About the Author
Using the phone in sales is only difficult for people who use outdated, salesy, manipulative tactics, or for those who aren't quite sure what to do, or aren't confident in their abilities. Art's audiences always comment how he simplifies the telesales process, making it easily adaptable for anyone with the right attitude.
Since 1984 Art has written and published the how-to tips newsletter, TELEPHONE SELLING REPORT, subscribed to by over two thousand companies worldwide.
Art is a prolific producer of learning resources on selling by phone. He authored the audio-tape training program, "Ringing Up Sales," published by Dartnell. His video program is "Getting Through to Buyers . . . While the Others are Screened Out." He wrote the books, "How to Sell More, In Less Time, With No Rejection, Using Common Sense Telephone Techniques--Volume 1," and "Volume 2," and "Telephone Tips That SELL!--501 How-to Ideas and Affirmations to Help You Get More Business By Phone," which was released as a book, an audio program, and computer screen saver.
Art's how-to ideas and tips appear regularly in the print and electronic media. He has written a regular column for "Teleprofessional" magazine for 12 years, also writes one for "Selling!" newsletter, and is frequently quoted in "Selling Power," "Bottom Line Business," "Sales and Marketing Management," and numerous trade publications.
He holds the popular Telesales Rep College two-day public training seminars nationwide, and also customizes the program for on-site, in-house delivery. Art also delivers how-to programs on effective telesales ranging from one-hour to several days.
Clients include IBM, AT&T, Ameritech, Hewlett Packard, Norfolk Southern, Baxter Healthcare, and other companies and associations in virtually all business-to-business industries.
His speaking and training reputation has been built as someone who knows what works and what doesn't in telesales because he's done it (corporate telesales positions with AT&T Long Lines and American Express), and still does it. He also conducts extensive research to customize his programs, listening to tapes of actual sales calls of client reps in order to learn the language of the industry, company, and strengths and weaknesses of sales reps and strategies.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
1. Don't always judge success by the "yes" answers you get. Measure your attempts. Set a goal for the number of times you'll ask for the business today. Celebrate when you reach that goal. The sales naturally follow.
2. Closing Question: "Gene, we seem to be in agreement that this is what you're looking for. What do you suggest we do?"
3. Instead of jumping on the first buying signal you hear, question it to help them strengthen their convictions. If they said, "This really would work for us," ask them, "In what areas would you show the most benefit?"
4. Closing Question: "Kelly, what can we do together to speed up the process and make this happen?"
5. You'll lose 100% of the sales you don't ask for.
6. Closing Question: "Are you thinking about getting three of them?" Use whatever amount would be just a tad higher than what they likely would do. This prompts a decision, or more conversation.
7. Ask for commitment with conviction.
8. Those who expect more, get more. Don't sell yourself short when asking for the sale. Ask big.
9. A question to help them determine what should happen next: "What is the next step?"
10. Closing Question: "We could have this delivered and operational by Tuesday. What would you like me to do?"
11. To upsell, don't mention the next price break, as in "You can get a better deal if you buy 50." Instead, simply mention how many more they need to get the price. "You'll save $1.50 per unit by getting only five more."
12. Help them visualize themselves owning and using your product/service. "If you had this, how do you feel you'd utilize it?"
13. Trial Closing Question: "Amy, do you think you would be happy with this type of service?"
14. Maintain a positive, confident, steady tone of voice and rate of speech when asking for the sale or commitment. Some reps clutch up and lose it at this point.
15. State the agreement you've reached, then ask for the major commitment: "Jan, since we're in agreement that this is what you're looking for, and it's within your budget, let's go ahead and get the paperwork started, OK?"
16. Closing question: "Sounds to me like you've already decided to go with this. Am I right?"
17. Closing question: "Do you have further questions, or are we ready to proceed?"
18. Closing question: "Is there anything else you need to know to move ahead with this order?"
19. Listen for "possession signals," signs that they've already visualized themselves using your product/service. "What we'd likely do is train a couple of people at each location."
20. The main reason customers don't buy more from their vendors: they aren't asked to by the vendor. Be sure you're satisfying every need you possibly can.
21. When you're writing up an order, don't say, "Anything else?" We're all conditioned to say "No." Instead, make a tangible recommendation based on what they're already getting, then ask for the sale.
22. Buying signals can indicate the time to begin closing. But, consider asking another question or two. This can help them further strengthen their reasons for agreeing with you.
23. "Pushiness" only occurs when you try to sell someone something they don't want or need. Asking for the sale is not being pushy, assuming you've questioned effectively and made the appropriate recommendation.
24. Don't just wish for the sale: "I just wanted to let you know these do come in several colors, and we could even custom order one for you." Be sure there is no question that you are ASKING for it.
25. Tie the timing of the next call into their commitment to take some action. "What day do you feel we should speak again, so that you'll have had enough time to collect those figures?"