Making sales over the phone is more of an art than a science. From developing rapport to sensing resistance, selling products or services over the phone takes a lot more skill. Over the past three years I have mastered this art form given that I have primarily sold our products and services to our marketplace of buyers over the phone.
In sales you have three aspects of communication. These are:
- Physiology (body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, etc.)
- Tonality (how you say the words)
- Words (what you say)
When selling on the phone, you are missing the aspect of physiology, which means you don’t have the ability to read one’s posture, body language, or facial expressions. Instead, you need to become a master at tonality and word selection. Let’s take a look at each of these aspects closer.
Tonality is how you say the words you’re using. This constitutes as 37% of the communication between you and the other person or people. This includes:
- Tone – the pitch of your voice (for example, relaxed or stern)
- Tempo – the speed at which you talk
- Timbre – the quality of your voice (ie. gravelly or squeaky)
- Volume – how loud or quiet you are
Words are what is said in the communication between two or more people. The words in your communication only constitute 7% of communication, making the margins for error slim.
Physiology constitutes the remaining 56% of communication. This means that when you’re selling over the phone, the bulk of the information we regularly use to communicate is missing.
The Challenge for Most Sales People
Selling over the phone is not difficult, it is simply different from face to face sales. Here is where most sales people get it wrong: the attempt to make up for the missing piece of communication by overembellishing either their tonality, their words, or both.
Usually what will happen is the salesperson will over do these pieces of the communication formula over the phone, causing the communication to be done poorly. This leads to the prospect losing interest, or getting offended. Either way, in the end the sale is not closed.
“When reps take the role of a curious student rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more inclined to engage.” – Jeff Hoffman
The Magic 4-Word Phrase and How We Use It To Close More Deals
“Does that make sense?” Yes, that’s the secret four words we use. Nothing fancy, no big words, just a short and sweet check in with the prospect on the other end of the phone. Like I mentioned earlier, the trick is not in the 4 words so much as how it is used while communicating on the phone.
Here is what I mean, these four words are ways to re-engage the prospect on the phone and allow them to ask questions regularly. This little question also allows the prospect to say yes to you multiple times before you ask for sale later in the conversation.
When and How To Use This Phrase While On The Phone With A Prospect
There is no clear cut answer for how often or when to use this phrase as everyone has different pitches or scripts for prospects. While building this phrase out for the sales word-tracks for our companies and for our sales people, we have noticed that adding this question in at least three times during the sales conversation yielded higher conversions and bottom line for all the companies.
When adding in this 4 word phrase to your sales script, make sure it is where it makes sense for the salesperson to take a break. We have found it great to use when you are about ready to make a change or pivot in the conversation as well so that the prospect can agree or disagree that they understand.
Many NLP studies have shown by getting the mind to commit to someone or something at least three times during a single conversation increases the odds of that person committing on the big offer or sale. In layman’s terms this means, the more the prospect says “yes” to you during the conversation, the easier the prospect feels about saying yes to you in the future.
What Happens If The Prospect Says “No”
If you are doing a good job of explaining and communicating with your customers during the sales call then we have seen that this does not happen often. However I would believe at some point it has happened to anyone who has done this. When that happens, all the “no” means is a clue that they are needing more information. Ask more questions to determine what else you need to communicate to help them understand.
“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” – Zig Ziglar
Implementing This Into Your Sales Script
By including this into our businesses with all of our sales staff and in our sales systems, we have seen a steady increase in conversions across the board of all of our companies and I am confident you will too.
Formalize your sales script in someway to include this phrase. I don’t mean to write out every single word, I mean understand the order of items you want to discuss with your prospect(s) over the phone and then simply add in the phrase at certain points of that conversation.
At first, you’ll probably have to remind yourself. After you do this technique a couple times and gain competency and confidence about it, it will become second nature in your process and you will start seeing more sales close, and more money in your bank account.