7 Simple but Effective Strategies to Increase Phone Conversion
Setting appointments and selling over the phone has changed dramatically.
Roughly a decade ago, it took 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today, it takes approximately 8 attempts, virtually doubling the effort it takes to land a solid contact for an appointment.
Yet, despite the added work required and the advent of digital contact strategies like emails, texts and videos, phone sales are alive and well.
They just require more strategy and a stronger mastery of the skills and approaches that net good results.
According to the study conducted by the Keller Institute at Baylor University, it takes about 7.5 hours on the phone to set one appointment or get one via making cold calls.
If you have an Inside Sales Agent ( ISA ) dedicated to making calls, you should be able to get one appointment or one to two nurtures per day.
What’s great is that having an ISA who can do this type of work for you on day-over-day basis can lead to a 5X to 7X return on your investment on a year-over-year basis.
Here are 7 simple but effective strategies you can use with your ISA to increase phone conversion and put your ISA in position to succeed.
1.Get Your Timing Right
Wasted time kills opportunity. If you’re going to have any success in improving conversion, you or your ISA have to call at the right times of the the day.
The original MIT Study from 2010 has been updated, but the data is still pretty similar with respect to the best times and days of the week to get results.
When are these days and hours:
- The best time period to contact leads is between 4:00-6:00 p.m.
- The best second best time period is between 8:00-10:00 a.m.
- The worst time period to call is between 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
- The best days to call are Thursday and Wednesday.
- The worst days to call are Tuesday and Monday.
Make sure that you look at the information regarding the study as the data is very telling. For instance, calling on Thursday versus Tuesday increases results by an almost 49%. Prospecting at 4:30 p.m. instead of 11:30 a.m. increases results by an average of 114%.
Saying that timing is everything might sound trite, but the face of the matter is that the right timing in making your prospecting calls can have a huge impact on your conversion results.
2. Talk to the Right People
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that there’s a always one person in a relationship who is the driver in the process.
To that end, your prospecting efforts should be geared at influencing that person over the phone, via email and text, over the phone and face to face.
In doing that, you should always be contacting that person and not their spouse, cousin, uncle, best friend, housekeeper, etc. while working towards setting the appointment and making the sale.
The person driving the process in a home sale could be more motivated than anyone else involved. As well, they could also have more influence over the other person or even more to gain by selling the home.
By talking to the person who’s not taking the lead in the process, you could not only be wasting time talking to the person who may not be able to get you in the door, but also you could be leaving the theoretical door open to another agent building a relationship with the decision maker and get the listing.
Find out who the right person to talk to is and then stay on top of them like the proverbial rat on a Cheeto.
3. Know Your Prospects Well
Your goal in prospecting is to warm up your sales calls to the best of your ability as soon as possible. It’s not easy on the first contact that you make, but you can certainly do it on subsequent phone calls.
As you build relationships with follow up calls and other contact methods, take advantage of the different means of researching people on the Internet so you can find out more about them and weave what you learn into your conversations.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn can give you a peek into people’s lives and find out a little more about what their needs are and what interests them.
At the same time, as you get to know them, you or your ISA can even make some level of additional contact through shared acquaintances and commenting on social posts.
Using the research you find and and making contact through other mechanisms on line help make a superficial connection with someone less cold and it helps lay the groundwork for a great relationship.
4. Always use scripts
A lot of sales people shy away from scripts when they’re on the phone using the excuse that they feel “robotic” on the phone.
The matter of fact is that there are no real drawbacks from using a sales script.
Scripts help you control sales calls and elicit proper responses from prospects so you can advance the sale with them.
In addition to that, a properly utilized script will also help you:
- Create consistency in your sales process and refine your approach.
- Build a set of standards for performance and improvement in your sales efforts.
- Spend more time speaking with prospects and less time thinking about what you’re going to say.
- Become a better listener and be more creative on the phone
Historically, there are only 10 objections that you will likely face and the majority of them are centered around time, motivation and money.
Once you learn the scripts to handling these objections and the prospecting calls you make consistently, you can have the effectiveness of a hired assassin on the phone.
5. Handle objections properly
Objections are a natural part of the sales process no matter how great of a job you do.
Timing, money and motivation will almost certainly come up in your conversations with prospects and getting ahead of them can be helpful in getting people to meet with you. In my experience, if you can handle the objection before your prospect gives it to you, you have the chance to position it in a positive manner...which is always a good thing.
The important thing is that you have at least one solid script to handle every objection that you or your ISA will face over the phone. That way, no matter what gets thrown your way, you can handle it like a pro. As well, it gives you the ammunition to continue to go back to your prospect to keep the sale moving towards the positive response you seek from them.
The good news is that as I mentioned earlier, there are a finite number of objections that will come up and with practice, you’ll be able to crush any one of them that is sent your way, leading to more appointments and sales.
Here’s a quick guide on how to handle an objection like a pro.
6. Employ active listening and let your prospect talk
Inbound and outbound prospecting activities are an inherently intense by nature. You are often on the offensive because you are continually trying to find people to sell to them. Although it’s counterintuitive, the best solution is simply to slow down, take your time and do some actively listening.
If you recall, I mentioned scripts a bit earlier in this blog. The best scripts - and the top sales people that use them - are focused on asking the right questions at the right time. You see, as it is, you’re inserting yourself into people’s daily lives at a time when they aren’t expecting you to call.
It’s tough enough to get the job done well.
To that end, you don’t need to create challenges for them or for yourself when prospecting. Rather, it’s your job to create an environment where the prospect is sharing the challenges they have and you are offering solutions for those challenges.
The best way to do that is to ask good questions and listen intently while facilitating an effective two-way conversation.
As the old adage says: you were given two ears and one mouth, use them in the proportion to which they were given you.
7. Don’t forget to follow up and close
42% of sales people say that the ongoing job of prospecting and continually following up is the toughest part of the sales process. 36% of them also say that closing is the next hardest thing for them to do.
As a skilled salesperson, you likely have your closing scripts nailed “lock, stock and barrel”, which puts you in position to secure opportunities for yourself at a good clip.
Despite that, it still requires a minimum number of contacts with a prospect before you get to use your “powerful close techniques’ with them face to face. Marketing Donut reports that 80% of sales require 5 follow up calls. 44% of salespeople quit after just 1 follow up.
In order to execute a solid follow-up strategy, you must do two things:
- Keep follow up out of the hands of your prospects. You’re the one that wants their business and as such, it’s your job to call. Be consistent. Be persistent. It will serve you well in the end.
- Schedule your follow up calls. Whether you set the time for you to call your prospects or you schedule it directly to call them, you must put subsequent calls in your calendar. Doing this gives you a call strategy to follow and it helps you keep up on your calls without missing out on opportunities.
Again, follow up is your responsibility, not your prospect’s.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: selling over the phone is more challenging than ever. Nonetheless, it’s worth the time, energy and effort because of the results it gets you.
Take the time to use the effective effective strategies I’ve shared here with you and you’ll be well on your way to crushing it on the phone.