You would be hard-pressed to find a sales engineer who enjoys pitching over the phone. They don’t like it. The calls take too much time. They don’t know if someone will even pick up or not. Cold calling usually makes technical sales engineers nervous.
Keep reading to find out how to pitch on the phone for more productive calls.
Confidence is Key
Typically, most people not just sales engineers, don’t like making phone calls. Confidence plays a huge role when you call someone.
To keep your confidence up, mentally prepare yourself for how the call will go. Will someone answer the call? Will I just be directed to voicemail? What if they ask me something I don’t know?
These questions are why people often lack confidence in making a sales call. However, these questions shouldn’t stop sales engineers from making those calls.
Phone Calls are Personal
A phone call is more personal and instant compared to an email. If someone answers your call, you need to be ready for the possibility of making your pitch right then and there. Although this doesn’t often happen, you always be on go.
Comparatively, when you email someone, you have all the time in the world to make sure you choose the right words. Then you send it out and wait for someone to reply. When they respond, you have even more time to think of your answer. It’s no wonder sales engineers prefer sending emails over calling.
However, pitching over the phone has its own benefits.
Back in the day, I used to make 110 to 120 sales calls in a span of 8 hours. When I owned an agency that offered this service to clients, the number even went up to 150 calls a day.
What did I discover during this time?
With over 100,000 calls placed over four years, 77% led to voicemail. This means that majority of the time, the person you’re calling won’t answer. This piece of information is good to know and will help manage your expectations about pitching over the phone.
Leave a Voicemail
If the person you’re calling doesn’t pick up, you should always leave a voicemail even if the chances of getting a return call are slim. There could be several reasons they don’t answer:
- They don’t want to be sold to.
- They forgot about your voicemail.
- They never check voicemail.
- They don’t have the time to call you back.
Despite all this, it’s essential to leave a voicemail. This is one way of letting that person know you called and making your presence felt.
Follow Up with an Email
Additionally, you have to take ownership of trying to get in front of the person you called. After you leave a voicemail, it’s a must that you also email them. Even if you don’t have the person’s email, oftentimes this information is listed on the company website.
Using Zoom info or leaving them a message on LinkedIn are also options. You need to continue the process of reaching out to them.
Make a Follow-Up Call
Another important thing to remember is to make a follow-up call. Some salespeople avoid doing this, thinking that they can’t call them even after a week or two because the prospect might find them annoying.
However, remember that you didn’t actually get to talk to them on the phone. You only left a voicemail, so calling them again isn’t annoying them. Call them back 3 or 4 days after your initial call and try again to get them on the phone.
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Successful Calls are About Mindset
To win at sales you have to change your perspective on calling. You’re trying to help the person you’re calling because you want to learn if they need your service or product. It’s not to bother or bug them. After all, you’re just asking for 3 to 5 minutes of their time, which most people can spare.
Also, the people you’re calling aren’t your customers yet. You’re not even sure if the person is a qualified prospect. Calling them a few times a month, or even twice a week, until you get a hold of them will not harm any future relationship you might have. It will just give you a better idea if he or she is a qualified lead worth pursuing.
Know Your Goals
In general, technical sales engineers have moved away from using the phone in the last 5 to 7 years. However, making those calls are still important in the industry and in technical sales in general. Even if people nowadays rely heavily on marketing and a company website to bring in warm leads, calling should still one of your sales techniques. One good thing about using the phone today is that you’ll stand out.
Here’s one more important note to remember about sales pitches over the phone. You need to keep in mind your call purpose of moving your prospective customer to the next stage. Make sure you know your goal before you pick up the phone.
The purpose of your call depends on the product or service you are selling. Your purpose could either be to schedule a product demo or secure a meeting, either via video or face-to-face.
Start the Conversation
Think of the phone call as a high-level qualification. The call is to introduce yourself and your company. This is a quick way to answer critical prospect-related questions such as, “What are the top 3 issues in your supply chain?” or “Is your company currently exploring ways to reduce your spend?”
If you’re fortunate enough to get the right person to answer, this is the time you have to ask a few key questions. Get them to say yes or no to your number one goal, which is to secure a meeting or a demo.
If they answer your call or call you back, make sure to schedule the follow-up meeting while you’re already on the phone with them. Don’t go without securing a date for your next meeting. You can even offer to do the demo right then and there if they have more time to spare and make sure to be ready if this happens. Remember – a phone call is a great way to qualify leads and move them to the next stage.
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