blog article
Tony J. Hughes
Tony J. Hughes
min read

Rules to live by to master selling on the phone. Why would two people with the exact same script get wildly erratic outcomes positive and negative? What makes people buy from you?

1. If you're afraid of the phone, you don't have the right job. If you like your job, conquer that fear. If you are petrified to pick up the phone and call strangers, you really shouldn't be in sales. If you're afraid of being naked, you shouldn't be a swimsuit model. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

2. Actively listen. The people who are least listened to often have the most useful information. If you think of someone that's boring to you, they may secretly be much more interesting than someone that you'd be fascinated listening to. They have insights that are not over-tapped. People who get listened to a lot tend to have a routine that they put on. People lauded for their speaking abilities have a shtick that they do versus people that nobody talks to or don't feel important are often very genuine in their communication. Often the real decision maker is never flushed out, all the yes men and women are blocking them.

3. Confidence radiates from within: If you do not believe in yourself and your product, no amount of honing phone chops will save you.

4. WIIFM: (W)hat's (i)n (i)t (f)or the(m) - "The reason I'm calling is because" ___ compelling business case. (hat tip John Barrows)

5. Record all your calls: Especially discovery and negotiation/closing calls (BlueJeans) – be your hardest critic, build; be better!

6. Blended prospecting approaches will save you: 100 voicemails in 100 tries is OK if you COMBO (call, vmail, email) because that raises results 3-5X anachronistically (you'll get email backs for sure! - Read Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount for an effective treatise on this.

7. Always smile and power pose (shoulders back, headset key) – project your voice! (Scientifically proven to change your state. I love to open one shoulder up, lean back and put an arm over a side chair when seated at Board tables.)

8. Leverage advanced technology: Chris Beall is Batman, try ConnectAndSell to take your 4 live touches per day to 40 per rep. #Supercalifragilemysticespealidocious!

9. Principled Disinterest protects you: Sound calm, actually be ready to walk, practice "non-hunger" – how would you actually talk if you were face to face with Kim Kardashian or David Beckham?

10. Know your product or service back and forth: On a strategic level and as deeply technical as you can go. You'll get there; just keep your Solutions Consultants and CTO close. Hint: Do some RFPs just to learn how it all fits together front and back end.

11. Your best weapon will always be the true you. The coolest thing is believing you're good at something and knowing that you're awesome. Most people are looking to be told what is cool!

12. Seeking approval is uncool and will sink you: If you have nothing going for you, develop a skill. Become good at literally anything and it will give you confidence. Can somebody say Toastmasters? Lee Bartlett is a master fly fisherman who wins global competitions. How exceptionally quirky is that!

You will have success when you really, genuinely want to help people.

13. Study Hostage Negotiation: The business world is obsessed with Chris Voss right now and "Never Split The Difference." I'm doing an entire post on this revelation soon! Have you read it? (Please comment below)

When you are trying to manipulate someone into doing something and don't really care how it will impact them, people can tell that; always!

The biggest question I get asked is, will the route to exceptional selling by phone and in person be mindset, experience or technique? Experience is a huge part of it. We can all read as many books and theories we can get our hands on but the application and failing forward is critical. You need to be willing to break some eggs to make an omelet. Test out these strategies.

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

Drill and dry run with friends, family members, and colleagues.

Record your calls and work on tone and intonation that is confident and goes down at the end of the sentence. Assess whether you cut your prospects off on disco calls or sound unsure.

Pipeline cures all ills. If you're willing to blow the call you're on, any call, no matter how big the prospect, you'll calm down and sound natural. 10X massive action gives you the 3X pipeline you seek so there's no longer a scarcity of leads, pipeline, or opportunities to close. This will allow you to forever operate from a position of strength.

Always see every situation in sales from the viewpoint of advantage. Remember you can't push on a rope; one must have leverage. And if you're reaching prospects out of the blue, your best carrot to dangle is their natural competitive instinct. They want to be the best also, the most innovative and ascend the ranks in their desired field. If you've helped similar people get there and can effectively (+ concisely) communicate in soft meets quantifiable terms, just how YOU helped them get there, you'll be golden in getting a response.

Make some noise in your office tomorrow. Stand up straight and exude confidence. Project! Let your management complain about your "irritating, strident, booming voice" or ask you to get a room. Then you'll know you're giving good phone. Haha, they're just complaining, we all know you're warm and authentic!

When I manage teams of reps, they haven't turned the dial up enough until I hear about the first complaint. Honey badger don't care. I've even run SPIFFs for the first email the CEO gets complaining about the 7th touch.

Be a pro, be elegant, and drive to the "no." If they complain you were too persistent and aggressive as long as you never crossed the line of professionalism, so be it.

It's not Machiavellian, it's B2B.

About the author

Tony J. Hughes
Tony J. Hughes

Tony is a co-founder of Sales IQ, committed to elevating professional selling and sales leadership for a Better Business World.

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