Here are 7 inside sales tips that can immediately improve everything you are doing.
1. Don’t sound like a salesperson
Your prospects get sold to a lot. Their phone will ring all day with people like you trying to sell them something. Being aware of this could be used to modify how you approach them.
Having a constant flow of salespeople trying to sell something can be annoying and actually costly from a time-wasted standpoint. This makes your prospects a little defensive and guarded against salespeople.
If you agree with that assumption, the correct way to try to counter this is to do what you can to not sound like a salesperson. That might sound tough because you are ultimately trying to sell something, but there are many and small changes you can make to what you say that will make you sound more like a business person than a salesperson.
2. Have a list of key questions to ask
Many salespeople focus on what best to say to describe what they are selling and the company they work for. What is more powerful than this is focusing on what key questions to ask the prospect. The best salesperson is the one that asks the best questions.
It can be extremely helpful to ask probing questions to your prospect to see if they have any of the problems or interests that you help to provide or fix. This will not only help you to determine what prospects to pursue, but it will also help you with all of the other inside sales tips listed here, like not sounding like a salesperson for example.
3. Don’t sell the product, sell the conversation
As salespeople, we have a product to sell and a quota to hit. This provides both motivation and pressure to always be selling. Or always be closing as many might say.
It is OK to always be closing, but what is important here is what you are trying to close. If you follow your natural instincts, you will always be trying to close the sale of the product. The problem with this is that a better thing to focus on closing in many inside sales scenarios is to try to close for the conversation (meeting, appointment, etc.) before trying to close the for the product.
4. Prepare for objections
One of the inside sales tips that you will be able to see an immediate improvement with is being more prepared for the objections that you will face. You are going to face the same objections again and again:
I am not interested.
I don’t have time right now.
Is this a sales call?
Just send me your info.
You can either be unprepared and “wing it” when you face one of these. Or you can list out the objections that you can anticipate and then prepare responses for what you think you should say. Which do you think would position you for more success?
5. Have a game plan for gatekeepers
When you are going through some outbound phone prospecting, you can spend as much as 50% of your time having your call answered by some sort of gatekeeper. This could be a front-desk receptionist, switchboard operator, or executive assistant.
These gatekeepers will be an obstacle for you because in most scenarios they are operating with the clear objective to screen calls from people like you out. Not only can they often be effective at this and stand in your way of making progress, but getting shut down by a gatekeeper is not fun at all and it can just about ruin your day.
While you may feel that there is not much you can do to improve your ability to get around gatekeepers, there are many that you can easily implement to improve your results. Here are a few:
- Name-drop other contacts in the organization to establish social proof
- Don’t sound like a salesperson
- Befriend the gatekeeper to build rapport
- Treat the gatekeeper like the prospect by asking them your pre-qualifying questions
6. Structure for what to do with voicemail boxes
If you are not having to deal with gatekeepers when phone prospecting, you might find yourself running into nothing but voicemail box after voicemail box. It can sometimes feel like prospects never answer the phone.
While it might be true that it can be difficult to get prospects to answer the phone, this does not mean that we should not call. But one thing you should do is keep in mind these inside sales tips and have a plan for what to do when you reach a prospect’s voicemail box.
Many salespeople will operate with the question of whether to leave a message or hang up without leaving a message. The voicemail box is one way that you have to communicate with the prospect. It is not the best channel for communicating but it is one.
At certain points in your prospecting, leave voicemail messages for the prospect and use that brief time to educate the prospect on why they should talk with you.
7. Have some sort of call cadence
As mentioned in the other inside sales tips, getting a hold of prospects can be difficult. To improve your ability to connect, use some sort of call cadence that provides the structure for when you call back to try to reach them again and how many times you circle back before walking away.
One approach is to use 3 or 4 rounds of calls. Here is a sample breakdown:
- Round 1: 1 call attempt, 1 pre-call email – pause 1 day
- Round 2: 1 call attempt, 1 voicemail message, 1 voicemail follow-up email – pause 7 days
- Round 3: 5 to 10 call attempts, 1 voicemail message, 1 voicemail follow-up email – pause 7 days
- Round 4: 5 to 10 call attempts, 1 voicemail message, 1 voicemail follow-up email – close and add to an email drip campaign