18 Sales Call Tips Experts Swear By (+Sample Scripts)
Sales calls are absolutely necessary for sales reps to be successful. But sales calls can become redundant and frustrating when they’re not going well.
When sales calls are with decision-makers, the process can be even more stressful, especially if the sales rep feels unprepared. The good news is, a tactical approach can break through the monotony and offer reps new, fresh perspectives on this vital task.
We created this no-nonsense, backed-by-experts guide for salespeople to have more successful and engaging sales calls. From preparation to personalization, learn more about getting the most out of your next call.
Preparation for sales calls begins before the calls are even scheduled. Happy salespeople lead to more engaging sales calls, which leads to better results.
One of the best ways to help your sales professionals is by giving them time to unwind during working hours. We suggest organizing team-building games when appropriate.
For example, first-thing-in-the-morning games help your sales team start their day with fun rather than stress. This allows them to focus and lead confidently when it comes time to get down to business.
To prepare for sales calls, follow these steps:
A clear agenda sets expectations for both you and the prospect while also helping you organize your talking points. With a proper plan for the sales call, prospects can follow along as you present.
Create and share the plan with the prospect before the call. As the call progresses, allow the conversation to take on a life of its own. The outline is a springboard from which you and the prospect can launch into deeper conversations.
A typical sales call map includes:
Before you begin a cold call, take the time to research your client. Utilize social media channels to familiarize yourself with the client’s posts, likes, those your client follows, and those who follow your client.
Learn more about their issues of concern and values. Jot down a few notes. Ask yourself how you and your business can address or alleviate areas of concern or amplify and support areas of strength or growth. Tailor a sales pitch that includes use cases, discussion points, and demo highlights.
Such preparation makes your lead the hero of the sales conversation because their needs form the basis of the entire pitch. Including this step is the difference between a personal sales pitch and just another cold call.
To make a concrete case regarding how your product can solve the prospect's problem (or relieve their pain points), share real-life examples from similar clients.
Sharing successful client stories adds elements of expertise to your call. The goal is to help your prospect recognize your product's value for themselves, as evidenced by the experience of others.
Trust is built by asking questions and letting the prospect tell their story. According to Finances Online, “data-driven insight puts the golden ratio at 43:57, where sales reps spend 43% of the engagement time talking and 57% listening. In the study, this talk-to-listen ratio generated the “highest yielding” conversations.”
Yet, sales reps tend to take up the lion’s share of the conversation. Instead, ask questions that put your customers at the center of the conversation. Asking questions is an incredible way to show interest in your lead’s business and in them personally.
Sprinkle your questions throughout the meeting and ask follow-ups. It should be an honest and earnest conversation where you want to learn as much about your prospect as possible.
Make sure your questions are open-ended and not merely yes or no questions. For example, start your question with language such as, “Can you walk me through an incident where you faced this difficulty, and it affected your revenue?”
Document their answers so you can refer to them later. Looking back at past calls and connecting the dots that led to closing a deal is part of a great sales strategy.
Sales calls are typically divided into cold calls, discovery calls, demo calls, and follow-up calls. Here are our tips for each.
As Freya Ward, Global Sales Director of Headley Media says, "A simple way to have a more successful sales call is to put the leg work in before you dial. Research the company or the appropriate person to talk to on LinkedIn or any other platform.”
People and companies tell their stories on social media and their personal websites. Leverage both to gain insights into your prospects’ interests, goals, and pain points before you even pick up the phone.
You can say the right words, but without the correct tone, you're not going to end the call with a sale.
Close.io says tone determines the success of a cold call 93% of the time. If you're tired, bored, or irritated, your prospects will hear it. To close deals, you have to sound confident and friendly on calls.
You may be nervous on cold calls. When you're nervous, it’s easy to lose your train of thought and then lose confidence, which leads to lost sales.
A cold-call script helps you maintain your focus and ensure you hit all your researched talking points. But remember, a script is only a guide—avoid simply reading it aloud, as this is easy to detect.
An example of an effective cold-call script:
Hello (prospect's name),
This is (your name) calling you from (your company's name). Is this a good time to talk? I'll keep it brief.
Prospect: (responds positively)
Sales rep: I've been researching (prospect's company name), and I'd like to learn more about (a challenge you've discovered in your research).
At (your company name), we work to help people like you improve (list one-two of the most relevant value propositions.)
Is this something you think could help your (current challenges for the brand)?
