Sales call best practice is a tough one.
Buyers have changed.
Expectations around the buyer-seller relationship has changed.
The cost of getting in front of a buyer has gone through the roof in most cases.
Ghosting is now a thing!
Sales, and the art of selling, has evolved. No more walking brochures, we have website now.
Customer service team and receptions – waiting to take calls – going and replaced by the FAQ section on the website.
Want to talk to a live person – how about you speak with a chat bot first?
A buyer now has both more choice and less engagement with potential suppliers that he’s ever had….
And, that’s not good for the sales person.
Sales opportunities are rare….
So, shouldn’t you make the most of each and every opportunity?
The very essence of being a great sales person is that you know how to interact with decision makers…at all levels and with many agendas.
As a natural sales person you:
- Build rapport easily
- Confident in your ability to challenge current thinking
- Respectfully engage, yet robust in your points
- Value being able to present proof / data to build your position and credibility
- Influence and persuade at the highest level
In short – you’re comfortable and happy in your role of engaging with senior buyers to open their mind to new ideas.
And none of those skills come via any tick sheet.
You’re a natural.
So, just consider this as a gentle reminder, or if you’re new to sales, an insight into your buyers thinking.
Sales call best practice is something great sales people understand intuitively, but it can still be developed.
So, here goes…
17 Things Your Buyer Wish You Knew About Sales Call Best Practice
1. Your buyer doesn’t hate all sales people.
Just the ones who waste his time on pleasantries and stupid questions. The buyer is busier than a very busy person. He needs you to respect that, and tailor your approach accordingly.
So when he does spend time with you, get to your value laden points quickly.
Sales call best practice relies on you having a foundation, knowing what good sales call and a bad sales call looks like, and being able to switch when things don’t go to plan.
Some of the key elements of that it your mind set, your energy and your level of motivation.
If you think your buyers hate you, and that’s the reason they’re pushing you for discounts or not returning your calls, then get some time with a sales coach, your mentor or your boss and talk this out. You can start here – Sales Coaching Special Offer
Buyers don’t hate sales people, good buyers know that a good sales person will help then do their job better.
2. Price isn’t the only objection, he’s interested in reducing risk too
Some sales people start off on the back foot when the conversations turns to price.
Primarily because they don’t believe their own sales pitch, and can’t really see the value in buying what they sell!
So, the minute price is mentioned the sales person gets defensive, panics, visibly wilts or starts to crumble.
So, what does this make the buyer do? It makes him question what you’re trying to hide, why you’ve suddently gone all earnest and therefore what he’s missed.
In short – the buyer smells a rat!!
In reality a buyer is as concerned about value and risk as much as he is concerned about price.
Don’t be the sales guy that gets defensive, focuses on price, panics, discounts, then stalkers the buyer.
Buyer’s don’t like that.
Instead, have some pride in your price.
Never give a price until you’ve been able to demonstrate value.
Relate any price you do give, directly back to the
- Value the buyer will get
- Risk it will remove
- Problem your solution will solve.
For a buyer, price is just one of the jigsaw pieces, don’t be the sales guy who makes the buyer think you have something to hide by making it the only jigsaw piece.
If you can’t be proud of your price, your value and your solution…why are you still working here?
Find out more about how buyers look at Price, Risk and Value here
3. He does hate know-it-all jack asses
You know the type, the sale person who infers the buyer has only ever made poor decisions, and the buyer should thank his lucky stars that he’s now speaking with an expert.
You recognise the type?
Buyers hate those guys!
So, to avoid this, next time you’re trying to engage the buyer remember that prescription before diagnosis is malpractice, (we cover this in the Sales Improvement Workshop) so instead of questioning the buyer’s judgement, how about you ask a few questions so you understand his decision making process, his buying process, and his reasons.
Might be a great start, before you start pitching in with your ‘saving the world’ solution.
There is no quicker way to identify yourself to the buyer as a fool than to go down this talking route, before yo’ve done the asking and listening bit!
If you’re still doing this, then it seems in this case any sales call best practice methodology has totally passed you by.
Closely tied to this is; Listen and Get Curious, which we’ll deal with later
4. He wants a peer to peer exchange with you, not a sales pitch.
If you have a lock, load, release type sales pitch when you meet the buyer that’s a disaster. And you’re begging for a fast decision
Which is very likely to be NO!
So, instead of blowing the deal before it starts, how about asking some big open questions?
Or maybe giving your buyer a 30 second run down of why you thing he needs to speak with you.
Maybe you’d gain some brownie points by telling the buyer this might not be for him, but you wanted to give him the opportunity to make an informed decision, rather than make an assumption?
5. Buyers first question is not ‘how good is this product and how much does it cost’
Sales people often think this is a buyers first concern, actually it’s not.
