we are talking about here. It’s not about cold-calling up a list of names and numbers to sell them something they’ve never shown interest in.
They are quite rightly terrifying…
What we’re talking about is calls with people who know who you are, have agreed to speak to you and are at least semi-interested in what you’ve got to offer.
2. How long should a sales call be?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the longer your sales calls are, the better and more successful they are. After all, the longer they are, the more you can talk, and the more likely you are to close the sale.
Well, not quite…
Gong analysed over 30,000 calls and found that not only are prospects more likely to turn up for shorter calls, but they also have better close rates.
Think about it…
Do you have time in your business to take an hour out of it for a call?
You’re probably furiously shaking your head (you barely have time to read this article – but keep going it’s worth it).
So, what makes you think your prospects will be any different?
Of course, it depends on the service, product, and size of the investment. If your potential customers are setting themselves up to send over £100,000, then they might need a call that’s a little longer than 20 minutes. But otherwise, research and our own experience suggest that 15 – 30 minutes is the best length of time for a sales call.
We have a 20-minute Calendly slot, with a built-in 20-minute buffer – giving some leeway if things run on.
3. How do I make sure I speak to the ‘decision maker’ on a sales call?
Have you ever ended up on a call – and sold your heart out – only for them to end it saying:
“I’ll ask my boss and get back to you”
You’ve been fooled and fallen for the classic decision-maker impersonator trick (patent pending).
A successful sales call requires that you speak to the decision maker so they can make the…decision.
Who is the decision maker?
It will vary from business to business. But it’s pretty self-explanatory, and it refers to the person who has the power to sign off on buying from you.
Some businesses have co-founders who make decisions jointly (like us!), so you’d need to get both on the call. If you’re pitching to bigger companies, then whoever you are calling might need approval from the CEO or the Finance director.
It’s a good idea to get all the decision-makers on a sales call – this is why it’s good if they’re short, as it takes up less time for everyone.
The best way to do this is to ask who needs to be on the call, like this…
We’re really looking forward to speaking with you. Is there anyone else in the company you’d feel would benefit from being on the call also?
If so, we’re more than happy to arrange a call jointly so that everyone can ask us any questions.’
This way, you’re making sure that at the end of the call, you can actually get them to buy.
Now, sometimes, you can do everything in your power to get the right people on the call, but it’s just not possible. So when someone says, ‘this sounds great, but I’ll need to talk it over with XYZ’ then don’t; whatever you do, say ‘okay!’
No, this is not the time to leave your prospect to tell sell your products and services to someone else on your behalf. If this happens, you need to arrange another call, either with all the decision makers or at least with your prospect after they have spoken with the other decision maker.
Yes, it’s a pain, but doing so will drastically increase your chances of getting the sale. But the question is, how do you do this?
Well, luckily for you, we’ve put together this handy little script to help you!
‘That’s great. When do you think you’ll be able to run that past him/her? …Wednesday?
That’s great, well what I’ll do is send you all the information recapping what we’ve talked about. There are probably going to be follow-up questions and things to discuss, so why don’t we book a quick 10min call on Thursday or Friday?
It’ll just help save us both some time going back and forth on email, does Thursday or Friday work for you?
If your boss/business partner can make that, too, they’re welcome, but it’s not necessary if you get to speak to them before. And before I go, is there anything that I could make clearer for you or anything you need to help you share this with your boss?’
Scheduling a 10-minute follow-up call once they’ve spoken with the other decision maker can make a huge difference to your sales success. It’s a simple thing, but unbelievably effective!
4. Should I use video or phone for a sales call?
“To zoom or not to zoom – that is the question.”
If Hamlet were set in 2022, we’re almost certain that Shakespeare’s immortal words would have been something along these lines (no, we haven’t actually read Hamlet – who’s asking?)
So, should you video call, or pick up the old-fashioned telephone?
The answer is the same as most things…it depends.