Prospect: (responds positively)
Sales rep: Fantastic (This is the time to ask them to attend a demo or define the next steps of your sales process.)
Remember your lead is on a call with you to learn how you can make their life easier.
Rather than saying, “We're an award-winning company specializing in…,” say, ”Our performance management software will help you improve your sales reps' productivity.”
People purchase value, not products. Provide solutions to ongoing client needs rather than relying on one-time transactional sales.
According to ProSales Connection, the average cold call is about two minutes. It’s a good sign if your cold call lasts beyond the initial greeting and an even better sign if the prospect begins to answer your questions with longer, more thoughtful responses.
Give the prospect a chance to speak to learn more about them and understand their current problems. Write notes. Ask follow up questions and address pain points. The more you do, the more likely your prospect will continue the conversation or ask for a follow-up.
According to a Brevet study, 44% of sales reps follow up with a prospect only once before giving up.
That's too early to scratch a prospect's name from your lead list. We're not advising you to harass your prospect but try at least four to five times before backing off.
Before picking up the phone, you’ll want to understand what makes your potential client tick. You should have a list of criteria that outline who you intend to sell your product or service to. Your qualification criteria helps you determine which leads are the best fit and can include:
Your research should also uncover details about their pain points and needs so you can help them understand how your product or service will benefit them.
Don’t forget — you’ll also be listening and learning on the call to ensure your product or service is truly a good fit for the prospect.
While you’re conducting research on your prospect ahead of time, the discovery call is an ideal place to get more details and confirm that your research is correct. This could involve asking some of the following questions:
Writing these qualification questions down ahead of time ensures you’re prepared — even if you end up going off script.
Bonus tip: An excellent way to start a discovery call and build rapport is to ask an open-ended question that’s based on your prospect research. Focusing your opening question on common interests and recent successes creates a positive vibe to the entire call.
For example, you could ask how they like living in (city/state) and what restaurants they’d recommend there, mention a sport you have in common and ask how long they’ve played, or mention their hobby and ask how they got involved in it.
Speaking of writing things down, you can easily add the questions you decide on in step two into your script. Just don’t feel like you need to script every single part of the discovery call. Leave room to go off the tracks and build rapport or ask follow-up questions.
Here’s an example of a discovery call script:
Sales rep: Hello (prospect’s name), how was (a past industry event, project, or weekend)?
Prospect: Answers and engages in small talk for a few minutes.
Sales rep: I don’t want to keep you for too long, so let’s chat about why I called. First, I want to thank you for speaking with me today about how (product or service name) might help (Company Name). I know we chatted about how this all works on our last call, but I’d love to talk more about (list agenda items). But before we get started, is there anything else you’d like to go over on this call?
Sales rep: Great. (Proceeds to tell the origin story of the company or product that touches on how it resolves certain pain points and how many clients it’s helped). Do you have any questions for me before we keep going?
Sales rep: Okay, I know you need help solving (problem), and I think (product or service) could help. But before I go into details, I want to make sure. So I have a few more questions for you.
Sales rep: (Goes over the list of questions they prepared ahead of the discovery call. Be sure to address any agenda items the prospect has as well.) Great, that adds a lot of context. I think we’re a good fit to help you (resolve problem or achieve goal). Let’s schedule a time to do a live demo so I can show just how (product or service) can help. Sound good?
Having a script can be a life saver. Even if you don’t end up using it or only refer back to it for cues every now and then, it’s better to have one than not in case you freeze up or lose your train of thought.
What better way to work out the kinks in your script than to role-play with a fellow salesperson?
Better yet, sales reps can ask their manager to practice making a discovery call with them. This could reveal new insights and coaching opportunities that help reps optimize their approach.
If no one’s around to role play with, try speaking to yourself in the mirror or recording your sales calls and listening to them after. The more times you can walk through your sales script, the less you’ll have to rely on it and the more you’ll be able to listen.
While on the discovery call, don’t be afraid to be authentic. This can help build a relationship of trust with your prospect, especially if you add a personal touch.
An article by Salesforce notes that “Companies that are more successful at getting personal not only have a 360-degree view of their customers. They also use that view with a focus on actually benefiting the customer.”
Remember, your discovery call should be focused on finding out whether your product or service can truly benefit your prospect. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. If it’s not a fit, thank them for their time and let them know they can call you if things change.
Keep it simple: Simple sales compensation plans are cheaper, easier to administer, and yield better results than complex plans.