Well not all ways anyway.
Quite often the buyer is wondering if the sales guy can be trusted.
If the sales rep is credible, if he knows what he’s talking about and if, in the event of their being a problem, the buyer can on the sales guy to work it out.
Secondary to that the buyer might be wondering if the sales person would be a good person to know, if he’s experienced, and if he’s not just shifting orders but interesting in delivering value.
So, let’s put it this way, your product, service is often not as important as the credibility of the person selling it!
6. Buyers will suss out your competitors
They’d be mugs if they didn’t.
So they will see who else is claiming to do what you do.
That’s a given.
So next time, why not help your buyer and tell him who you share some of your competitive space with.
Note, I didn’t say who your competitors are, because, if you are genuinely offering the value you should be, then you won’t have competitors (read that last line again)
If you’re doing a good job, you won’t have competitors, BUT you’ll have ‘wannabee you’ shadows, the aspirational crowd who haven’t quite reached your level of excellence.
So, point your buyer in their direction and give him a summary of their strengths and weaknesses, prompt him regarding what questions he might want to ask them.
You can do this because YOU know YOU will win!
And it shows your buyer you have nothing to hide.
And, by the way, if you’re scared to do this, you need to talk to me about our Sales Innovation and Disruption Sessions
7. Your buyer does hate it when you don’t do your research.
If you want to let him know you think his business is low level and not worth your effort or your time then try this.
Engage with the buyer without having done any research on his business, his sector, the market conditions, his competitors, and then see how far the conversation goes.
So, don’t be the random cold calling sales person, just getting high talk time and dials in, spend some time thinking about how you’re going to net the great prospects by working smarter.
8. He wants a win-win.
Most buyers aren’t out to fleece you. They want a fair deal. For the both of you.
So, the quicker the you show him where the win is, the quicker he’s on board.
So, be ready with the sales ROI outline, case studies, testimonials, references and social proof.
9. Most buyers don’t make buying decisions in isolation
That means when he says he needs to talk to his team, that’s exactly what he’s going to do.
Does that mean you have to fall for that old sales fob off – ‘I need to talk to my team?
Of course not.
Instead understand that whilst he may have the final say, he probably will need to check in with the implementation guys, the users, the compliance team, the IT guys…all depending on what you’re selling.
So next time, when you’re talking with the buyer, how about you find out who else is in the decision making process and make friends with these guys too?
It’s a really good use of your selling time!
Spend some time talking to them to understand what their needs are, what their thinking is and what buying criteria they will use to decide if you’re in or out.
Sales call best practice means you don’t get caught out when the buyer goes to his influencers and users and finds out they’ve already decided what solution they want…and it isn’t yours.
Do your back up work early on.
Cover your bases and find out who holds the power, the veto, the budget and the pain!
10. Buyers expect you to profile them.
That means they expect you to ask if they are the decision maker, if they have the budget to make the purchase, if they have the authority to say yes and if a time table has been agreed.
They expect you to ask them these questions, because they know this is your job.
A serious buyer won’t mind you asking. Check this page out for how to structure a great sales discovery call – Great Sales Questions
You should also know that if you don’t ask these questions, then your serious buyer might not take you so seriously.
So, don’t be afraid to use BANT
If you’re dealing with professional buyers (in line with sales call best practice) then this is business as usual.
11. It’s ok to set an agenda of expectations for every stage in the sales process.
in fact, if your sales calls are seemingly a tad random, then you might want to revisit your sales call best practice.
Plus – a great sales agenda at the start of a sales call will run a sales call for you so you hit the points you need to hit and the buyer is complicit in helping you get there!
You’ll be surprised how useful a good upfront sales agenda is at every stage of the sales process. Your carefully constructed sales agenda becomes a sales process you and your buyer create together – and stick to!
Your buyer knows that it’s you job to keep the sale on track, so he’s ok with you calling up for a very specific reason, he knows you’re not calling up to touch base or to shoot the breeze.
So, when you ask him for a date to call back on a critical decision, he’s ok with you referencing that on your next contact.
This is a win win remember. So if you’re doing your job and keeping the sales process on track then that’s one less thing for the buyer to worry about.
12. The buyer doesn’t mind sharing his buying criteria with you, or his decision making process.
But he does expect you to ask.
He’s not always going to volunteer.
The buyer knows once he’s shared that information with you, you both have a common road map, and you’ve both established trust….see the point above
So ask, because him volunteering is unlikely.
He wants you to earn your commission after all…and if you don’t ask, then you can expect other sales people will.
And you’ll miss out. After all – knowledge is power!
13. The buyer is not interested in features…
He is interested in benefits.
No-one wants to wear glasses, they want great eyesight!
No-one want’s a washing machine – they want clean close fast, lower energy bills and to smell nice!
