OEC Blog

The fine art of selling over the phone

The fine art of selling over the phone

In your job at the parts counter, or as a parts manager, are you ever tasked with trying to sell parts, or engage a shop, over the phone? You may be unable to get out to see your customers face-to-face because you have so many other competing priorities. Without face-to-face contact, selling parts to a customer on the phone can be a tricky thing. How do you make a connection when you can’t read the person’s body language, or have no insight into what’s happening on their end of the line? Are you wasting their time because they already have, or don’t need, what you’re trying to sell to them? Are they reading emails? Is someone in their office with papers to sign?  So many things can be happening while you are on the phone. At best, you may have HALF their attention!

Know your prospects enough to know the times during the day when they are the busiest — and don’t call during that time.  It will always be a bit of a guessing game, but every business has a slightly slower time of day. Figure that out, if you can.

Set yourself apart in the first five seconds

You must realize you are 1 of 100 people contacting that person – on that day — and trying to sell them something. If they use a competitor of yours, study up on this in advance.  You have to be able to set yourself apart in the first five seconds that they answer the phone. Otherwise, you are going to be told “NO,” just like every other salesperson that asked, “Is now a good time to talk?” In the buyer’s mind, it is never a good time to talk. You just made them stop trying to extinguish one of the million fires they have burning to answer the phone. Be creative and find another way of initiating the call that differentiates you, shows that you are aware they are swamped, and that you are grateful they were able to take your call. For example: “I know I caught you in the middle of 100 things. Do you have 30 seconds?”

If they say, “No,” then get off the phone as quickly as possible. Don’t try and push something on them or leave them a message. They don’t have time to listen to you and they certainly don’t have time to write down your number. However, make sure you apologize and tell them your name and your company. They need to know what person actually listened to them, respected their response, and let them get back to their day. They will be more likely to take your call the next time because you were attentive to their situation the last time you called.

If they say, “Yes”, be quick and concise, but mindful that you asked for 30 seconds. Add the most value to their day you can in those 30 seconds.  Have your 3 top value props ready: hot shot delivery, biggest network, price matching (just for example).  Hit them with your best elevator speech and then remind them that your 30 seconds is up. Now the next step is the make-or-break point of the conversation.  Ask if they would like to continue to talk or offer to follow up with them at a better time.

Beyond the elevator speech

If you have intrigued them enough by your 30-second pitch, they will give you more time beyond the 30 seconds. Now your value propositions can be expanded on. Or, they could be intrigued, but truly not have more time to give you. If they ask you to call them back, you can set an appointment for the next call.  If they say, “No, I’m not interested”… you need a better elevator speech.

Hopefully these tips will help you ease into your sales pitch and warm up the person on the other end of the phone. With a little bit of practice, you can be a phone sales pro in no time!