Things may be going digital, but phone sales still hold an important place in ad sales. In fact, B2B sales calls are actually on the rise – up from 77 billion calls in 2014 to at least 162 billion in 2019.
Almost nothing beats the personal connection in making contact over the phone – provided you do it well. Here are a few tips to put on you on the right path.
#1: Start with an Agenda
Potential advertisers already know you have an agenda when you call – you’re making a call to solicit ads, after all. If it’s a cold call, outline a handful of things you’d like to cover and confirm that that’s alright with them. For followup calls and hot leads, make it clear you’ve prepared for the call by going over a brief agenda. As with most things in ad sales, confidence is key here.
#2: Ask the Right Questions
While a good sales call involves a concise pitch that gets your offer out there in under 30 seconds, the next stage is to listen. Choose a handful of questions that will help you get to know the potential advertiser and will make them feel listened to and cared about. It shouldn’t be a question you already know the answer to just to show some fake enthusiasm. Be curious.
#3: Adapt the Script
Pure cold calling is a thing of the past. With professional networks, online branding, and CRM information more accessible than ever, do your homework ahead of a call. If possible, comment on a recent business development that involves your lead and how advertising makes sense given that expansion or shift. If that’s not possible, at least direct things towards their audience.
#4: Use Your Words Carefully
If marketers hate anything, it’s a buzzword. Leverage, align, leading… you know them as well as anyone else. Avoid these at all costs, replacing them with language that speaks to their market and products. How can you help them solve a problem or increase their exposure. If it’s about local reach, focus in on that. If it’s about demographics, speak to how your ad space will bring the heat.
#5: Simplify Their Options
“Too many options can easily confuse buyers, making it harder for them to select, rationalize, and affirm a purchase decision,” writes Max Altschuler at Hubspot. “Unless you are a data analytics engine, information overload rarely delivers a benefit.” This is when you ask if a lead would like to proceed, if you can send a followup email, schedule a followup call, send over more information … you get the idea. Focus on a clear-cut and simple next step as your ask.
#6: Be Ready with Answers
If you make it past the first couple of minutes and things are going well, you’re likely to receive some questions about next steps. The worst thing you can do is delay the answers to these questions – so anticipate and prepare! Know your pricing, timelines, options, and more.
#7: Always Follow Up
Phone sales shouldn’t be the only trick up your sleeve. Be ready to follow up with an email or reach out to your professional network. You can always follow up with another call, putting the rest of these tips into practice.