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  1. Master the First 20 Seconds: We all get defensive when we receive an unexpected call from someone we don’t know. Don’t take it personal as it’s a cultural issue. However, it is your job to dissolve that defensiveness very quickly. First thing first — remove iffy language. Don’t tell them you’re “just calling” as if you have nothing better to do. Also, don’t ask them how they are. Not only is that a tell tale sign that you’re a salesperson, but when a stranger asks about your health, you get even more defensive. You need to quickly get to the reason for your call and then immediately show them how the call is relevant to them. Notice, this has nothing to do with you.
  2. Prepare to Think on Your Feet: I get it. Email is easier because you have time to both think and edit. On the phone, you clearly don’t get that luxury. So, be prepared. Obviously you need to have a couple of open ended questions ready to go, but you also need to know what the 3-4 typical responses are that you’re likely to get from the prospect. As you prepare for those responses, now you just need to ask your question and truly listen to the response. And remember, the sound of the human voice contains so much information you’re losing by relying on text based communication.
  3. Help Prospects Make Decisions: I’ve gone against the grain a bit with the notion of decision fatigue from a personal standpoint, but from the point of the prospect I get it. Instead of leaving everything up to them, prompt them by giving them the “next best step.” I’ve found that if I just ask them what to do next, I get delay after delay  It usually sounds like, “me think about it” or “let me talk to so and so,” but when I give them the next step most people take or the one I believe is right for them, I can move a deal along a lot faster. Realize, you’ve sold your solution dozens if not hundreds of times, yet this is the first time they’ve gone through a sales process for your solution.
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