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How to sell over the phone

How to sell over the phone

Phone Selling Tips

Even the best salesperson on your team may face certain challenges when it comes to making sales by phone. Getting everyone up to speed on some of the best ways to succeed in telesales situations gives your whole organization a valuable advantage. Consilio is here to offer some helpful tips and tools you can share with your employees to boost their phone sales success rate – and, by extension, the overall success of your business.

Making a Connection

These days, everyone is in a hurry and many people don’t have the time or the patience to entertain sales calls. How, then, do you connect with potential customers and transform that “potential” into a done deal? Here are a few ways to start every call strong:

● Open with a friendly comment or pleasant topic. Great weather, weekend plans, and even just a sincere inquiry about how the person’s week is going are solid contenders that get the call going in a positive direction.

● Be confident. The best salespeople are naturally confident, so this one should be a no-brainer. People respond much more readily to someone who seems to know what they’re talking about. This means that every member of a sales team should be an expert who is fully able to provide additional information when requested and answer any questions that might arise during the call.

● Be natural. Connecting with a potential customer requires that they like you. If a salesperson sounds like they’re reading straight from a script, or like they’re putting on a phony friendly front, then they’re going to miss the mark. Many successful salespeople swear by sitting up straight or even standing when they’re on calls, saying that this helps them speak more naturally and authoritatively.

● Listen to (and learn from) your calls. It can be very helpful to replay recordings of past sales calls to see what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved upon.

Things to Avoid

Any list of do’s worth its salt is accompanied by an equally important list of don’ts. Here are a few things you should advise your sales team to avoid when they’re selling by phone:

● “Um, uh, er.” These verbal fillers lessen the impact of what you’re saying and can make you seem uncertain and timid. Work on weeding verbal tics out of your sales approach, replacing them with short pauses to collect your thoughts when you feel one coming on.

● Talking too fast. The tendency to speed up your words increases when you’re feeling nervous, so if the phone makes you start to speed-talk, make it a point to slow things down – way down. Speaking 20% slower than you ordinarily would will make your words clearer and lend confidence to your tone.

● Thinking your luck will change. A salesperson who has hit a dry spell may be tempted to think that they’re due for some success. That may not be true, however, and could lead to complacency and lack of growth. Often a series of strike-outs means it’s time to take a closer look at sales techniques and approaches and make some changes. It’s important to keep honing your skills and seeking to improve along the way.

Strengthen Your Sales Team

Keeping your team primed and ready for any type of sale – on the phone, in person, or in any other scenario – is the most effective way to optimize every encounter with a potential customer. Develop a plan for continuing sales training to ensure that every sales associate in your organization is achieving top-tier performance and measurable results!

Strategic Thought Partners

Strategic Thought Partners

So, what exactly IS a strategic thought partner in the business world?

Thought partnership is defined as a practice through which experience and ideas are shared with others to easily navigate through difficult challenges. Thus, a strategic thought partner in a business is someone whom you can pair up with to act as your soundboard. You resonate your different ideas with each other to expand on the intellectual capital in your organization and ask better questions, advance faster, as well as focus on priorities. 

There are various forms of thought partnership. There is thought partner consulting, as well as coaching. But it is also known for showing up in settings that are less formal, such as a colleague, mentor, or research buddy. 

Why Hire a Strategic Thought Partner from Consilio?

Thought partnership is related to solving and innovating real-time issues that require adaptation. A true strategic thought partner will be on the same level as you and bring diverse expertise and experience to the table. Hiring Consilio to be your thought partnership company will feel a lot like a supportive conversation with a like-minded peer. Having extensive experience with thought partnership, we are able to have empathy for your challenges and understand your environment. 

Thought partnership at Consilio aims at ensuring that your ideas and plans are ready for action and primed for implementation. Thus, you will not disappoint your superiors when you present these to them. In addition, we have a deep understanding of proven methodologies, as well as experience with building internal competencies. Hiring us will mean employing a thought partner for your entire team.


The Benefits of Having a Strategic Thought Partner

A strategic thought partner allows you to voice your thinking and then integrates it with research. This helps in the development of critical materials and plan to assist organizations in progressing. Below are several other benefits of entering into a thought partnership.

  1. You receive a plan which you can implement, as it is designed and developed by reliable people. Thus, a buy-in is ensured.
  2. You have access to top-notch analysis from thought partner consulting firms without having to break your bank. In addition, you do not have to pay for the addition of employees on a permanent contract.
  3. You have a team of smart employees who have previously received training in understanding the way your organization works. They are also familiar with strategic decisions, as well as trade-offs.

Things to Look for in a Strategic Thought Partner

It is the responsibility of a thought partnership company to ensure that they are able to engage around an opportunity, problem, topic, or idea. Therefore, your chosen strategic thought partner should be able to let the conversation flow. Here are a couple of other traits that your thought partner should possess.

