Inbound sales calls are a treasure trove; for those who know how to handle them.
Due to the lack of a clear sales call checklist and agendas, most sales representatives end up missing the mark. They fail to secure interested customers by giving a poor first impression and not answering their questions satisfactorily. Additionally, many questions and chances to bump up revenue are missed by sales representatives.
What’s worse is that the revenue lost is not minuscule; it’s considerable. Customers who make inbound sales calls convert 30% more than web leads. They also spend 28% more. Losing any percentage of them is not a risk any sales manager wants to make.
The problem is, many of these customers are indeed lost. The best way to handle this is to have a well-thought-out and research-supported sales call checklist for inbound sales calls.
The easiest way to understand how best to do this is to simplify your sales call checklist. After establishing a clear and easy outline, you can then go into the details of each of the points.
Here is a simplified sales call checklist with each point comprehensively explained to help you dramatically improve sales from inbound calls.
1. Be Pleasant
They are two kinds of marketing you will probably be doing with calls:
- Business to Business (B2B), and
- Business to Customer(B2C).
We will focus on B2C calls, which are based a lot on effective communication and the ability of the sales representative to connect with the customer. What does this kind of communication entail? :
- Empathy: you need to try and put yourself in the customer’s position and connect with their needs. Having empathy will also allow you to understand how to appeal to their emotions because you will have a good idea of what they are.
- Friendliness: you need to keep it casual without crossing the line to inappropriateness. There should not seem to be a hierarchy of power. Try to be amicable and never forget to state the name of your organization. Then remember to ask them: “how can I help you?”. These two phrases in succession will let the customer connect warm feelings to your company from the get-go.
- Keep it short: being friendly does not mean that you need to ask them unnecessary details. Do not include anything that is prying. Get to the point directly with every question posed to you.
Are there any things that you should avoid? Absolutely:
- Do not fail to state the name of the company at the very beginning. Failure to say the name of your company will give off an air of unprofessionalism.
- Listen carefully. Avoid seeming distracted. The customer may feel that you are not concerned with their needs.
- Never miss calls. 80% of business transactions take place over calls. We now know that inbound sales calls are from customers who spend 28% more. These are people who have made up their minds and want to finalize the purchase. Sometimes, they may even need the product or service urgently. So, they will call the next company.
When you pick up the call, the first win comes when the customer feels warmth and pleasantness from you. It sets the pace for everything else you will do and influences whether a sale will be completed or not.
2. Be Professional; Satisfy Your Caller’s Needs
The next step is the most important one: getting your caller satisfied.
To do this, you need to listen carefully to what the customer wants, who they are, and whether what they are requesting will satisfy their needs or if they would need to get something else. Your customer should be treated as though they already know what they want. Refrain from trying to tell the customer what they should purchase and instead fulfill their desires.
This method is best described as “prescribing and not diagnosing” according to Harvard Business Review. Offering personalized options gives the highest conversion rates among inbound sales calls. Suggestions such as “I would buy X if I were in your situation” or “I prefer plan Y” showed the best results.
In the process of doing this, you need to listen out for any needs that the customer may come across with the purchase of their desired product.
For example, if a customer wants a certain anti-frizz hair spray that leaves the hair dry, you need to let them know about this. Letting them know about such things makes the customer trust you and allows you to upsell. This is different from “diagnosing” in that you base your suggestions on what the customer tells you.
Being effective in this stage is dependent on whether you understood who the customer was after the first time they explained their problem to you. It is best to base this entirely on what they say to you, other than what preconceptions exist about people from the caller’s demographic. This will help you avoid prejudice and make the caller feel better understood.
Getting your customers to trust in this way means that you need to understand the products that you sell. Coming across as professional means you need to be a professional in your fields; there are no two ways about it. So, understanding your products is crucial for increasing your sales through inbound sales calls.
Another important thing you need to access is the customer’s budget. How much are they willing to spend on the product or service? You need to let them know the best offers available within their price range. Never miss an opportunity to mention a sale or discount. Putting this into consideration will also know how far you can go with any upselling efforts you may have in mind.
What if the Customer Does Not Make a Purchase?
If the customer seems dissuaded for one reason or the other, do not hesitate to negotiate with them. Learning how to do this will set you apart from all other companies in your industry:
- Be polite: you may have been showing the customer option for even an hour only for them to change their mind. Do not lash out and be as amicable as possible. It is not easy but navigating millions of products isn’t easy for most people either. In the end, you will have the leverage to ask them for their contacts.
