Even though we have tools like Skype and Zoom, the telephone still has a big part to play in business. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make conducting business over the phone or via video conferencing more common. For some salespeople, though, not having face-to-face contact with a prospect presents a big challenge. So, here are ten tips that will help you close deals on the phone.
- Preparation is Crucial
You need to go into a closing phone call armed with the facts and figures. It is OK to ask your prospect some questions because that will help create engagement. What you do not want to be doing, though, is wasting time searching for facts or calculating prices. If you are well prepared, you will come across as being professional, and it will help you counter objections and close the deal.
- Listen as Much as You Talk
One of the challenges with closing deals on the phone is that it is difficult to gauge the prospect’s reactions. You cannot see a person’s face, and you cannot read their body language. You can, though, judge a person’s emotional response to your proposal by listening to what they say and the tone of voice they use, but only if you listen carefully to them.
- Limit the Pleasantries
While you do want to connect with your prospect and engage them, you do not want to waste the entire phone call talking about the local football team or where you went on vacation. Exchange pleasantries at the beginning of the conversation and introduce yourself to any new participants that come in on a conference call. But try to keep the initial small talk down to no more than two minutes.
- Get the Prospect Talking
No one likes to listen to a sales call monologue, so open your conversation with a question. Begin by asking the prospect to confirm where they are in the decision-making process. Once you understand where you are in the sales cycle, you will know where you need to lead the conversation next.
- Demonstrate Value Throughout the Call
Keep on pushing the value of your proposition throughout the phone call. A closing phone call is not only about negotiating a price and getting a signature; you must also reinforce why your prospect should be signing the deal. How much you push the benefits of your products will depend on where you are in the sales process. Even in the final stages of the negotiation, though, a few reminders of the benefits will keep the prospect onside.
- Counter Last-minute Objections
Be prepared to counter last-minute objections and try to avoid the need to get back to the prospect later with your answers. You will improve your chances of closing a deal on the phone if you have prepared your answers to objections before the call.
- Create a Sense of Urgency
Some people will procrastinate over a buying decision forever if you let them, and people like that can waste a lot of time. The best way to speed up the decision-making process in any type of sales negotiation is to create a sense of urgency over the deal. You can create timelines for closing a deal by using tactics like a time-limited special price, or the need for your manager to countersign the agreement before he or she goes on vacation. The crucial message to convey is that the negation cannot go on forever.
- Agree on a Price
When you are closing a deal on the phone, you cannot afford to leave any aspects of the agreement that you have made vague, and that includes the price. You should never begin a telephone negotiation without having first decided on your best offer. If you are forced to delay closing the deal for any reason, it will mean another phone call and more time for your prospect to get cold feet or find an alternative supplier.
- Restate the Agreement and Detail the Next Steps
When you close a deal on the phone, you will not be walking away with a signed order. So, both parties must be 100% clear in what has been agreed and what the next steps will be. Reiterate your understanding of the agreement, state clearly what you will do next, and explain what is expected of the prospect. The follow-up steps will usually be you sending an agreement or contract in the post, and your customer signing and returning the agreement and submitting the required payment.
- Follow-up Your Call
When you have closed the deal, and you have put the phone down, do not forget that there is still the possibility of your prospect changing their mind. Complete the follow-up actions that you agreed upon immediately, such as sending the agreement. And do not be afraid to make follow up calls to ensure that your new customer fulfills their side of the deal as well. Remember, a deal is not a done deal until you have the signed contract, and the money is in the bank!
The methods of closing a deal on the phone are much the same as they are in a face-to-face closing meeting. The main differences between the two scenarios are that it is harder to gauge a person’s reaction when you cannot see them, and you will usually have less time in a phone call. The crucial points to take away are that you must prepare for a closing a phone call, you must listen to the prospect, and you must be clear about what has been agreed.
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