Did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal? The rest is communicated via non-verbal body language and facial expressions.
Ultimately it comes down to what your customers are comfortable with, and you can always offer both as options. However, you could be missing out on a lot of context clues if you only opt for phone calls instead of video.
For us, we choose video when we can. It allows our prospects to see our faces and read our body language (and vice versa). And for businesses like us that produce a lot of video content, it’s a good way to introduce yourself “face-to-face” to someone who might already feel like they know you.
5. Should I do the sales call or hire a salesperson?
We work with small and mighty businesses and encourage them to outsource business tasks to free up more time to grow their business.
But is sales one of these tasks?
If you feel the sales call fear, it might be tempting to try and outsource sales calls. And we get it. Like we said at one point, just the thought of a sale call had us ready to re-watch our comfort show (Big Bang Theory, obviously) just to get over the trauma.
But we don’t recommend outsourcing sales for small businesses straight away. Not for MOST businesses, anyway.
You know your business more than anyone, and so not only are you the most suited to help your prospects – but the most invested in ensuring the sales call and ensuing relationship is successful.
Plus, sales is a super valuable skill! It’s not just good for selling things. You’ll learn about your customers–what motivates them, what their objections are and why they buy. You’ll learn how to communicate what you offer and get better and better at positioning it each and every time. It also builds tons of confidence when you speak out about your business too. All good stuff.
If you get to the point where you really don’t have time to take sales calls because you get so good at them – then you can outsource.
But you will need to train your salespeople so your prospects are getting the same service they would from you. And you can only do this once you understand how the process works, and what the common objections are.
Basically become the master first then you can think about getting someone else to do it.
6. Should I wait until someone is on a sales call before I give them a price?
There is almost no topic that divides business owners more than displaying cost!💰
Should you let prospects know the cost before they get on a call with you, or figure it out once you’ve had a chance to talk to them and really understand what they need?
It’s certainly a controversial topic, we can practically hear the two sides battling it out through the interwebs.
On the one hand, if your prospect knows the price beforehand (or at least has an idea of the price) then they’re potentially much more likely to buy on the call as they’ve already considered the budget. And, for bigger companies, any sign-off from the finance team can happen in advance.
It also means you can avoid the dreaded ‘what’s the cost?’ conversation. Anyone you’re speaking to already has an indication and knows they have the budget for it.
On the other hand, if you don’t give an indication of the price in advance, you can get across the value of the offer more in the call and convince someone who may have been on the fence or not fully understand your offer from a sales page. You can also price based on what the prospect needs.
For example, if you are a website designer then it’s likely that you are charging differently depending on how many pages it is, or how technical the design is. The price “depends”, and not everyone is getting the same.
What is the verdict from us?
There’s no right or wrong answer and largely it depends on how in demand you are and whether you need to cut down on sales call time or increase.
For us, we usually don’t give away the price for high-ticket items until we have someone on a sales call. This gives us a chance to qualify prospects, and, most importantly, allows us a chance to explain the value of the service we offer.
By really getting to know people before giving the price, we can help them understand the specific value they will be getting…rather than giving a generic answer. Plus, we can handle any objections in real-time.
This approach has been really successful for us because it’s all focused on the individual customer and the value, rather than the price.
It’s one that is for you to decide, but that’s how we do it.
If you decide to display your prices then obviously you are relying on a quality sales page and reputation.
7. Should I share my calendar link for a call, or is that rude?
The issue of sending Calendly links seems to be so contentious that there are multiple Twitter debates over it.
So, much so, that Calendly even has its own blog post about it, and how to send a calendar link correctly.
We were pretty surprised when we first saw this debate kicking off as on our side it’s a no-brainer.
But is it rude to share your calendar link when you want a call with someone?
The crux of this seems to be that it’s rude to get someone else to “fit into your diary”. It’s seemingly a metaphorical badge that screams “I’m more important than you, work around me”.
