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How to Start a Sales Conversation Over the Phone

How to Start a Sales Conversation Over the Phone

How to Start a Sales Conversation Over the Phone

Selling by phone can be a gratifying career if you learn how to do it correctly.

Here’s how to start a sales conversation over the phone:

How to Start a Sales Conversation Over the Phone – Step #1

Know who your target audience is.

To start a sales conversation over the phone, the prospect has to be someone who can benefit from your selling solutions. Every business is only in business because they solve one or more problems for a specific audience.

It’s your responsibility to understand what problems your target audience would have to be interested in learning about your solutions.

Look for fundamental key prospecting indicators such as employee size, annual revenue, location, industry, and job function of the person you are calling.

The fastest way to do this is to make a list of 10 or more of your company’s BEST clients (best = most profitable + pays on time + renews + easy to work with + success stories + short sales cycles). 

You want to take all these factors in when identifying who your best clients are and then analyze what they all have in common.

How to Start a Sales Conversation Over the Phone – Step #2

Be prepared BEFORE picking up the phone.

One of three things will almost always happen when you make a sales call:

  1. You get the gatekeeper
  2. You get voicemail
  3. You get the prospect

Be prepared to know what “sales play” to run in each of these scenarios BEFORE you pick up the phone. Captain-Wing-its are only good salespeople when there’s low-hanging fruit. You want to be able to outperform even when business is tougher to get.

How to Start a Sales Conversation Over the Phone – Step #3

What to say after, “Hello, my name is…”

Your OVS (Opening Value Statement) objective is to pique interest and gain permission to continue the call.

When you call on a targeted prospect and pique their interest in the first few seconds of the call and gain permission to ask them a few questions, their guard is down because their curiosity is up.

Selling by phone is a straightforward step 1, step 2, step 3, and step 4 process.

Think in terms of baseball. You have to touch 1st base before going to 2nd base, 3rd base, and Homeplate.

Step 1 is your Opener. Step 2 is Qualifying. Step 3 is Presenting, and Step 4 is Closing.

When you learn how to create an OVS that piques your prospect’s interest, gain permission to continue the call, and then ask what I call “engagement questions,” you are now about to have a sales conversation.

You can learn how to create a customized opening value statement in this free online sales training course.


Record. Your. Calls.

Make sure you record your calls and review them with your manager or one of the top sales reps in your company. Then, when you have a successful sales call, make sure you keep a copy of that recording and refer back to it when you start to struggle.

Often, once we have it right, the little things cause us to not be as successful selling over the phone as we once were. Having a recording to refer back to when you had the Midas touch will be worth its weight in gold.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.