Once you start getting on the phones, you need to prepare psychologically. In this post, I want to share some interesting pieces of advice for running successful sales calls that are outside the norm.
The following is an excerpt from an article by my friend Vanessa Van Edwards who runs a behavior research lab and focuses on helping salespeople navigate behavioral cues. She calls it Science of People.
1) Start with a Bang
Always start a sales call with a bang. One study tried to figure out how to increase room service tips for waiters in hotels. Much to the researchers’ surprise, all the waiters had to do was start with a positive comment. When hotel guests opened their door, waiters said “good morning” and gave a positive weather forecast for the day. Just that one simple, pleasant comment increased their tips by 27%!
How does this help you? Never start a sales meeting or pitch by talking about bad weather, traffic, or being busy. Always begin with a positive comment or anecdote. Think great weather, fun weekend plans, or a favorite sports team winning a game. That kicks the call off on the right foot.
2) Don’t Bad-Mouth the Competition
The biggest self-sabotage mistake is to speak ill of a competitor. Due to a psychological quirk called spontaneous trait transference, research has shown that whenever you say bad things about someone else, your audience puts those same traits on you. If you say your competitor is low quality and unreliable, your potential client can’t help but associate those traits with you, even if they know logically that you are talking about a third party. So no matter what, when it comes to gossip about competitors, always say “no comment.”
3) Use Awesome Labels
When you assign someone a positive label, like having high intelligence or being a good person, that actually cues them to live up to that label. In one study about fundraising, the researchers told average donors that they were in fact among the highest donors. Can you guess what happened? Those donors proceeded to donate an above average amount. We live up to our positive labels.
When you are with a client or potential customer, give them good labels (however, be sure they’re genuine — I never want you to be fake or manipulative). You can say, “You are one of our best customers” or “You’re such a pleasure to do business with.” In that way, the client will actually want to be one of your best customers and try even harder to be a pleasure to do business with.
Now here are a few more from me:
4) Set the Agenda, Stay in Control
When I get on a call that I set up from a meeting request, I always like to articulate an agenda for the call and then ask the prospect if it is okay with them. This way, we can keep the call on track and accomplish what I want to accomplish, while at the same time making them feel in control of the conversation. For example, you might say, “Well, I’m glad we’re able to connect today. I’d love to go over XYZ and then would be happy to answer any questions you might have. How does that sound to you?”
5) Stand Up
Allow your passion and excitement about the product to come through in your pitch. Make it something the prospect can be infected by. For this reason, reps should stand up and do calls in a main common space instead of hiding in a conference room. As the CEO of Mattermark Danielle Morrill calls it, “Speak loud and proud!” I myself like to pace around for all calls.
6) Use Emphasis Wisely
In addition, focus on your inflection, especially on voicemails. John Marcus, CEO of Bedrock Data, describes this as “putting makeup” on your calls. By adding inflection to the right words, you sound more passionate and articulate and, in turn, more convincing.
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new book Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High Velocity Sales Machine. It is published here with permission.