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Phone selling is not an art. It is not something for the gifted few with innate powers to convince people to buy something. Selling is math. By adding certain things together, you will get the sale. Sales is as simple as 3 + 2 = 5.

There are three barriers on every sales call. First, the prospect feels like they are too busy and can’t talk to you right now. Second, the prospect feels like they are too important to deal with this. Third, and most important, the prospect doesn’t want to be sold anything. The selling equation tackles and defeats all three barriers. I’ve never seen this fail. I’ve watched nervous and shy phone reps turn into all stars as they learn and apply the selling equation. Again, selling is not art. Selling is math. It is as simple as 3 + 2 = Sales.

First, the three: (1) Build Rapport, (2) Voice Inflection, and (3) Stress Key Points

Build Rapport. Build Rapport is one’s ability to establish trust over the phone. Think about the people in your life that you really trust. You can probably count that number on one hand or maybe two. Now a salesperson has the difficult task of establishing that level of trust over the phone. How does one do it? First, is confidence. You have to have confidence. You have to be booming with confidence. It has to be overflowing. Second, you have to ask the right questions. Ask questions that get the person talking about their business or their needs. People love to talk about themselves so take advantage of that. Third, smile. People can hear your smile through the phone. Oh and never ask “How are you today?” That is a salesperson’s way of saying “Don’t trust me, I’m trying to sell you something.”

Voice Inflection. It is not what you say, it is how you say it. Find your natural tone of voice and use it on every call. Imagine how you would talk to a good friend that you haven’t talked with in years. That is your phone voice. It isn’t over enthusiastic. It isn’t super excited. It is natural. Be excited when it is normal to be excited. Be normal. Remember, people don’t want to be sold anything; people hate salespeople. But also remember, people love real people. If you are a real person over the phone, people won’t hang up on you. They’ll listen and engage.

Stress Key Points. There are certain things to emphasize on every call. You don’t do this by sounding excited about things. That isn’t natural (see Voice Inflection). You do this by a method called “Controlled Pausing.” In our brains is something called the Reticular Activator. This collection of nuclei is responsible for regulating arousal. When a person pauses, the reticular activator turns on and the person instantly pays attention to what was just said. So when you say something important, like one of your previous clients, or a fantastic unique benefit, take a little pause. Not too long. About ¾ of a second. This triggers the reticular activator in the brain of your prospect and they start paying attention to what you just said. They’ll remember the important things.

Now for the final two: Rebuttals and Closes

Rebuttals. 60% of sales come after the first no has already been said. Did you hear that? Most of your sales will come after the person has already said they don’t want it. The best rebuttals aren’t comebacks. The best rebuttals are engagement statements/questions that get the person talking.  Questions like, “Tell me about your current sales process” or “before I let you go, tell me how you currently generate qualified leads.” Ask questions that engage the prospect. I teach people to have 2-3 engagement questions written down in their script so they can go to them immediately if the person says “I’m not interested.” Be quick on the engagement question trigger.

Closes. Be positive. Be assumptive. Be confident. Also, avoid yes or no responses. You want to give options, not yes or no statements. Instead of saying, “Can I send you our new widget?” say “I’ve got everything ready and can get the new widget  out to you on Wednesday or Thursday. Which day works better for you?” When closing a product sale, assume they have already said yes and you are just confirming. If your are in inside sales, provide two times for the follow up appointment, like “I’ve got time for you to meet with my VP next week on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday is wide open. Which day works better for you?” The best sellers close two or three times on every call.

The beautiful thing about a math equation is that it works every time. Selling is no different. I have spent over a decade listening to the best sales reps over the phone. The best reps follow the selling equation even if they don’t know it. It is as simple as 3 + 2 = Sales; (Build Rapport + Voice Inflection + Stress Key Points) + (Rebuttals + Closes) = Sales. Selling is not art. Selling is simple math.

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