First impressions are important – especially as a sales rep trying to win more business. When you get on the phone with a potential buyer for the first time, every word you use can make or break a future sale.

With so many tasks to accomplish during a first call, it’s easy to forget the simplest one – making a good first impression.

If you’re struggling to capture your prospects’ interest during your first call, it may be time to freshen up your strategy. We’ve put together some tips that will help you hook your buyers and win more business right from the start.

How to Win More Business on Your First Call

Step 1: Do your research

No two buyers are exactly the same. Therefore, it’s important to gather information about a prospect before getting them on the phone. You’ll be more prepared for whatever questions they throw at you, and your familiarity with their background will impress them.

Believe it or not, 82% of B2B decision makers find sales reps to be unprepared for their calls (source). And, shockingly, a significant portion of sales reps agree – 42% say they don’t have the right information before making a sales call (source).

If you don’t prepare for your calls, you lack the vital information you need to hook your buyer and win their business. Great research starts and ends with accurate data – so check out the following blog post for more details: 21 Statistics to Improve Your Cold Calls. You’ll be sure to win more business.

Step 2: Perfect your opening statement

There are a number of talking points you need to hit during an initial sales call – but if you don’t impress your prospect with your opening statement, you risk losing your prospect seconds into the call.

Right off the bat, you should provide the following information:

  • Who you are.
  • What company you’re calling from.
  • The reason for your call.

Cold calls are frustrating for both parties. There’s no way around that. Your prospects are understandably impatient – so, it’s essential that you get right to the point. Here are some best practices to guide your opening statement:

Personalize it: Show your prospects that you aren’t just another sales rep—make it clear you’ve done your research and have a reason for the interruption. Make a reference to their specific company or industry. Have a basic script, but modify it depending on the specific prospect you’re reaching out to.

Establish the right tone: Delivery is key – you want to sound confident, intelligent and passionate right from the start. Even if you’re reading from a script, the worst mistake you can make is sounding like you’re reading from a script. But, remember, there’s a fine balance. You want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, but you don’t want to come across as arrogant or overly confident.

Be gracious: You’re taking time out of the buyer’s day and it’s important to demonstrate your appreciation. Thank them and make it clear that your only intention is to solve a specific problem or bring value to them in some way.

Your opening statement is quite literally the first impression you’ll make, so don’t slack on practicing it prior to a call. Go over it enough times that when you actually say it on the phone, you’re confident that every word you use is the right one.

Step 3: Be concise

The first call is all about maintaining balance. That goes for the questions you ask and the amount of time you spend on the phone. Research shows that the optimal length for an SDR call is between 6-10 minutes; calls of that length convert at 29% compared to 22% for calls that exceed 10 minutes (source).

Fitting everything into a 6-10 minute window may be daunting, but remember: the first call is an introduction that should lead to further communication. With the right preparation, 10 minutes is ample time to qualify the prospect, discuss your solution, and answer any questions they may have.

Early in the conversation, let them know that this call won’t take up too much of their time. That way, they’ll be more attentive and eager to listen to what you have to say. As the call wraps up, ask for a specific time to schedule a follow-up.

Step 4: Don’t avoid questions

Most failed calls arise as the result of one simple fact – salespeople and buyers often don’t want to discuss the same things. Consider these statistics (source):

  • 58% of customers want to discuss pricing in the first call, whereas only 23% of sales reps do.
  • 54% of customers want to know how the product works, but only 23% of sales reps want to offer a demo.
  • 63% of sales reps want to know the reason the customer needs to make a purchase, but just 37% of customers want to discuss this.

The reason for this disconnect between salespeople and potential buyers is obvious. Prospects want specific information about your product – what exactly is it, and how much will it cost me? And they want this information right away.

On the other hand, salespeople use an initial phone call to read their prospect. They’re trying to learn if the product is a good fit and how they can sell it to this person, all while trying to hook their interest. There’s a lot going on during a first phone call.

So how can you deal with this disconnect? Easy – don’t shy away from what the buyer wants to discuss. Have a clear outline of points you want to hit on in the conversation, but also be sure to ask the prospect what they want to talk about.

Step 5: Emphasize value

As stated above, potential buyers almost always want to discuss the price of your solution. But it’s a mistake to turn the conversation to money before establishing the value of your products. If it’s well within their budget, they may move forward with a purchase. But for those with tighter budgets, they still need to be convinced that they need your solution. Again, don’t ignore their questions if they ask about price, but be sure to emphasize the ROI of your product.

We cover this topic in depth, here: 4 Ways to Establish Value in the Face of Price Objections.

Step 6: Provide examples

Your product may be the best on the market, but don’t make your prospect take your word for it.  Provide success stories, testimonials, and case studies. This doesn’t need to take up your entire phone call. But by doing so, you offer clear proof of your product’s value. Plus, big name customers lend weight to your sales pitch.

Key Takeaways to Win More Business

Remember: preparation and attitude go a long way. No matter how great your product is, a stiff, uninterested sales rep will never win business. Give the prospect a reason to enjoy this first conversation – and they’ll be more likely to buy from you.

If you’re interested in learning other ways to win more business, or simply want to improve your B2B sales and marketing programs, contact ZoomInfo today. Our B2B database can support and improve your most important business initiatives.

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About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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