And unsolicited…maybe! The naysayers have a point. If a random calendar link landed in your inbox, it might seem a little self-important.
But we’re talking about setting up a sales call here – they are waiting to hear from you.
And if the alternative is back-and-forth emails or calls til you both find a time that suits your diary, isn’t it better to just show people your availability upfront via a link?
Let’s face it we’re all busy, and personally, if we’re jumping on a call with someone (whether we are buying or selling), we’d rather availability be obvious.
How we get around that is simply asking for the call first, then when they say yes, just replying with:
‘Great, here’s our Calendly link to book in a call. If no times suit, feel free to fire over alternate availability.’
This is polite and offers the best of both worlds, if it’s easier they will book in our diary and if not, they can send us theirs without being rude!
By the way, having random calls throughout your day is bad for focus, so it’s always best to make people fit into your designated time slots for calls.
8. How much time do I need to research the prospect before the call?
Worried about not knowing your prospect and their business inside out?
Remember! Part of the call is gathering information on your prospect and really getting to know them so that you can provide the product/service that suits them.
You aren’t expected to know everything BEFORE you speak to people on a sales call. And even if you dedicate hours researching it’s not always easy to find out the information you really need – you’re getting the customer-facing information, and you need to see behind the scenes.
But it’s always a good idea to check out their website, and social media profiles and write anything you spot that might be useful to bring up.
Have a basic understanding of their business, so it looks like you’ve made an effort to learn about them – the call will do the rest. If you run out of time, don’t worry about it at all. We almost never prep that much.
9. How do I know if the lead is warm/cold/hot? And how do you approach these differently?
George R.R. Martin has a Song of Ice and Fire, and we have leads from ice-y cold to fire-y hot (which is almost as catchy a title).
Cold leads are people who don’t really know about you, your brand or the service you offer. Whereas hot leads will be very familiar with you, and how you can help them. They will likely have reached out to you.
In the context of business, moving from cold to hot, this might look a little something like this:
Reaching out to a specific person who isn’t aware of you (cold) 🧊
Reaching out to specific people in your audience (i.e email list) to book a call (warm)
Someone being recommended to you (warm)
Someone requesting a call about your specific service (hot) 🔥
We’d love every sales call to be piping HOT🔥as they will need very little persuading. They probably already know a lot about working with you and are actively interested.
But the reality is that’s not going to be the case for every call – especially in the early days. A lot of leads will be cold, or at the very best warm.
Luckily, the process for dealing with these leads is pretty similar, and we’ll share more on that structure in the next section. With colder leads, you might need to be prepared to sell a little harder – but ultimately you need to take all leads through the same journey for the best chance of closing. The last thing you want to do is lose a hot lead because of a shoddy sales call.
10. How do you structure a sales call?
Remember we said we gave ourselves a challenge of 100 sales calls…
Well while the first 30 or so sucked – the next 30+ went pretty amazing, and from them, we developed a set of four magic questions.
These questions don’t grant three wishes like a genie, just the one…SALES.
We find that asking these questions pretty much converts every sales call, and since then, we’ve used them in hundreds of successful sales calls.
You can steal these questions, and they’ll help you form a solid sales call structure.
Magic question 1: So tell me a little bit about where you’re at right now and where you’d like to get to
This one is all about trying to discover their current situation and what their goals look like. This helps you understand their existing pain points, setting the stage for how you could solve these (but don’t give them yet – this part is about them).
Magic question 2: what do you think is holding you back from getting there?
Now it’s time to get to the root of the real problem, and the obstacles that are tripping them up. This is the time for follow-up questions and deep dives – allowing you to empathise with them and really understand what they are struggling with.
Magic question 3: So, if I could sort that out for you, what would that mean to you?
It’s time to flip the emotional switch and tap into how you could really help them, and what that would mean – not just for their business but their life.
It’s at this point the real breakthrough often happens, as you see them realise what overcoming stressful obstacles could actually mean for them.
