Sales best practices
Lesson Learned #5: Sales Calls and Lead Qualification
November 29, 2018
In lesson #5, "Sales Calls and Lead Qualification", we are going to discuss and give best practices on how to conduct sales calls and do lead qualification.
We are going to start with the best way to open your calls, then we will discuss the lead qualification process followed by the handling of objections and the best way to close sales calls.
According to the popular saying "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression". In the case of sales calls, the call opener is your chance to create a good first impression. In order to nail it be sure to talk slowly, be polite and create context. Here are the simple guidelines that we use:
- Acknowledge and thank your prospects for their time
- Introduce yourself and your company
- Mention previous emails/conversations to provide context
Make sure your prospects are engaged in the conversation before you start asking questions or pitching your product/service.
Some examples of good call openers are:
- "Thank you for taking the time to chat today..."
- "Is this a good time?"
- "Do you have a moment now?"
How NOT to open a call: Don't start with a pitch or feature description. The prospect will not care and will try to get off the phone as quickly as possible.
Best practices: Be polite! Use your prospects first name and make it brief.
Use your first sales calls to do lead qualification. The goal is to get to know your prospects, learn about their problems and understand their main goals for the near future. Prepare a call script with a set of qualifying questions that you would like to ask in order to qualify your leads.
Some examples of qualifying questions are:
- "How are you currently doing XYZ?"
- "What is your biggest challenge with XYZ?"
- "If you don't mind me asking, what are you using for XYZ today?"
- "What do you like about your current solution?"
- "What are your main goals in XYZ for the next quarter?"
The most important part of the qualification process is to remain silent and to listen to what your prospects have to say. Let them do the talking and you will learn a lot about their problems and expectations.
Take notes of the things they mention, and bring them up later in the conversation, this will show that you are paying attention and really care about their problems.
Best practices: Listen! Let them do the talking. Ideally, you would want them to talk ⅔ of the time while you talk ⅓ of the time.
Pitch and Handle Objections
The questions you ask in the lead qualification process will help you transition into pitch mode. You know their main problems and their main goals, now you can adapt your pitch to their particular situation. Deliver a short, concise and adapted pitch. Do not talk for too long! You don't need to mention all the features, instead, leave some easy questions open that you will be able to answer later.
A prospect almost never bites on the pitch with no questions or concerns, so you need to be ready to answer your prospects questions. The easiest way to prepare for this is to create a common objections document, where you and the members of your sales team write down the answers to the most common questions/concerns your prospects have.
Best practices: Be prepared. Maneuver around them, and ask more questions.
Closing for Next Steps
A good sales call should always finish with a clear call to action. The next steps should be clear to you and to your prospect. Make sure to agree to the next step before you hang up, be it scheduling a follow-up call, sending a proposal, sharing a link for a free trial, etc.
Some examples of good closings:
- "Thank you! The ball is in my court to send you a summary of our conversation and a calendar invite for our follow-up call. Look forward to speaking soon!"
- "Great I would be happy to send that out to you. When is the best time to speak again to review your thoughts on XYZ? Does either 3 or 4 PM work for you next Wednesday?"
Best practices: Never finish a call without agreeing to a clear next step with your prospects.
In the next lessons, we are going to dig into each step of the sales process. Stay tuned for the next lesson: Closing!
Here is the outline of this series:
- The Sales Process
- Lead Generation, Prospecting
- Outreach, Cold emailing
- Follow-up, Always Follow-up!
- Sales Calls and Lead Qualification
- Deliver and Support, Customer Success
- Ask for Referrals! Referral Marketing!
- Sales hacks!
- Refine, Repeat, Scale!
If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.
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