What strategies work the best when using the telephone to prospect?

I write in my book, A Mind for Sales, a list of proven strategies when using the telephone to prospect.

Right now, I want to drill down on 10 strategies you can use to make the telephone work for you when prospecting.

Video – What Strategies Work When Using the Telephone to Prospect?

1. Use it!

I am amazed at the number of people who do not use the telephone to prospect. They justify it with thinking, “Nobody picks up and answers.”

Nobody picks up if you don’t call.

I realize answering rates might be down, but you know what? I can have one phone call and exchange more information in those two minutes than I will through half a dozen emails. Use it.


2. No Stupid Questions

What qualifies as a stupid question?

  • “How’s the weather?”
  • “How’s your weekend?”
  • “How’s your day going?”

Come on. Do you really think the person on the other end of the phone really cares what you think?

When you get somebody on the phone, you go right to what you are supposed to be talking about. Start instead with, “Hey, I’m calling with regards to this,” or “I wanted to get your opinion on this.”

I love using this magical word: opinion.

If you are going to ask a question, phrase it as, “I’d love to get your opinion on this.” People always want to share their opinions. Stop the stupid questions.

Read more on how powerful questions can strengthen your relationship with the customer here.


3. Use it with Other Methods

Use the telephone along with email, social media and mail.

The telephone is one tool, yet I find too many people use every other tool except for the telephone. It is often overlooked how the telephone and email work effectively together.


4. Have a Plan

Making a single call and thinking, “They didn’t answer so they must not be interested,” is not a plan. That is just a one-and-done attitude.

You have to plan where you are going with that person and routinely be following up. Remember: It is not ABC (Always Be Closing) but it is ABV (Always Bring Value).

Your plan should look something like this: I have a 15-step cadence, and I am going to call them today, do an email here and then I might call again at this point. I might engage on social media later on.

Have a plan and work the plan.

Do not start what you cannot finish. I see so many salespeople make two or three phone calls, get caught up in other things and then neglect to follow up with the person again. You need to be able to go all the way through.


5. Build Trust and Credibility

The telephone is powerful because it allows you to communicate and connect with the person.

It allows you to understand their emotions and feelings they are sharing with you. It allows you to have instantaneous dialogue and communication.

What does this do? It helps you build trust and credibility, which are both things you can do much faster on the telephone.

No other medium besides the telephone allows you to communicate as rapidly nor as effectively through your voice inflection, tone, pauses and your ability to follow up and ask questions.


6. Use Your Personality

Your personality is a huge asset, so use it. Let your personality come through; you will be much more comfortable and as a result, you will make the other person more comfortable. By doing so, you will have a better conversation.

If you are the crazy aunt or the weird uncle, then we have a problem. That being said, you probably would not be successful in sales anyway, so that is an entirely separate issue.

In short, let your personality come through.



7. Ask More Questions

When you are comfortable and confident, you are going to ask more questions. This is huge.

Anytime somebody shares with me something, I want to come back and ask a follow-up question on it.

I may have this list of 10 questions I want to get through and I know I will never get through the 10 because I don’t have to. Otherwise, I would be on the phone with the prospect for three days.

When I ask you a question and you share your answer with me, I want to ask you a follow-up question. I am going to keep building and building and building on it.

I love asking people up front, “I would like to get your opinion on this,” and then ask follow-up questions on whatever they share with me.

It is not about what you say, it is about the questions you ask.


8. Voicemail

I get it – you call somebody, and they are not there. You must always leave a voicemail.

Do not ever let yourself think, “I am not going to leave a voicemail because nobody listens to those anyways.” You’re right, but it only takes 15 seconds to leave a voicemail so why wouldn’t you?

I have several videos on my YouTube channel that specifically talk about how to leave a good voicemail.

Keep it short and keep it tight. It may not generate a response, but if they listen to it, they are going to catch your personality and a sense of who you are.

Make it meaningful and leave a voicemail.


9. Uncover Needs

The phone call is always about uncovering needs. Uncovering needs gets you to the next step, which is the whole point of a prospecting phone call.

You earn the next step by uncovering needs.

My objective is this: I want to learn one piece of information about the prospect. If I can do so, it is amazing how I will now have the meat with which to carry on and go forward.

I just want to learn one thing that allows me to uncover the needs, and I will use that in the next phone call or conversation.

Read how you can get customers to focus on their needs instead of price here.


10. Always Have a CTA

You always need to have a call-to-action and know what your next step is.

In all truth, the next step is most likely saying, “Hey, how does your calendar look tomorrow at 10:00 AM?”

When you are prospecting, you are catching them off guard, so the probability of having an extended phone call is fairly slim.

I always want to go straight to the next day and give them a specific time. If they say, “No, that doesn’t work,” then I am going to give them another time on that same day. I always give two specific times on the next day.

If that does not work for them, then I will say, “Okay, what time is going to work for your calendar?” and work back from there.

I find this so important because you have to come out of every phone call with a clear CTA. The CTA is not, “I am going to send you some more information,” nor is it, “So you’ll call me sometime when the moon is full, and you’re bored.”

No, you must have a specific CTA. When you finish up with the meeting, you want to pop them an email and include more information with additional questions.

Do not include enough information to allow them to make a decision, but enough to keep their interest engaged for your meeting the next day.

It is for this reason and more that I do not like waiting a week or two. If you wait that long between calls, they will already be on to something else. Make the meeting the next day.


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Copyright 2021, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog.  Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

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