Magic question 4: Would you like to tell me a little bit more about how I could help you with that?
It’s very unlikely at this point that they will say no, as you’ve spent time really listening and getting to know them. If they say yes they are giving you permission to tell them about your product or service and sell to them. So you can feel confident about showing them how you can help.
You might find that you have to tweak these magic questions a little based on your product or service, but they can be easily adapted to suit.
RELATED BLOGS: How to have good sales conversations
11. How do you ask for the sale?
So many people just let the conversation peter out or keep on chatting and dancing around the topic–talking about the weather or your cat.
And then the conversation turns to that awkward moment.
Your heart rate quickens and you know you really want to get this sale, but you HATE saying the price.
You worry they will laugh or say no. Or, in that moment, even though you know your worth and value you start to question everything! Am I too expensive? Are they going to go elsewhere?
So instead, you bail and say you will send them a proposal
That way you don’t have to stare into their eyes as they say no and crush your soul.
Ever been there?
We get it. But you can’t bail in that moment, that’s only going to incredibly frustrate your prospect who now has to wait even longer for a price. Plus, you’re going to have to spend time putting together a proposal!
So here’s a tried and tested sales script that you can follow that will make saying the price and getting the sale so much easier.
YOUR SALES CALL SCRIPT FOR CLOSING THE SALE!
‘So, to quickly recap, I know that’s a lot to take in…that’s [recap of all the features]. Everything you need to [achieve their desired outcome].
Can you see how this would help you to achieve your goals and get you to where you want to be?
(They say yes, and potentially ask questions at this point.)
Ok well, obviously I need to tell you the investment but firstly does this sound like something you want to have/join?
Ok, woohoo awesome, so would you like to know the investment?
So the X Package is £X.
It is a one-off/monthly/annual investment. It covers everything that I have talked through and will help you to achieve what we discussed. Based on what we have spoken about today, I can see how this would really help you.
— At this point be silent until they speak. This may feel uncomfortable. OR, optionally, go straight into this next sentence without a pause for their reaction… —
Also if you book in today, we can get started straight away AND I also have what I call a fast action bonus that I can offer you if you say yes on this call…
How that works is basically, if you are able to sign up now on this call, I can give you £xxx off.
So rather than £x, that would be £x today for [desired outcome].
We can then get started straight away and get the first call booked in. I can also send you the necessary forms to fill out ahead of the initial call.
How does that sound?
(They say yes or have more questions/objections.)
If your prospect does have questions, come up with a list of potential objections and how to handle them in advance, that way you can handle them quickly. This article on objection handling will help you.
12. How much value do you need to give on the call?
Have you ever gone on a sales call and felt so awkward, with a need to prove yourself and ended up accidentally giving away a free one-hour coaching call?
You come off and realise you have given half of the ideas and strategies that other clients are paying you for🤦
Don’t do this!
Your sales call is to figure out what problems they are facing, and how you can help them. Yes, you need to help show your value, but this doesn’t include free coaching calls and “power hours” – as tempting as it may be.
You should empathise, listen and tell them they are not alone. You can tell them there are ways around the problems they are presenting and that you’ve worked with other people facing the same challenges…but don’t start giving advice.
If they keep pushing it’s time to get them signed up to work with you – that’s where you will deliver your real value not just tell them about it.
Need more help bossing your sales calls?
Sales calls are scary!
And while the best way to get better at them is to practise, we want to send you into them armed with as much knowledge as you can. As you become more comfortable and hear more objections your sales calls will naturally improve – and so will your closing rates.
And hopefully, all these questions have ensured that while your first might not be perfect it also won’t be completely disastrous. But, remember, practice makes perfect and any failures will only help inform future, successful sales calls.
If you want to get more sales quicker, then you MUST attend ATOMICON. It’s the UK’s largest sales and marketing event for small business owners and selling is going to be THE hottest topic.