Seven things you should do on every sales call

Most buyers hate sales calls
Some sales people do not understand this. They believe that it is the buyer’s duty to listen to every call that they receive. They believe that buyers should audit every supply option that they are presented with.
However, it is hard to blame buyers when they are presented with so many poor sales calls. Here are three types of call that I hate to receive:

  • The relationship building call. There is a lot of time wasted in “getting to know you” because the sales person doesn’t have much to offer me that is worthwhile.
  • The “just checking in” call. A call has to have a proper purpose otherwise I get the feeling that the sales person is just trying to hit their call targets!
  • The desperation call. A sales person repeats everything they’ve said to me on previous calls because they have nothing more to say. They are hoping that they will wear me down by endless repetition!

So how do you create a call that is useful to you and the buyer? Here are seven steps to make sales calls more productive:

  1. Plan your call

Many sales people seem to start a call without any thought. Before picking up the phone, you should know why you are making the call. You should know exactly what you want to say or ask.

  1. Review your notes

I hate being asked things which I have already explained. So check out what was said in previous conversations. It goes without saying that you should make notes of all the important points from your conversations.

  1. Check the customer is OK to talk

I’m never going to be a good sales prospect if you contact me at the wrong moment. Always check if it’s a good time for a buyer to talk, even if you had previously agreed the time. If it’s a bad time, set a time for when it is more convenient for the buyer. Buyers will appreciate this and be much more likely to give you time on the next call.

  1. Get to the point

Buyers are busy people. They rarely have time for small talk these days. Many also have a very goal focused mindset. They don’t appreciate endless questions about how their weekend was.

  1. Have a call to action

Know what you want to achieve from a call. Your goal is to encourage the prospect or customer to take the next small step in the sales journey. Your call is not about getting them to award you the job unless they are at the end of that journey. It is much more likely to be about getting them to send you some projects to review or agreeing to have a meeting.

  1. Agree the next steps

It is important that both parties agree what is to happen next. For instance, you might commit to sending through some information. The prospect would agree to review it by a certain date and you can then both agree the next call time.

  1. Make a note to follow up

Remember to make a note of deadlines and action points in your diary: I am constantly surprised at how many sales people fail to call at an agreed time. I am also surprised at how many fail to follow up at all.

Doesn’t carrying out each of these points mean that each call will be very long?
None of these actions points need to be particularly time consuming. You are not aiming for a lengthier call: simply a more effective one.
Of course, some calls will become longer. This is because you are less likely to suffer having the phone put down on you by impatient buyers!
Here is a quick action point
Practice some calls with a colleague. It is a very useful and practical way to make sure you are in the habit of carrying out these points. It gives you a chance to try out some new ideas and see if they work for you before you are live with a customer.
Remember, if you carry out these seven points, you will get far fewer buyers hating your calls!
PS If you’d like practical ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them” right now at You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.

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