- Offer them discounts on return purchases: setting up such promotions is bound to persuade customers to come back again. This is a way of respecting their decision not to purchase while cleverly welcoming them back, all in one breath.
- Ask them what you can do to improve services: asking them this will help you understand why the inbound sales call was not converted to revenue. This includes everything from pricing, product quality, and unsatisfied needs. Keeping track of these will help you make strategic improvements.
Even if an inbound sales call does not convert to revenue, you can still gain a lot from the interaction. Always remember to include clear instructions on your sales call checklist about what steps should be taken when a purchase is not made.
To summarize this section, since it is by far the most important:
- Listen carefully;
- Understand who the caller is;
- Assess the caller’s needs;
- Evaluate whether you can satisfy the caller’s needs or not;
- Give them all available options your company has. Be thorough;
- Give them personalized suggestions on what you genuinely think;
- Be honest about the product they want concerning their needs; and
- Understand the pros and cons of the products and services you offer.
3. Offer Additional Resources
How you address the concerns is integral to your success with inbound sales calls. Care needs to be taken to avoid sounding greedy, but at the same time, you need to maximize revenue. Most customers can easily see right through greedy sales tactics, so they are best avoided. You will have higher customer retention if you focus mainly on forming connections.
This is where offering additional resources come in. When a customer requests for anti-frizz hair spray, and you have told them that they would also need an extra moisturizer, you have given additional resources.
If you know that the same hair spray gives the best results only after following certain procedures, which have been clearly shown in a company blog, offer it up to them as well. Finally, if the need they have cannot be satisfied by any of your products, then do not hesitate to refer them to someone else.
Referring to an inbound sales call to another company might seem counterintuitive, but it is a fantastic strategy. First, you will avoid negative reviews. If you give a customer a product that does not satisfy their needs, they will let the people around them know. For business, no publicity is better than bad reviews.
Second, it allows you to do effortless market research. Knowing that you do not have a product only lets you know what you need to work on and what advantages your competitors have over you.
Finally, it increases the chances of the customer coming back to you because they trust you.
4. Ask for full Contact Information
A major mistake that companies make is leaving out this step in their sales call checklist. Whether you make a sale or not, asking the customer to leave behind some contact info is invaluable.
Inbound sales calls are from people who are already interested in your product and willing to spend money. Even if they do not make a purchase immediately, they are more likely to make one in the future. It saves more resources to focus marketing to people who are already interested in the products and services you offer as opposed to people whom you need to convince.
Your sales call checklist should have these contacts as the most important contacts to retrieve from every inbound sales call:
- Email address
- Phone number
Email is great for email marketing. Adding the caller to your mailing list will help you do passive marketing, which saves time and is highly effective.
You need to ask for the caller’s consent to make sure that they will be okay receiving emails and calls from your company.
5. Ask How the Caller Found Out About You
Lastly, make sure you ask the caller how they came to know about you.
This is data that you will use to find out which marketing channels are working best, and which ones are not serving you.
This knowledge is crucial in knowing where to focus resources on or cut down expenditure. It is especially beneficial because it is data you get for free and in high volumes.
New Caller Inbound Sales Call Checklist
- Be Pleasant. Announce the company name and give the caller a chance to explain themselves.
- Prescribe professional solutions. How can I help the customer solve their problem?
- Do not be afraid to offer additional resources. Satisfying the customer and leaving a good impression is more important than making a sale.
- Ask for contact details. This will help with subsequent marketing efforts.
- Ask Caller how they found out about you.
City _______________________ State __________
☐ OK to send email newsletter and email promo
How did you hear about us?
☐ Other _________________________________________________
Products/Services Interested In
Having a form that anyone who answers the phone can use as a guide will help simplify this process. This form can be printed out, but digital forms are better so that the data is fed into the database immediately. Your company’s CRM may also already gather some information beforehand.
Use this template as a starting point to create your own inbound sales call checklist to supply to anyone answering the phone at your company.
It is important to note that an indirect strategy to improve sales dramatically is to redirect any inbound calls that are not about purchases. 16% of inbound calls are usually about inquiries and this can waste your sales representatives’ valuable time.
Having a well-researched sales call checklist can improve sales dramatically. All businesses’ success is based on how good they are at communicating to potential consumers and earning their trust. How well a company builds its brand reputation will either make it or break it.
Inbound sales calls are an invaluable resource that must be managed with care, empathy, and proper planning. All you need to tap into their great benefits is an effective sales call checklist.