3 Powerful Sales Call Strategies

Posted on July 2nd, 2024 to Uncategorized

Call reviews are a big feature of my work with founders in the Sales Playbook, and I swear by them. 

What’s a call review, you ask? It’s where my clients record sales calls (with consent from their prospects), and we review them together in an effort to improve their skills. 

If the thought of having someone listen to your sales calls and provide feedback makes you cringe, you’re not alone — most of my clients hate the idea, until they realize it’s the very best way to improve performance and close more contracts. 

You see, I work with super-smart subject-matter experts who understand, in theory, everything I’m teaching them about how to lead a winning sales process — but when it’s time to apply what they’ve learned in a real sales scenario, sometimes the learning goes out the window.

That’s why call reviews are so important. I help my clients prepare for important sales calls where they commit to the skills they’ll put to the test — then, once the call is over, we can go back and have a listen. 

It’s the very best coaching tool we have, and it greatly accelerates learning and results for my clients. 

In this blog post, I’m revealing three winning strategies that were put to the test during a recent call review with a seven-figure consulting firm.

(Yes, you’re getting an insider’s look at how I help my clients with actionable sales strategies!)

By the end, you’ll have proven strategies to apply as you plan for your next big first call with a dream client.

Keep a look out for links to other posts that go into depth on some of the teaching here.

The Client Backstory

Before we jump into the strategies, let’s set the stage.

One of my clients runs a multi-seven-figure consulting firm, working with large corporations.

Over the past five years, she’s achieved this success by consistently sharpening and refining her sales skills.

She understands a critical insight many overlook: the purpose of a discovery call is not to make a sale, especially for corporations with many decision-makers.

Instead, the goal is for the buyer to leave more committed to making a change because you’ve shown them that it’s possible with the right support.

A few months ago, my client had a big call coming up with a national communications firm — a potential major deal for her business.

She knew that she’d have to strategize her approach to make the most of the little time she had with the busy exec.

In preparation for the call, we devised three key strategies to help her succeed in this crucial conversation — and then we were able to listen back to see how she did. (Spoiler alert: She nailed it!)

I’ll share them in the following sections.

Sales Call Strategy #1: Client Stories vs. Pitching

Instead of preparing a traditional deck and presentation, we brainstormed client stories to make the conversation far more engaging, relatable and memorable.

As reported in this Forbes article, storytelling not only increases your brand favorability in your audience’s eyes, it can also be up to 22 times more memorable than facts.

My client shared specific stories and references about solving similar problems for similar clients, while maintaining their privacy, highlighting both qualitative and quantitative results.

By the end of the call, the potential customer deeply understood the work that her firm does without one slide in sight.

She established credibility, trust, intrigue and interest with the human being behind the sale — more on that in the next section.

Sales Call Strategy #2: Appeal to Company & Buyer

According to Harvard Business School professor and author Gerald Zaltman, 95% of our purchase decisions are based on emotion. (Thinking, Fast and Slow, p. 13, 2011)

So, it only makes sense to center your buyer — the human behind the buying decision — in your sales conversations.

On the sales call, my client intently listened to her contact and asked a “feeling question,” something we worked on in our strategy session.

She asked, “Wow, you’ve taken on a lot. How are you feeling?”

It was at this point that she observed a shift. Her buyer opened up about his professional challenges and she was able to glean insights into how to collaborate with him.

The truth is that, while the company has a problem to solve or a need to fill, your buyer does, too.

You’re selling to both sets of pain points, and if you can show you care about the success metrics of the individual and the company, you build trust and rapport.

In their book, The Jolt Effect, authors Matthew Dixon and Ted McKenna argue that buyers are afraid to make poor decisions. (More on that here.)

By showing empathy, you demonstrate that you understand their personal stakes and are committed to making the right decision together.

Next up: a simple, straightforward question that will reveal whether you’re on the right track or if there are underlying tensions behind the deal.

Sales Call Strategy #3: Ask this Question

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time and energy on a deal that goes nowhere.

That’s why I advise clients to assess where their buyer is in the sales process by asking a very simple question toward the end the discovery call:

“So I’m curious, on a scale from 1-10, how confident are you that you’ll be engaging an outside firm to do this work?”

In my client’s case, the buyer said, “Oh, no question — 10!”

Awesome answer! But that’s not always always the case.

In the past, my client had been chasing leads that weren’t ready to commit — they were at a 3 or 4 at best. Some didn’t even know what help they needed.

That’s why this question is essential to uncover any underlying tensions and guide the next steps in the conversation.

Click here to read How to Lead a 30-Minute Intro-Call.

Final Thoughts

Sales call reviews are a cornerstone of the work I do with founders and subject-matter experts in the Sales Playbook.

Reviewing these calls in detail allow us to assess what’s happening in real-time and serve as the best coaching tool available.

While there are many more unique to each client, these three strategies for sales calls have helped my clients secure significant deals. 

As a reminder, they focus on storytelling, addressing both company and buyer needs, and asking one straightforward question to gauge readiness.

Remember, even highly successful experts need to continually refine their sales techniques.

If you want to improve your sales skills, keep in mind: with practice and the right strategies, you can strengthen and advance them.

If you’d like my help strategizing your sales calls and creating a Sales Playbook and all that entails, click here to learn more.

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