You can make this part of the sales process really tough for your buyer or super simple. And it’s easy to get this bit wrong unless your sales process is crystal clear – we cover this in the Sales Improvement Workshop but here’s a quick snap shot
Don’t forget your buyer will probably have to go and sell your product/service to another team of buyers internally.
Make it easy for him to convince them.
You can do this by discovering during your sales qualification process some very specific pieces if sales information:
Find out – for each of the people involved in the buying process – what their specific pain or challenge is.
Then – during all of your ongoing conversation – speak only about how your product or service helps remove or lessen their current pains and callenges.
Nothing else is important, relevant or potent enough to help you get the sales – and this is why a sales qualification and good sales discovery session is sooooo important.
So, brief example: you’re trying to sell CRM solution:
The FD’s perspective is to cut down costly ongoing consultany
The users perspective is to cut down on costly admin tasks that stop them selling
The Managers perspective is they want great reporting at the click of a button
The IT guys want something they can integrate really easily with all their other tech
The CEO wants to reduce costs wherever they can
The ESG Head wants to know all about energy consumption, your ethical position and carbon footprint
That’s 6 sales / selling agendas – so now you can see why you haven’t got time, bandwidth or opportunity to shoe-horn in the fact that your system also turns red, white and blue on special holidays!
Give your buyer all the REAL sparkly ammo he needs to get a rousing standing ovation because he found such a great supplier….THAT MEETS EVERYONE’S NEEDS!
14. Your buyer expects you to be direct.
Want to know something – ask.
Need to share something – share.
No-one has enough time for you to waste.
Cut to the chase and don’t apologise.
Give context where you need to BUT understand, buyers are bright. They know where you’re heading – well they will if your sales process is logical!
15. Your buyer expects you to make him look like a super star!
This has to be the cornerstone of all sales call best practice.
You really need no explanation for this on…but if you do, then here it is.
Your job is not to put the buyer in a position where he has to apologies for you.
Where he has to justify your actions. Or explain why and how you’ve let the business down.
Your buyer’s brand value, his personal stock value, should increase as a result of him bringing you to the table.
16. Sometimes your buyer just expects you to just shut up and listen.
After all, you’ve asked all those great questions. So listen.
Plus, it’s the ultimate respect you can pay your buyer for extending to you the opportunity to talk/meet.
He’s sharing with you because he hopes to get some value back.
So listening is a must.
Trust me, a buyer who doesn’t feel listened to, won’t be sold to.
You can’t listen yourself out of a sales…but I’ve seen lots of people talk themselves out of a sales order,
Don’t be that sales guy.
17. Your buyer will give you all the information your need to close him – Curiosity will get you further than you think.
I’ve seen sales people with very little training close huge deals. I’ve seen very experienced sales people fall at the final sales hurdle. Sales people go through peaks and troughs, losing deals they should have won, and then being unexpectedly been give a gift of a sales order.
Life is like that as a sales person.
So, when you find am element of sales call best practice that is an absolute. A classic cornerstone of your trade.
Curiosity is never misplaced.
It never goes out of fashion, just like listening, no one ever lost a deal because they were too curious.
Too jaded, already got the answers, I’ve heard it all before….get rid of this mind set if you’re serious about being a high performance sales professional.
Your buyer has all the information you need. It’s all inside his head.
All you have to do is to get him to share it with you.
Get curious about everything.
Summary: Sales Call Best Practice
Your buyer is not your enemy during the sales process, he is your closest ally and you are his.
It’s a sales win-win.
Or it’s a no deal.
Remembering best call sales practice might help you decide what to do and how to behave with your next sales prospect.
Good sales prospects are rarely in infinite supply, so even if they aren’t going to do business with you now…fostering good will, a professional demeanour and a detailed qualifying process will serve you well when the time is right to do business
Reviewing your personal sales call best practice is a critical skill. if you need help – check out our Sales Coaching offer
It takes honesty and self awareness to be able to reflect and in doing so change your patter.
But it’s worth it.
Being able to do this will help you understand where you’re viewing yourself in relation to your buyer, and just remember, you are never any higher or any lower than your buyer, you’re in this together.
Plus, sales call best practice allows you to revisit the very basics occasionally, perhaps where your not getting the results you want, a key sale is stuck or you’re repelling more buyers than your attracting
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And if you’re unsure how to fully release all that sales potential that’s wrapped up in your sales team, but don’t know where to start, then talk to us about our Sales Insight Audit
Sales call best practice is one of the most important foundations of good sales efforts, dictating how you present yourself, how you interact with your prospects and how your brand is perceived by your target sector.
If you’ve identified any of these issues within your sales team – check out our easy to download sales training packages – you can find details here – How to Win at Sales – Download B2B Sales Training Modules – Pay As You Go
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