Selling over the phone- mistakes and solutions

Practice makes a man perfect has to be re-read here as practice makes your call perfect. Selling over the phone calls for a lot of trial and error. Making the call with quick attention-grabbing strategies and leading the customers to a proper solution through different stages of a sales call surely formulate easy ways of business success.

Many sales reps complain about the repetitive failures in continuing the call. Without identifying the drawbacks of their strategy, it is meaningless to have a fresh trial. If you are also facing similar problems in your sales calls, this write-up is for.

We will be addressing the problems in three categories like, before a call, on the call, after a call

1. Before a call

A global approach will be the most negative trait for a sales call. The prospects may be cold or warm so their needs will be diverse. This calls for a versatile customer-centric approach in your marketing calls. The three basic and inexcusable mistakes in this stage are,

Less research

Be it a cold call or warm call, the success rule behind every deal works like 80% research and 20% promotion. The adequate groundwork before any call will aid you in making ideal calls.

The generic scripts are going to irritate a large proportion of your leads and no better way to get it marked as a spam call. Such calls, lacking customization falls under dead call.

How to fix

The best and only solution to the above problem is thorough research about your customer. For example, if you are targeting a particular business, straight from their website you will get the team member details. Identify the potential decision-makers amongst them. You may have to work a little hard on this as all such details may not be available on a single platform. Seeking the help of social media you can easily amass their profile details and contact information. LinkedIn like platforms are really a boon for data mining.

 Digging a little deeper may reveal their business-related updates also. The prevailing technology in their business, difficulties faced by them, employee and training requirements, and software updating kind of things will surely give you a thread for the call. Accordingly, you start making the script for that particular prospect.

This systematic and personalized approach will differentiate you from a regular spam call, giving you more credibility and leads you to the easy business closing.

Multiple call objectives

The core intent behind every sales call is ‘product selling’. But does it sound like you must overwhelm the prospects with too many descriptions about your product?  For instance, you are making a cold call and explain the lead about the pricing details of your services without even knowing their interest in your service. This may turn-up into a disgusting experience for them and mere time wastage for you.

How to fix

You are supposed to plan multiple calls for a single prospect, each having a particular goal plan. For that, identify the position of the client in your marketing funnel. Take a look into their pain points and efficiently interpret them. Accordingly, decide the number of individual calls needed for them. Set a single goal for each sales call and concentrate on that alone.

Never allow your prospect to stagger in their thoughts while on the call; instead pull them to the answer that you are looking for, by the end of a call.

Think realistic before each call and get some idea about:

  • probable challenges in the call
  • how you can face it
  • what is the goal of that particular call

Rehearse with the potential queries and answers; you are good to go!

No grip on ‘time’

The recent research shows that only 1% cold calls engender appointments. So, it is better to contemplate warm leads (provide an internal link to- 3.lead nurturing journey). Each second you are spending on a call can make a difference to your business.  I never signify you can spend hours in a sales call to convince your prospects. The sales call during office hours turns out to be more than frustrating. Also, repeating the same point without any value addition, for too long will be less appreciated.

How to fix

For identifying the best time to a sales call, you assess the office time of different businesses. When they are about to wind up, they will be free from distractions and you can easily reach them. Try to wind up the call within 20 to 30 minutes. In that sense,  4 pm – 5 pm will be an ideal slot. Some also identified the 11 am-12 pm slot before a lunch break gives the maximum response. Also, Hub spot identifies Wednesday and Thursday as the best days for a sales call.

2. On the call

Though you are set with all research and data for a sales call, you can make it or break it when you are ‘on the call’. The common flaws, sales reps normally commit at this stage are listed

Sticking too much on the script

After your whole preparation for a particular lead, you will be in a hurry to accomplish your business closing mission. You have the whole script for that call and it’s obvious you behave more like a spokesman. Their problems may be different from your agenda and they may be in a frantic search for the solution. When you fail to listen, the business may take a wrong diversion and finally, you may lose the deal.

How to fix

Listen, listen and listen! This is the most powerful strategy for unpredictable customer behaviour. When you are in a sales call, be prepared to adapt with the customer needs and behaviour.

 Let the customers feel empowered than compelled when it comes to a purchase. The salesperson can straight away achieve this with patient listening and affectionate communication.

Try to maintain the same tempo as that of your listener. Work out some emotional connection on your brand and glorify your service with testimonials and referrals from other famous business.

Inability to read between lines

At the initial stages of a sales call itself, an expert salesperson can understand the inclination of the lead. The prospects may not express their interest or objections openly to a stranger. Instead, they will be having a lot of queries and concerns. If you give a yes/ no type of reply to them and go back to your agenda, they will find your business inappropriate.

How to fix

Learn to read between lines. Identify the positive and negative tones in their communication. Some queries will be s sign of their interest in the business and some statements can be a mere objection. Always speak positively as an expert in your field and lend your hand in finding solutions (if possible) to their problems even if it won’t come under your business. This will help to build a good rapport with the leads.  Next time, when in need, they prefer you amongst other business in the same field.

3. After a call

 Concentrating on certain actions, after a sales call is as important as the earlier two cases. Paying less attention to such things will bring a declination on your business graph. The general faults at this stage are,

No objective evaluation

All sales calls will not bring success to a business. Some may be fruitful and others will be a disaster. A rare fraction of business executes a backward analysis of their sales call. Many others are least bothered about which strategy brought success to them or what exactly made them lose a customer. This negligence keeps on reflecting, in their future operations when they move ahead to another call with some other lead.

How to fix

Qualitative analysis of each sales call will be the only solution.  Record all the sales call and segregate them into successful and failed calls. Observe them keenly. Then you can conclude the common features for all the calls you won and faults with the failed. Recording these findings will greatly help you to guess ‘how to make a sales call successes’.

‘No’ follow-ups

After a hot call or closing call, many of the salespersons will expect the clients to respond as per their promise. Some sales reps will be hesitant to call the clients in-between thinking that the call may be an annoyance to your client. But never expect a client to contact you back, as you are one among many to them. The probabilities are high that they get other similar offers from some proactive salespersons and you lose the call.

How to fix

Don’t wait for the client’s response beyond a particular duration. You can just put a gentle reminder to them indicating the next action plans. This will furnish them a feel that you desperately wish for a deal from them and help you building trust and relationship.


Though the sales calls are an age-old tradition in marketing, people still get stumbled upon the basic tactics of selling over the phone. It is time to change your outlook towards the marketing calls and in no way consider it as a plain phone call between you and a potential customer. Do proper homework; face your customers with a deadly combination of tactics and confidence. 


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