Many salespeople, even veterans, go through periods when they’re not effective on the phone. Salespeople who are new to a company face this challenge when they must tell the new story or ask the new questions. But most salespeople don’t know exactly what to change when what they’re doing on the phone isn’t working. Today I’ll provide you with a checklist of the five biggest phone trouble spots.

  1. Tonality – when you’re too loud, too fast, too abrasive; too soft, too slow or too “sing-songy”, you’re guilty of violating the “how you’re saying it”, not the “what you’re saying” part of the call.
  2. Intro – if you find yourself using “this is” and then your name you’re guilty of calling attention to the fact that your prospect doesn’t know who you are – an obvious cold call.  Use “it’s” instead of “this is”.
  3. Positioning Statement – In Baseline Selling this is the opening statement. If your positioning statement fails to identify potential problems that you solve while telling your prospect what you do, all in less than 10 seconds, you’re taking too long to get to the point.
  4. Closing – You must be able to ask two questions to get an appointment at the end of the phone call: “Is it a problem?” and “Do you want to fix it?” This must all occur within 5 minutes of your intro and the conversation must support these two questions. Are you talking about the right issues and are you closing?
  5. Put-Offs – Getting them is a fact of sales life. Taking them is a death sentence. Are you recognizing them as put-offs or accepting them at face value? Whether it’s “can you call back?” or “I don’t have my calendar” or “I don’t know what my schedule is” or “I’ll call you” or “talk to so and so” or “not interested” or “we’re happy with who we’re using” or “send me something”; are you dealing with the put-offs effectively or falling into the trap of accepting them?

All of these issues are dealt with extensively in “Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball” in the chapter on Getting to 1st Base. Review it for more tips!