  1. A thought partnership entails guidance. Thus, the right thought partner is able to provide direction to those who have been given transformational responsibilities to progress, plan, and learn the implementation. They assist in the generation of quick and sustainable results.
  2. They should be able to work alongside you to help you understand inclusion principles, best practices, change management, and governance.
  3. Thought partners must have the capacity to assist in the development of sustainable strategies.
  4. The right strategic thought partner will help in developing focused and effective teams.
  5. They ensure that you are able to understand your responsibilities in an organization, as well as lead and manage the process of change.
  6. Thought partners should have ample qualifications and certifications to guide you when it comes to sustaining momentum, communicating effectively, and developing your capabilities.
  7. The result of an effective strategic thought partnership ensures that you are able to effectively deal with and adapt to increasing change.

Thought Partnership FAQs

  • What can I bring to a strategic thought partnership?

There is no proper set of skills that you can bring to the table in a thought partnership. You need to first gain an understanding of your areas of expertise and your own thinking. Research on the different styles of thinking and find those that inspire you the most. Evaluate how your distinct perspective has an impact on the value that you can add.

  • How does a strategic thought partnership work?

Sustainable results are not achieved simply through the installation of tools. A balanced approach is required, which includes effective change and leadership management, development of respect, trust, and cooperation amongst all involved, as well as networking through the sharing of experiences.

  • Why should I hire a thought partner?

Simply put, a thought partner helps in the improvement of results, increasing the value of customers and shareholders, along with transforming the organization to help them become their best versions by using best practices and proven methodologies.

  • How can I be an effective thought partner?

As a strategic thought partner, you must be empathic, inventive, and intellectually flexible. Not being involved in interpersonal competition and staying away from daily politics offers you an impartial view of challenges. Thus, you can make use of these advantages to deliver valuable insight.

Why So Many Sales Training Programs Are Mediocre

Why So Many Sales Training Programs Are Mediocre

Far too many sales training investments return mediocre results and some inject a lot of confusion into the sales team’s thinking that can reduce results.

Over the last 15 years, there has been a real shift in sales training toward content that is very analytical and case study oriented. Lengthy discussions and planning processes are used to get a clearer understanding of the buying process, psychological factors involved, buyer personality types, etc.  All of this stuff is interesting and stimulating, but is it truly addressing the most basic problem that causes most sales people to fail? We have met and interviewed thousands and thousands of sales people, which resulted in the publication of two best-selling books based on all that data gathering. What we find today is that the three most common causes of poor selling performance are:

  1. Not spending enough minutes during the day speaking with high capacity buyers/customers.
  2. Not being able to verbalize the most important sales communication in a convincing and credible way.
  3. Poor skill at executing the fundamental consultative sales process.

Let’s look at the most important sales communication which we call Bedrock Sales Communication Tools:

  • Communicating the three most important competitive advantages of the company.
  • Knowing who has the capacity to buy a lot of your product/service and knowing what to say to schedule a meeting or phone appointment with that person.
  • Able to communicate a concise and compelling success story of a customer/client of using a popular product/service.
  • Able to answer the question: “What do you and your company do?”
  • Can respond very effectively to the most common objections.
  • Explain what makes your company a better choice than your two strongest competitors.
  • Can get any sales conversation off to a good start with an effective agenda.
  • Knows how to respond when a sales process gets stalled.
  • Can explain a new product or service the company is offering in a convincing and interesting way.

Many sales managers assume or think their sales people know how to do this stuff so they move on to more “advanced” topics which usually means the latest greatest analytic account development system. When we test their sales people, we find that in nearly every case, well over half the team is unable to verbalize this basic sales communication in a way that is effective, credible and convincing.

Consilio fixes this problem. We also have great account planning programs too, but until the team has great sales communication skills that they can clear the bar with, it is best to stick to sales communication training topics because once sales people get good at these skills, their numbers really start to improve.

We do this with a drills-based delivery style that has much more repetition, practice and coaching than any of our competitors. It is so remarkable and different, we are willing to guarantee our results 100%.


Why So Many Sales People Fail

In nearly all cases, Sales People fail because they fall into BAD HABITS.


  • They don’t talk to enough high potential buyers on a regular basis
  • They cannot explain their company’s differentiating factors and competitive advantages in a compelling, credible and persuasive way.
  • They are not skillful at applying a proven sales process that generates rapport, discovers needs through good questions and listening then tailors the product/service to truly fit what the customer needs.
  • They are not effective at identifying buying objections/barriers and responding them in a way that lowers resistance and increases buying enthusiasm.

More than anything, what enables these bad habits is poor training, coaching and follow up.  When a sales team has a great sales manager that makes sure the sales people build good habits and learn the fundamentals of selling their product/service, then two things happen:

  1. Sales team members with potential learn, improve and eventually succeed.
  2. Poor performing sales team members either get better or are replaced relatively quickly.


There are Two Distinct Types of Sales Training

  1. Programs that focus on the communication challenges of selling
  2. Programs that focus on the planning, strategy and account management challenges of selling.

