How to Make Better Sales Calls to Meet Your Quota

BY Rachel Cagle
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Compared to your sales activity in recent years, you’re probably been making more sales calls during these past few months. Now it’s time to meet the year-​end sales quota, so even more calling is in your future! But did you know that, according to science, there are a few tips you should be following to make the most out of your calls, says Max Altschuler, writing for HubSpot?

How to Make Better Sales Calls

Start with Positivity

Altschuler writes that, according to a study of hotel waiters, contributing to a conversation positively increases the likelihood of earning tips. How often have you asked a prospect or a current client how they’re doing at the beginning of a sales call and when they ask you the same, you respond neutrally or negatively? “Oh, you know,” “I’m surviving,” or, “I wish it was warmer out,” don’t contribute to the success of your call.

Instead, start off your conversation with something positive. “Good afternoon! Isn’t it great to have snow in December again? Maybe we’ll finally have a white Christmas!” If you’re trying to upsell to a client you know well, you could make the positivity more personalized. “Holy crap, that last episode of The Mandalorian was intense!” or “Did you see our team slaughter the opposition last night?!” Get their mindset to a better place and they’ll be in a more willing mood to buy from you.

Use Labels

We have been taught from a young age that labeling people is wrong. However, the people who told us that probably aren’t sales reps. “Assigning a positive label or trait (like having high intelligence or being a good person) to people generally compels them to live up to the label,” says Altschuler. He gives an example of fundraising reps reaching out to donors and telling them that they are among the highest donors. As a result, those donors continued to donate more than the average amount.

This works for your existing clients, as well. Telling a client that they are one of your best customers or a pleasure to work with can do wonders for your sales call success rate. “Having received the compliment, the client will want to be one of your best customers or try even harder to be a pleasing business partner,” says Altschuler. However, make sure you’re choosing labels that make sense. You don’t want to tell a client who yelled at you last month that they’re a pleasure to work with. They’ll see through that attempt. But you definitely have clients who deserve positive labels. Make sure you let them know what their label is.

Stand Up

When was the last time you saw a performer who was trying to get a crowd excited sit in a chair? Probably never, right? Performers sit when they want to slow things down or set a mellow tone. You do not want that in your sales calls. So, stand up! Walk around the room you’re in to get your blood moving. Moving will help you channel a more exciting tone of voice that will engage your prospects. Obviously, you shouldn’t go jumping and running around, though. If you start panting and wheezing into the receiver, your prospect will have no idea why that’s happening and get concerned.

Keep it Simple

Pigeonholing your prospects with only one option isn’t a successful sales call method. However, giving the prospect too many options to choose from can be just as harmful to the outcome. If you just keep listing off different products or package plans that your prospect could go with and why, you are going to confuse them. They won’t be able to keep all the information straight, they’ll get overwhelmed, and they’ll pass on your offers completely. The same can be said with overloading the prospect with information on your product or service. Just tell them the information they need to know and the buying options they’ve asked for and nothing else. The less information there is to absorb, the more memorable it will be. Keep the sales process simple to earn more money.

Use Emotion

Emotions are a powerful financial driver. Take your personal finances, for example. You probably have a set amount you’d like to spend while grocery shopping. Or perhaps you bring a list to the store to keep spending in check. But maybe you had a rough day at the office and a bottle of wine and some sweets would really help you feel better. Or you’re walking through the aisles and see that a discontinued candy you loved during your childhood has been rereleased for a limited time. You have to have it, right?

Altschuler points out that people make purchases, even for work, based at least a little on emotion. “Nostalgia, brand loyalty, associative/​sentimental attachments to a product, and other intangible benefits can serve as persuasion levers as much as a product’s technical features,” he says. “When engaging prospects, probe for the emotional button that can sway their purchase decision. Articulate a product’s value through the use of relevant and powerful storytelling. In some instances, adopting the pleasure-​pain dichotomy may work. Depending on the situation, people’s aversion to pain or their deep anticipation of pleasure can be leveraged as powerful selling tools.”

And remember, trust is the most powerful feeling of all in sales. Make sure you bring up your referrals, product reviews, and mutual connections during your sales calls.