As a creative professional, even hearing the word sales might send a shiver down your spine. The idea of trying to convince someone to buy a product they definitely don’t want or need might keep you up at night and heck, salesperson might be number one on the list of jobs you would never take. Not in a million years. But no matter how you feel about sales- as a freelancer, business owner, or content creator, selling is a part of your job. If you’re providing a service of any kind, it’s essential to have at least a working knowledge of how to have a successful sales call.
I’ve never considered myself much of a salesperson, but I did spend several years as a sales representative for a company I loved that offered a service I believed in. As the saying goes, an expert salesperson could sell water to a fish. But with communication skills and a little practice, nearly anyone can sell something they believe in.
If you want to have a successful client sales call, you have to believe in yourself and the service you’re offering. As a previous sales representative and now a full-time freelancer, here are some practical tips for conducting a sales call I’ve learned along the way.
What Do You Say at the Beginning of a Sales Call?
Like any first impression, it’s important to start off on the right foot at the beginning of a sales call. If sales calls (or maybe talking on the phone) aren’t your thing, it’s easy to freeze up and forget what you’re even selling. Being prepared with an introduction is a simple way to help you build confidence.
While you don’t want to be overly friendly at the beginning of the call and miss the opportunity to talk about your services, you do want to be genuine and show you care about helping their business thrive. No matter what you’re selling, start off with a friendly greeting and introduce yourself. Then, start to build a connection between the service you’re offering and their company.
5 Steps to a Successful Sales Call
A successful sales call ends with you gaining a new client, but you might wonder how to get to that point. Here are 5 steps to having a successful client sales call.
Make a connection
The first step to a successful sales call will always be making a connection with the client. This could be through a mutual friend, acquaintance, or business associate. Or, if you don’t have a mutual connection, you can connect with the potential client by seeking out a similar interest.
This is why doing your research ahead of time is so important. When you conduct a sales call, don’t ever go in unprepared. The potential client should be surprised by how much you already know. Did their business recently reach an important milestone? Congratulate them! Was their business recently featured in a publication? Bring up one of the topics in the article. You build trust by doing your research and showing genuine interest in the success of their business.
Address their pain points
When you begin a sales call, there’s a good chance the potential client is going to have their guard up. Even if they reached out to you for information, they might still be hesitant about hiring someone new. Whether they’ve been burned by another professional or they’ve completed these tasks on their own before, hiring someone to perform a service probably isn’t something they take lightly. It’s your job to know what issues they’re facing before they tell you.
Pain points are the problems or annoyances their business is currently facing. Whether big or small, these issues are keeping their business from growing. If they’re honest about their current business growth then they understand this well, especially since their business exists because they’re providing a solution for their customer’s pain points.
Provide your solution
After you’ve addressed their pain points, it’s time for you to save the day. The reason you’re calling in the first place is you believe you have a solution to their problems, so naturally, the next step is telling them your solution.
Keep your language positive while you make your case. Saying something like “If you have an issue with our services, here’s how we’ll deal with it” puts the idea in their head that there may be an issue. If they decide to hire you and an issue does come up, handle it with grace, but creating an imaginary issue only leads to doubt.
Clarify their objections
Even if your solution sounds perfect, the client is going to have questions and doubts about what you’re offering. Instead of fumbling through their questions, anticipate their objections and then address them before they have a chance to protest.
Addressing their objections from the start will help them have confidence in your product or services, and shows you can anticipate their business needs.
Close the sale
You don’t have to be pushy to close a sale, but you do need to have a plan and create a sense of urgency. What will this client lose if they don’t sign up for your services? There’s always the possibility of hearing no when you try to close the sale, but that’s not the end of the story. In fact, one study showed that 60% of potential clients say no four times before they say yes.
It may require some effort on your part, but if it’s a partnership you really want, keep following up even if it doesn’t work out the first time.
A Successful Sales Call Requires Trust
At the end of the day, people are more likely to buy something from people or brands they trust. That’s why being your caring, empathetic self is an essential part of your sales strategy. Trying to convince someone to trust you comes off as shady and dishonest. On the other hand, genuinely being a moral, trustworthy person will go a long way. If you want to build your sales skills, ask a fellow freelancer or business owner if you can listen in on one of their sales calls, and practice as often as you can.