How to Make an Effective Sales Call

by James on November 12, 2008

I run the interactive group at Hoffman/Lewis, a medium-sized, independent ad agency in San Francisco and in my experience, effective sales calls are rare events.

I receive sales calls and meet with sales reps frequently. Most are little more than annoying interruptions. I find sales reps are generally unprepared and badly trained. This is especially evident among traditional media sales folks trying to sell online media.

“I don’t know the answer to that question and I didn’t bring our web guru with me as he is in our NY office.”

Apparently this fortune 50 conglomerate only has one.

Some thoughts / advice on how to not annoy me make effective sales calls, calls that gets results.

Hip Shots

  • To have more effective sales calls, more frequently, take the time to become and stay trained in what you are selling. Obvious, I know, but with technology changing at the pace it is being up to speed and ideally knowing more about it than I do, is valuable and will get my attention.
  • Do your homework about us. Take some time to determine if we are a legitimate candidate for your product or service. I will take time for a calls or meeting that start with something like, “I know XX about your business, can I ask you a few, quick questions to better understand how our product or service can support your efforts.”
  • Don’t assume I will know who you are and what you are selling just because you sent me an email and/or left a message. This is even true if we have spoken. Take a moment to provide some memory triggers so I can place you. See point 2 above.
  • Don’t ramble. Have a clear understanding of what you need to say to get my attention and position what you are selling so that it is relevant to our needs. See points 1 and 2 above.
  • And finally, now that you have my attention, focus on the benefits of using what you sell relative to what we are doing today. A list of features and attribute won’t do it. Provide a clear indication of how/why what you are selling is competitive and how it will make us more competitive and/or profitable.

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