In our opinion, far too much money is spent on #2 when the real problems that are preventing greater success with more members on the sales team have to do with #1.  There is a time and place for focusing on things like how to leverage social networking, maximizing the CRM, the account development process, networking, building your personal brand, etc., but it’s very important to keep in mind that all those activities, all that planning, all those keystrokes into a master database ultimately are trying to create the EXACT same thing … more voice-to-voice or face-to-face selling conversations with people that have the authority to buy a lot of your product and/or service.  It is what happens in those moments, when that sales conversation begins, that determines success.   More often than not, the sales team members that are not top performers are not very effective at the most basic skills of selling.

  • They don’t talk to enough prospects and customers on a regular basis
  • They do not have an always available list of the 25 high potential buyers they are trying to schedule meetings with.
  • They do not have a compelling answer to the simple question: “Tell me what you do and a little about your company.”
  • They cannot explain their companies differentiating factors, competitive advantages and value proposition in a compelling, credible and persuasive way.
  • They are not skillful at applying a proven sales process that generates rapport, discovers needs through good questions and listening then tailors the product/service to truly fit what the customer needs.
  • They cannot get the customer/prospect to tell him/her the truth about what is causing them not to buy.

All the account development and CRM training in the world is simply not going to move the needle when a sales team member cannot do these things effectively.  From our experience, it is a waste of time, energy and money to train sales people on anything else until they demonstrate mastery of the fundamental and important selling skills.

Consilio, more than any training company on the planet, can quickly turn the fundamentals of selling into one of your company’s most powerful competitive advantages.


Why Most Sales Training Is Too Easy

Why Most Sales Training Is Too Easy

Very few sales training or customer service programs really challenge the participants to clear the bar and show they have learned the content.

This is because most sales training allots minimal time for actual practice and wastes a ton of time on discussion and brainstorming new ideas of what to do.

Sales professionals MUST be able to verbalize competitive advantages, a value proposition and responses to frequently heard objections. All the conversation and thinking and planning in the world isn’t going to give them the ability to do this under pressure. What will give them this ability is practice and repetition with strong coaching. Consilio is the only training company we are aware of that does this and we’ve seen a lot of other training organizations come and go over the last 30 years.

Our team is more similar to Navy SEAL trainers than academic facilitators. They conduct difficult drills, give examples, practice and practice more until every participant can clear the bar and verbalize the core selling language that creates business.

Most sales trainers have little real ability to coach in a group situation so they do what they’re comfortable doing; they lead a lot of group discussion and although participants may like this, the progress and pace is slow and comfortable.

Not with Consilio. The progress is fast, the challenge is high and the intensity of coaching is there every minute of the program. That’s why sales managers love Consilio training. Challenge your team and put them through a program that really makes them perform under pressure to do the things that matter in a sales interaction.


Why Best Practices Are So Important And Consistently Ignored

Why Best Practices Are So Important And Consistently Ignored

Every company in the world knows what best practices are and will say they are important

Every company in the world knows what best practices are and will say they are important, but when we talk with sales and customer service teams rarely do we find anyone that can clearly articulate the 3-5 most important best practices that everyone that talks to customers must master.

Rarely = NEVER.

In many large companies, most likely, a consulting company like McKinsey did a study on best practices, put it in a very pricey report and the company executives nodded in agreement and some memos were sent around and the training department might even have taken notice, but operationalizing this critical information never happened. Knowing what the best practices are is critical, but it is much more important to develop a strategy and execute that plan to steadily turn those best practices into skills that more and more team members possess. This is the missing link and this is what Consilio specializes in.

The truth is, it doesn’t take much time or money to find out the best practices of the teams that actually talk and interact with customers whether they are sales or customer service. It always comes down to the same things. We know what these best practices are and we’ve been refining the coaching and training process to rapidly turn those best practices into a competitive advantage. That’s what it’s really all about.

People that interact with the customer need to be very good at verbalizing critical pieces of information. This is where the breakdown always is. They know in their brains MUCH MORE than they are able to effectively verbalize. Consilio fixes this frustrating problem with the most drill-oriented, practice-based training on the planet. It is extremely challenging with rigorous coaching and demanding exercises. Consilio is not about lengthy case studies with invigorating discussions and analysis; Consilio is about practicing how to verbalize a company’s competitive advantages, value proposition, differentiating factors, product advantages and all the important elements of a sales interaction like how to:

  • get the meeting off to a good start with an organized agenda.
  • recap and summarize to move the conversation forward.
  • answer the question: “Why should I do business with you?”
  • ask great questions and really listen then summarize.
  • respond to the most frequently encountered objections.
  • verbalize the price / cost relationship of their products and services.

Sales People need to see the right people, say the right things, organize themselves to get things done on time, communicate with credibility and conviction and follow up relentlessly.

Customer service people need to develop a helpful and positive voice tone, know how to listen and ask questions, reassure the customer they will get their problem solved, and pay attention for clues that can help them make an up sell offer that is HELPFUL to the customer.

These things simply don’t change and unfortunately, more and more companies every day are forgetting to train and coach their people to become masters of these core skills.  That’s where Consilio comes in. Check out middle management training as well.