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Deal or No Deal?

How To Close Sales When Prospects Call

Small business owners know that the most important function of the telephone is to bring customers to you, begging for your service or product offering. So when the phone rings with a prospective customer on the other end, do you know how to transform an interested caller into a buying customer?

Here are three phone sales tips to help you close more sales.

  1. Find the need

    Don’t assume that everyone interested in your product or service buys for the same reason. Before you attempt to sell the prospect on how great your product or service is, ask a few qualifying questions to uncover his buying motivations.

    For example:

    “Will you be using this in your home office or your workplace?”

    “How many copies per day does your office normally need?

    “What is it about your current copier you are not satisfied with?”

    Once you ask a few probing questions, listen for the problems, challenges, or frustrations that your prospect is facing. Your caller is not looking for you to sell him something-he’s looking for you to solve his problems. Once you know his problem, you’ll be able to sell the benefits of your product or service based on what he needs.

  2. Magnify the need

    Most people buy for emotional reasons. When you magnify the need, you tap into his emotional buying motives and create an urgency to purchase. A few questions or statements might be:

    “Do you have a backup plan if your copier fails right before a key client presentation?”

    “I see how those continual paper jams could hold up copying projects for hours.”

    “I’ll bet that was an embarrassing situation, not being able to make a copy for a client because your machine was down.”

    By creating the perception that your product is critical to his success, you are much more likely to win the sale.

  3. Answer objections

    Objections are the reasons that prevent your prospect from saying, “So, do you take Visa or MasterCard?” If you don’t find out the objections, you can’t answer them and your prospect will call your competitor instead. To find out his objections, ask a few questions like:

    “What key concerns do you have that prevent you from making your decision?”

    “How can I help you decide if this is the right product for you?”

    Be sure to answer his objections based on what you know about his buying motivation, his need. Additionally, try answering his objections with a question that will lead to a buying decision. For instance:

    His objection:

    “I’m no good with technology. I hate to invest in a new copier just to have problems with it that I can’t figure out how to fix.”

    Your Question:

    “Would you like a free 12-month service agreement with your new copier?”

  4. Close the deal

    It’s amazing how many small business owners don’t make the sale because they fail to ask closing questions. Closing questions are designed to bring the prospect to a place of decision or a call to action.

    Ideally, you’ll want to ask closing questions through out the sales process that produce small “yeses” like:

    “Would information on product reliability be of value to your decision?”

    “Are you interested in a program that will save you both time and money?”

    “Is timely delivery an important issue for your business?”

    Once your prospect gets used to saying “yes,” it will be more natural to say the all important YES at the end. Listen for buying signals from your prospect and be ready with many ways to ask for the sale. For example:

    “If I could guarantee delivery by the end of the week, are you ready to move forward with the purchase today?”

    “If that price quote is acceptable to you, shall I ship it today?”

    “I can schedule your project for next week, but I’ll need your credit card information to hold your project start date. I can take that information now if you are ready.”

Good salesmanship requires practice, practice, practice. Think through all possible objections to your service or product. Write out possible responses and questions that lead to buying decisions. If you put the time in to think your sales process through, you’ll feel more confident when a prospect calls you. The more confident you are with your sales process, the more sales you’ll close.

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