What To Say and Avoid in Selling
Art Sobczak details what NOT to say after taking one of those calls by a sales
rep who believes he might be making progress because he`s putting in
activity, dialing the phone, making calls, and getting lots of no`s.
However, the calls are worthless, since he`s saying,
"Hi, I`m Roger Beltran with Online Advantage, and I would like
to introduce myself and my company`s services to you."
Too busy, not interested, thankyouverymuchbye.
I know he`s getting his teeth kicked in every day if that`s what
he`s doing, and thousands of other sales reps are as well. It
doesn`t need to be that way.
Let`s revisit what to avoid, and what to do on call openings.
The Don`ts- What NOT to Say
"I`m calling to check in with you ..."
I jokingly refer to this as the "Probation Officer" approach.
If you don`t have something of value to offer, don`t bother
They`ve got enough people working with them and for
them "checking in" in person all day long.
"Just wanted to touch base with you . . ."
Ditto the above.
"Wanted to call to see if there was anything
Need is a matter of perception. If they perceived a
need that was intense enough to take action on,
they would have done something about it.
It`s your job to remind them of a need, to get them
thinking about one they didn`t even know they had, or
to help them recognize that a mild need is actually
more significant than they thought. Calling to "see if
they have any needs" is reactive, and actually is a
nuisance call if the customer doesn`t feel like he
gained as a result of the call. Some might vehemently
argue this point, but what if every vendor they`ve
ever purchased from called regularly, just to call?
It`s a waste of time.
"Calling to see if you received the letter/brochure/
package/catalog/price list I sent?"
Is the literature going to do the selling for you? If so,
why are you needed? Hire a minimum wage intern to
place the follow-up calls that attempt just reactively
get the order, and then you can spend your time
watching Dr. Phil.
"Wanted to introduce my company and products
They don`t care about your products.
They can do a Google search and within seconds find 20
companies selling the same thing as you.
"Like to set up a time to get together..."
Isn`t it a bit arrogant and naive when salespeople think
that just because they took the time to pick up the
phone, they deserve 20 minutes of someone`s time in
person. No, we must EARN the right to someone`s time
by showing them the value they could receive from us.
And we must keep earning it throughout our calls (and
The DO`s- What to Do
First, keep in mind that there are two objectives for
1. Put them in a positive frame of mind, and,
2. Move them to the questioning part of the call.
Ideas for Follow-Up Calls ...
Bridge This Call from the Previous One
Start follow-up calls by reconnecting from the
"Calling to continue our conversation..."
"I`d like to pick up where we left off last week . . ."
Remind them of Their Interest and Action
"...where we discussed . . ."
" ... when we were discussing how you felt you
needed to do something about ..."
Have Value Added Points (VAP`s) on Every Call
If you are truly calling to keep your name in front of
them, fine. It`s necessary to build "mindshare." But
this is only successful if they feel they received something
as a result of the call.
Be prepared with useful news, new ideas, information
about how some of your other customers are taking fuller advantage
of some of the things they are buying now,
and so on.
For example, "I was at a trade show last week and I
thought of you..."
Or, "We`ve just introduced something here that might
be able to work in your situation, and I`d like to run
it by you..."
Even if you did send literature, don`t
bring the call to a screeching halt by asking if they
received it. Make it part of what you want to DO
together on this call:
"I`d like to review with you the pricing options I
detailed in my letter..."
Use words like "discuss," "analyze," and "go through."
And if they didn`t receive your stuff or don`t have it
handy? No problem; the literature isn`t holding you up
like a crutch. Be prepared to proceed anyway.
Ideas for Initial Calls ...
Use Weasel Words
If you appear out of the blue with cocky claims like
"I can show you how you can do thus and so,
guaranteed," in your opening, and people
furrow their brow, wince, and look at their handset
thinking to themselves, who IS this cheesy salesman?"
Instead, ease in with words like
"might be able to ...",
"there`s a possibility,"
"depending on what you`re doing now."
Tease them With Results
The only business reason they will consider listening
to you is that they feel you might have something
that will help them get something they want, or help
them avoid something they don`t want.
Answer this question: What does your prospect/customer
want most, and what does he/she want to avoid as it
relates to your type of product service? Put that into
Forget about "Making/saving them money."
Look at those words again. Don`t use them verbatim.
Even bad salespeople say this in an attempt to generate
interest. It`s as worn out as the old athletic shoes
in your closet. I`m not implying this isn`t a strong
buying motivator-it`s the WORDING that is ineffective.
Instead, get information about them first from
screeners, and then customize your opening to appeal
to them personally.
"I understand you`re now in the process of remodeling
your order entry department. Depending on your space
limitations, we might have some ways to help you keep
your costs down during the design and installation
stage of your office furnishings. If I caught you at a
good time, I`d like to discuss your plans..."