Hey, sales people (and sales managers) below are just a few tips and suggestions  

Telephone sales - outbound calls

The dont's, the do nots..

Deliberately avoid announcing your name or the company your are calling from, that only implies a scam and distrust 

Make the calls with an "I hate this job attitude" . Move on, face it, this job is not for you.

Speak too slow, we don't have the time to let you finish your pitch if we feel you are going to take forever, or sound totally bored by it  yourself. 

Be too surprised when someone answers your call, it shows.

Don’t speak too fast - we understand you have a script you need to read and not falter, you don't let us answer or cut you off so you are fully heard. Why dont you drill this a bit more, listen to yourself. What would you do if someone blurted out a few sentences and not let you speak? Listen to the caller, better to know how to handle their objections. 

Don’t ever hang up on your client, nothing worse than the caller hanging up one abruptly. For no reason, it makes it worse for the next telephone sales person. 

Don’t be desperate to get a sale, listen. listen. listen. Qualify your client, find out why they are saying 'not interested'. It may just mean they actually don't need or want what you are selling. Learn the qualifying questions to make your job easier.

Don’t be rude. Ever. Even if they are to you. Be bigger, step up. It is a PR world. Politeness pays. Even for your own sanity.

Don’t call lists - politely discontinue the pitch if the client is already upset that you have called, after they have announced that they are on the Do Not Call list.  

Don’t always be closing - always be closing is good face to face, BUT on the phone - it's high pressure. Listen, answer any questions put to you truthfully. Never ever lie in sales. Best to say nothing at all or move the conversation in a different direction.

Don’t be scared to close - ask that question, huh? What question you ask? Know your closing techniques, if you don't know them and your sales trainer or manager has not taught you, buy a book and learn them. Do not miss the perfect 'closing' question opportunity.

Know all the closing techniques cold, select 3 that suit your job, product or service and the client. 

Remember, you dont know what they are doing when they answered, who they are and if they have the time to talk to you. Sure, they may lie to get rid of you, if they sound sincere, ask what is a good time to call them back, offer to email them info, you are also qualifying.  If they respond, always follow up as promised. 



For the recipient of cold calls, suggestions only...

Never supply your log in details for your: banking or any billing accounts or supply your email address at all. Ever. 

If they offer to email you and ask for your emaila address,  don’t be fooled, you are setting yourself up for bucket loads of spam

Discontinue that conversation politely:

  • if they ask for someone who has passed on (old lists)
  • if they ask for your physical address ( only for deliveries you are expecting)
  • if they ask if you are married, single, widowed etc. Trust no one.
  • If they ask if you have a mortgage, own your home or are renting
  • If they ask for you income bracket
  • if you cannot understand their heavy accent.

Attn: in house outbound telephone sales staff. Clean your call list/database on each call you make. Check, confirm, update and delete. Or hire a professional database cleaning company if you can afford it. The huge utility companies pay professionals. 

                                  You client call list and your client database is pure gold, it has value.

Door knocking to get leads and sales.

Good old fashioned door knocking business is completely dead. No longer can you walk in and pitch. I miss the 80's. 

Doorknocking private homes is almost dead. Society has enforced privacy laws. Socail customs have changed, personal privacy is a huge issue.

Real estate agents still door knock, they are still surprised when I open my front door. Always polite, nice to see.

Charities who announce, 'I am not asking you for money or to buy something'. Really? Who wrote that sales script? 

The techniques: do's and dont's

Don't be in their face when you open the door = instant confrontation. Please step back, introduce yourself and be prepared to show your ID. False ID's are pretty good these days, ensure yours is legit.

Don't be pushy, LISTEN. No I don't vote for you political party, no I don't know about your charity to save the a rare species of butterfly, no, I cant talk write now, am on the phone, in a meeting, feeding the baby. Back off, walk away. Always be polite.

Don't ignore the 'no sales people and no door knocker' signs

No understanding: if they do not need your services or free products, free light bulbs etc. please believe them. Do not insist on going inside to see, thats just rude. Expect the door slammed in your face, you deserve it. 

FACE 2 FACE presentations

Over coming objections:

Before your appointment, make a list of objections that may come up. Rate them on importance and truth. Know your answers, know how to handle them and know your closing techniques, every client is unique. 

Find why are you getting those objections? Are you selling a brand that has no credibility, not needed in a demographic that simply cannot afford your product. Establish your geographic demographic for you and your sales teams. 

And just sometimes, the client is just not interested after hearing your pitch. They may not tell you their real reason for NO, best to politely leave your business card, info etc and walk away. Many times, their situation changes and if you were nice, polite and not an arm breaker they will call you back. People are generally sincere, you have both made the effort to meet. 

Time your pitch. Would you buy from you? Are you talking too long and not listening to them...let them speak and listen, you will learn to spot the buying signals. You will learn about their needs. 

Make your intro (elevator) pitch short, exciting and relevant. 

Speak clearly and don't rush it,  if you are still there after ten minutes, they are listening to you. 

Never overstay your welcome. Look for the signs: are they taking calls now, asking you to wait so they can handle an emergency, you be the judge. But don't hang back for that second coffee, don't push your luck. You are the sales person on the job, not their new best friend. 

When to leave? Once you have a signed order, signed contract, etc, for pity's sake leave! Experience will teach you, sometimes, just sometimes they may change their mind while you are there. 

Cancelled by the time you get back to the office?  You may have lost the deal before you left their office, they just couldn't say no to your face. Or a third party changed their mind. Or they were not the real decision makers. OR the accountant killed it, they couldnt really afford it, many things in that box!

Deal with it. Look over your pitch, find out what you did or didnt do or say to lose the sale. Learn from it. 

Don't harass them, one soft pr call may save it, but not more than one contact. 

No need: Don’t sell an 80 year old life insurance, don’t pitch to the wrong customer, stop wasting your time and annoying them. You do no one any favours. No benefit to both parties. High pressure, arm breaker sales people are almost extinct now. 

No trust.

Is it  your:

Attitude - bored, disinterested, impatient, or too eager, too desperate.

Looks - is your appearance a good fit for the product you are pitching, tattoos, dreadlocks are OK in some instances, suits may be required. Know who you are pitching to and dress one level better, impress. 

Clothes - acceptable to your customers? Is that what they expect you to wear. Too informal or too formal, think, work it out - it’s a fine line.

Hair - must be clean and tidy. The colour: be it grey, pitch black or pink it’s irrelevant just look acceptable to whom you speak.

Too much make up? Not enough make up? Depends on your industry.  

Too much perfume or strong smelling hair products. Nothing worse than a wafting smell. Especially if it arrives before you do. 

Bad breath - that’s why you carry mints in your bag, pocket or car.

The car that you pulled up in - too new, too expensive, too old? Suggestion: maybe park around the corner.

Never park in anyone's driveway unless they have told you to. Never park too close to their car so they can’t get out.

Bottom line - for sales trainers and sales manager

Train your sales people how speak, pitch and to close. They deserve it.

Commission only sales

A numbers game. Hard. Selling high end products for big commissions is usually a long process to get paid, even after the deals are signed off and delivery is in progress.

Before you start that job, know how much and when you will be paid, no matter the cost of the product or it's delivery time.

Do not accept 'reasonble' excuses for not being paid on time and the agreed upon amount. Act immediately. Often a bad sign.