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How To Use The Telephone To Find The Right Person And Make The Sale

By: Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley

Ron Sathoff is a noted speaker and manager of DrNunley's  He provides copy-writing, marketing, Internet promotion, and help for business speakers. Reach him at or 801-328-9006.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at Reach Kevin at or 801-328-9006.

The telephone is probably the most personal and powerful selling tool ever invented.  You can reach almost anyone anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds.  You can be helpful, personable, and immediately respond to questions, concerns, and needs.

It is no wonder that telephone selling is at the heart of business.  In many industries and with a big percentage of customers, you can't close the deal without a phone call.

But what happens when you can't get past the secretary to talk with the woman who writes the checks?  Or even after the second and third try you are still getting their voice mail?

Here are some easy ways to get through to the right person and make the sale:

  1. If you are not sure who has the authority to place an order, make several calls.  Call the management suite.  Call purchasing. Have yourself transferred to someone in accounting.  Start your question with "Who handles..."  Listen closely.  You will quickly get a feel for how the organization operates and who is in charge of the area you are interested in.

    The last thing you want to do is waste time having multiple phone conversations with someone who can't approve the purchase. Taking time to find out who writes the checks and how to get through to them can increase your success fast.

  2. Write down a short list of points you want to cover in your conversation.  You don't need to memorize it.  Just keep it in front of you.

    As the conversation progresses, you can use your "talking points" to keep the discussion on track and moving toward your goal.

  3. Ask questions.  The person who is asking the questions controls the conversation.  Listen for the prospect to answer, then repeat their answer back to them.

    Say, "If I'm hearing you correctly, you need......and you're concerned about...  Let me answer those concerns."

    In most cases, once you satisfy their concerns, people place an order.

  4. Ask WHEN they will be ready to act.  They may say I need it now.  Or they may let you know they are nowhere near ready to buy.  Either way, a surprising number of prospects will give you a very precise idea of their intentions if you ask this pointed question.

  5. If the prospect or his assistant tells you this isn't a good time to talk, offer two dates and times for you to call back. Rather than saying I'll call back another time, setting a date and time gives you an appointment.

  6. Did you get an answering machine or voice mail?  Don't just leave your name and number.  Record a short sales pitch.

    "Ralph!  This is Linda May at Tagline.  I want to give you a discount on our new system that improves profits 20 percent. Reach me at....  I'm in all day today."

  7. People who can place orders are invariably busy.  You may find your prospect is trying to handle interruptions and problems while he is talking to you.  If there appears to be a serious distraction going on, say it sounds like you've got a lot going on.  How 'bout I call back in 30 minutes or an hour?

    The prospect will appreciate you giving him a chance to get things back to normal.  And by offering to call back a short time later, you keep the prospect from putting you off indefinitely.

  8. Finally, keep notes about your conversation.  You will look organized and professional for being able to pick up where the previous conversation left off the next time you call.

    Many managers are up their eyeballs in responsibility and love it when you help them keep the project organized.

    You can also make notes about a prospects favorite project or personal life.  Natalie, I remember your son is graduating this semester.  Being able to remember little things like that endear you to the customer and often become a key factor in getting you the sale.

© Copyright 2001, Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley

Other Articles by Ron Sathoff
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