5 Strategies On How to Make Effective Sales Calls

Our best insights and know-hows for sales, marketing, and customer success teams.


How many hours per day do you spend scrolling through Facebook? Do you usually check out a brand’s Instagram page to glimpse their products? What online platforms do you use when you want to know more about a company?

Given the ubiquity of social media, it’s easy to write off sales calls as old-fashioned and obsolete. The reality, though, is different.

Don’t believe us? Well, here are a few statistics that will prove you wrong:

  • About 51% of company owners say they would rather hear from sales representatives via phone compared to email, faxes, drop-in visits, and other media (RAIN Group)
  • 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone (Salesforce)
  • 42.1% of respondents say that the phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal (Sales Insights Lab)
  • By making just a few more call attempts, sales representatives can increase their conversion rate by 70% (Call Hippo)
  • 57% of C-level buyers prefer to be contacted by phone (Crunchbase)

From these statistics, it’s clear that sales calls remain relevant, even today. They allow businesses to get in front of their customers and prospects without setting up in-person meetings. They’re also fantastic at driving sales, especially when you have talented representatives capable of holding a stimulating conversation with whoever is on the other end of the line.

But how exactly can you train your representatives to do this? Here are five strategies that will ensure every sales call is an opportunity well taken.

Talk to the Decision-Maker

Before launching into their well-rehearsed spiel, sales representatives should take the time to ensure that they’re talking to the right person. This means the decision-maker – or whoever is in charge of the operational activities related to your product or service.

Time is money, so it shouldn’t be wasted talking to a person who isn’t authorized to decide for the company. Nor should it be spent persuading someone who isn’t even involved with the relevant operational activity.

To determine whether they’re speaking with a decision-maker, a sales representative should ask questions like:

  • Am I talking to the owner?
  • Are you the only one making decisions for the company?

Both may sound too straightforward, but they’ll save your representatives time, freeing up their schedule to make other essential calls.

Stick to an Agenda

After ascertaining that they’re speaking with a decision-maker, your representative should spell out the agenda of the phone call. This shouldn’t be rigid as the direction of the conversation will undoubtedly change as it progresses; however, they must establish expectations to prevent the prospect from being caught off-guard. Again, it’s essential to be as straightforward as possible.

The plan should include the following:

  • Review the Prospect’s Needs: Their or the company’s pain points should be reiterated before moving on to the “selling” part of the conversation.
  • Product Overview: The representative should introduce the various features and functions of the product or service.
  • Product Solutions and Benefits: After a short introduction to the product or service, the representative should then explain how it will resolve the prospect’s pain points.
  • Demo: If possible, a live demo of the product or service should be offered
  • Questions:The representative should offer any additional information that they believe will be necessary for the prospect to make their decision. Objections and concerns should be addressed too.
  • Moving Forward: Before ending the call, the representative should outline action items for the prospect to consider. A timeline for closing the deal should be provided, as well.

Establishing a plan can be as simple as saying, “I’m glad to connect with you today. I’d love to go after XYZ before answering any questions you might have. How does this sound to you?”

This simple line will enable your representatives to stay in control of the conversation while simultaneously making their prospects feel as if they’re the ones in charge.

Identify and Reiterate Pain Points

One of the most important things to do during a sales call is to identify and reiterating the prospect’s pain points. It sets the stage for the value that your product or service brings to them, showing that you and your representatives genuinely care about their needs.

Look through the prospect’s social media accounts to accurately identify pain points. Are they complaining about something? Then, during the call, ask questions that drive them toward your desired answer, either “I don’t know how to do that,” or ‘I’ve never done that before.”

Your representatives shouldn’t tell the prospect what their problem is. Instead, the prospect has to admit it themselves. Only then will they be receptive to the product or service you’re offering.

Discuss and Reiterate Opportunities

Before ending the sales call, your representatives should summarize the benefits that your product or service brings to the table, enabling the prospect to visualize how it will help make their workload much more straightforward.

Failing to discuss and reiterate opportunities means leaving the sales loop open, giving space for your competitors to enter. Your representatives are trained to guide the prospect throughout the sales circle, from pain points and product value to the ultimate solution. Not doing this creates the likelihood that they’ll be misunderstood and dismissed.

Don’t Be Afraid of Silence.

An awkward silence may be bad news on dates and job interviews, but it can only mean good things in a sales call. Train your representatives to embrace it – doing so might feel uncomfortable, but it will prove better in the long run.

Decision-makers tend to think carefully and speak more slowly, which means that awkward silence during a sales call can sometimes mean that they’re seriously trying to wrap their heads around the representative’s proposal. Breaking this with useless chatter will interrupt their line of thought, which will undoubtedly lose you the deal.

However, silence can also mean that the prospect is unsure how to respond. If your representative believes that this is the case, then train them to ask open-ended questions instead of ones that require only a “yes” or “no.” This will prevent the decision-maker from becoming disengaged during the sales call.

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