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How To Insert Conference Calls Into The Sales Process

KurtKurt

how to insert conference calls into the sales processSales industry leaders tell us that conference calls are getting more and more important in their process.

Most big companies now have offices in multiple cities or countries. When decision makers at these firms want to include colleagues from other offices, they prefer a call to a face-to-face meeting, says Dr. Jim Anderson, of Blue Elephant Consulting.

“A phone is going to have to be used anyway,” says Dr. Anderson, “so why not just use the phone to connect with everyone and not worry about the hassle of having to set up an appointment at the office?”

“Rather than thinking of conference calls as a ‘poor man’s meeting’ I think of them as a richer way of engaging a prospect than simply using a one-to-one phone call,” says Mike Weston, co-founder of Radiate B2B. “In these times when buying teams are typically quite broad, conference calls are an excellent way to build consensus across the prospect’s organization.”

We asked sales leaders to tell us how they use conference calls to get more sales.

When Do Conference Calls Make The Most Sense?

The experts we polled agreed that conference calls could happen at any time—but are most effective early in the sales process.

A conference call can be a good way to have an initial discussion with multiple members of the customer’s team. What you want to find out during the call is who might be interested in the product or service that you are selling. This will be the person that you’ll want to follow up with (and have) a face-to-face meeting.

Dr. Jim Anderson, CIO Advisor & Founder, Blue Elephant Consulting

If you have technical resources, the technical conversation must be early in the sales process to ensure trust and knowledge is developed.

Ken Thoreson, President, Acumen Management Group

Figure out early who will be involved in making the decision and the best way to involve all of them

It’s almost always best to involve multiple buying influencers from the beginning. Figure out early who will be involved in making the decision and the best way to involve all of them.

Alice Heiman, Founder & Chief Sales Officer, Alice Heiman, LLC

I have always instructed my salespeople to not lose the demo because you can’t get together. Get the online demo.

David Radin, CEO & Co-creator, Confirmed Instant Scheduler

Do Certain Types Of Prospects Prefer Conference Calls?

You might prefer an in-person meeting, but not every sales prospect does. Often it comes down to one factor—time.

Fast-moving companies where buying decisions tend to be digital will respond better to calls. If you are selling innovation and something that requires a lot of education and trust building, in-person may be better than conference calls.

Jordan Wan, Founder & CEO, CloserIQ

It is a lot easier to get diaries aligned for a conference call sometimes than for face-to-face meetings. They can be much more time-efficient.

Mike Weston, Co-founder and Joint MD, Radiate B2B

I have always instructed by sales people to not lose the demo because you can't meet the prospect in person

Sometimes people are skittish about meeting in person if they have never met you before. Sometimes it’s just easier to get someone on the telephone or on a web meeting than it is to get a commitment for face-to-face.

Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group

Of the 4 personality styles, Directors/Drivers and Analyticals often prefer shorter, agenda-driven phone calls, as they are driven by “tasks,” vs. those individuals that prefer relationships.

Ken Thoreson, President, Acumen Management Group

What Sales Objections Are Best to Handle Via Conference Call?

When sales objections arise, conference calls allow you to meet them with your entire team, rather than facing the objection yourself. Which objections are best overcome on a call?

The kind that have to be addressed quickly. It can take a while to organize face to face, especially if you have to travel. Keeping things moving in the sales cycle is critical. Slowdowns can kill your opportunity.

Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group

A conference call allows me to include my product experts and other knowledgeable sales team members. This way when a customer makes an objection, we can address it right then and there and make sure that they get the information that they need to resolve their issue.

Dr. Jim Anderson, CIO Advisor & Founder, Blue Elephant Consulting

Calls are a great way to focus sales conversations on the content, rather than visuals or presentations

Calls are a great way to focus a sales conversation on the content rather than visuals or presentations. Oftentimes in sales, we can actually overwhelm or distract a prospect when conducting a demo or putting something visual in front of them.

Jordan Wan, Founder & CEO, CloserIQ

Salespeople can manage objections via a conference call effectively because their sales manager can assist them—as well as manage their options.

Ken Thoreson, President, Acumen Management Group

How Do You Strengthen Personal Connections On Phone Calls?

Making a personal connection over the phone isn’t a mission impossible. Our experts have some tips to help you do it.

Add personality! People can be so stiff and formal on calls. Don’t go too far too fast, though. Be authentic and find areas of similarity. Doing this will help you build rapport.

Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group

Put yourself in the shoes of the person that you are talking to. What day of the week is it? Is there anything special going on? By doing this you will have the material that you need to have a non-work-related conversation with the person that you are talking to, no matter if they are the client or just a gatekeeper. Connecting with them like this will make everything else easier.

Dr. Jim Anderson, CIO Advisor & Founder, Blue Elephant Consulting

I know it sounds simple, but a smile can be "heard" over the phone

Try spending some time getting to know prospects before the call so you can find some commonalities. It can also be effective to share some personal stories or anecdotes when building rapport (but keep it professional of course!).

Jordan Wan, Founder & CEO, CloserIQ

My first suggestion for those making sales calls by phone is to smile. I know it sounds simple, but a smile can be “heard” over the phone. Keep your attitude positive and upbeat. You might be the only positive person your clients hear from today.

Tom Hopkins, Founder & Chairman, Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

I always do my homework before picking up the phone, whether it’s my first call or anywhere in the sales process. Social media makes it easy. If I am not doing a video call, I like to look at a picture of the person if one is available on the internet. I determine before I pick up the phone what I will do to build rapport based on what I have found on the internet.

Alice Heiman, Founder & Chief Sales Officer, Alice Heiman, LLC

Don’t ignore any of the participants in a conference call. The person who slips quietly into anonymity could kill your chances to close a sale!

Mike Weston, Co-founder and Joint MD, Radiate B2B

And One Final Tip…

All these tactics will help you make a personal connection with your prospect. But you need to make the phone connection too.

Check out the technology on your end and on the customer’s end in advance. I don’t know how many times a conversation has been delayed, just because someone hasn’t downloaded the right software.

David Brock, President & CEO, Partners In EXCELLENCE

Make every meeting more personable. Start your 14-day trial today. Try for free.

Kurt Birkenhagen heads up sales and marketing efforts for conferencing and collaboration company - Vast Conference. As an enthusiastic client advocate, Kurt is focused on design and product development working to deliver useful new features to our conferencing services.

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