According to Alex Kracov, the CEO and co-founder of Dock, "The best sales reps start by understanding the customer's problem. They should ask questions that get the customer to talk about their business and the problem they are trying to solve. This conversation sets up the rest of the sales process, as they can now discuss their solution with context around the customer's business."
Have a broad set of questions to ask the prospect at the beginning of the demo to help you set the direction.
Include questions like—
Tailor the demo to each prospect. For example, if you're selling an email marketing platform to a business owner looking to build their newsletter, highlight the features that would help gather customer email addresses or automate sends.
Remember that the person on the other end of the line has a pain point or a problem they need solved. Talking about services that don’t pertain to their specific needs will lead to disillusionment and a call without a sale.
Instead, do your research, ask questions, and focus on what matters to the prospect.
Every sales call takes up valuable time for both you and the prospect. Stay focused on their needs and keep the information you impart simple and easy to understand.
Schedule a demo and share it with the prospect before the call if possible. You’ll have a structure you can stick to, and it will help you progress steadily.
Talk about the features essential to your prospect and their issues. Let them guide the conversation and include only necessary information.
Use a script as guidance. A script ensures you remember all of the pertinent talking points for the call. It serves as a skeleton for the call, giving you and the prospect a roadmap for the conversation. That said, be flexible and fluid with where the prospect wants the conversation to go.
An example of a demo call sales script:
Sales rep: Hello (prospect's name), based on our conversation last week, it looks like (problem) is still a top priority for you.
Prospect: (responds positively)
Sales rep: I’ve prepared a demo to show you how (your company’s product) solves this problem. Would you like to take a look?
After some time in the demo, pause and ask if they have any questions.
Sales rep: I'll pause here if you have any questions.
Prospect: I have a few questions (prospect asks questions)
Sales rep: (address prospect’s questions). Would you like to continue with the demo?
After the demo ends, ask follow-up questions to gauge their interest. Ask them if this is something they might use or be interested in. Or ask them how they might see themselves using the product. Finally, guide the prospect toward the next steps.
Your demo should be a conversation between you and the prospect.
Involve them by asking questions, explaining key points and actions, and letting them know they can ask questions for clarity at any time. Make the demo as interactive as possible to illustrate how the product will impact their business
Work with real data instead of dummy text or random numbers when demonstrating the product. Real data helps your prospect understand your product is already impacting other customers’ lives.
Handling objections is part of the sales cycle, but you need to handle them with poise and professionalism.
For example, if a prospect seems sheepish or uninterested after a demo, simply thank them for their time and ask if you can follow up at a later time. It’s better to leave the conversation open-ended than with a firm no because you push too hard.
Before you begin your first call, outline your expectations for the follow-up. This way, you can guide your prospect through the necessary talking points in the first call, knowing where you will leave off and how you can set up another call.
As you end the call, outline the expectations regarding the next steps to keep the conversation going. Propose a few dates and times that work best for the prospect and get verbal confirmation regarding the follow-up.
The best way to avoid getting ghosted on a follow-up call is to send the prospect a reminder. Send the reminder after the call, no later than 24 hours before the next meeting.
Remember to highlight the meeting agenda along with the duration.
Having an email template for a follow-up is crucial for every sales rep. It saves time but isn’t meant to be copied, pasted, and sent without customization.
Personalize the template according to the issues and past conversations with the client.
An example of a follow-up sales call email:
Hello (prospect's name),
Thank you for your time today. I really enjoyed our conversation and look forward to helping you kick off your journey with (product name).
To recap our conversation, we discussed:
I'll send you a calendar invite for our next call on (date and time) to explain more about the product and its features. Please let me know if you have any questions—I'm here to help.
Listening is an underutilized skill for a majority of sales reps. Avoid rambling about your product and focus on the words your prospect is using. The prospect is likely eager for someone to listen regarding their pain points. Simply by listening, you create a sense of familiarity and comfort.
According to a Brevet study, 80% of successful deals require at least five follow-up calls to close. This may seem like a lot, but persistence can help you close a deal that was on the fence. Do remember to leave a gap of at least three to five days between emails.
If the prospect’s answer is still no after these follow-ups, respect their decision by closing the conversation.
Sales calls are essential to establish relationships with potential customers and eventually close a deal. For sales calls to be successful, you need to know your customers and address their needs.
Using a sales performance management system streamlines the back-end process of your sales team. Book a demo with the Arcade team to learn how we can help you accelerate the growth of your sales team with advanced strategies.