research report by Rain Group suggests that it takes approximately 8 calls or more to secure a meeting or to convert a prospect. No wonder this is one of the most daunting tasks out there for sales reps. But when a conversion happens, it is the best thing in the world. As a salesperson, this is when all your efforts bear fruit and everything starts to make sense. But how do you get from an initial touchpoint to a “Yes”. It takes patience and persistent efforts. Here are a few guidelines that should be helpful along the way:

Have a great opening line

It always helps to have a personal touch when contacting a prospect for the first time. For this, you will need to do some background research before reaching out to a prospect. Make the call about them. A sample opener like: “Hi Mr. Staples, this is Michael Scott from Dunder Mifflin. We are Scranton’s biggest supplier of paper and stationery products. I understand that you are looking for a supplier for your new store. Would this be a good time to talk?”. The opener establishes your company’s credentials while also explaining that you are mindful of your prospect’s needs and schedule. Don’t start with an apology like “Sorry, for this unsolicited call”. Starting off with a negative statement will make you look weak and will not help build authority. claims that once popular openers like “Did I catch you at a bad time?” no longer work

Ask insightful questions

The best sales reps ask pertinent questions during outbound calls. A well structured set of probing queries help create the perfect setting for a follow up. It also builds trust and gives enough information to make a curated pitch. A research says that asking 11–14 targeted questions achieve the highest success rates. Asking the right questions once again requires research before reaching out to sales prospects. Ideal places to do this include Twitter, company’s blogs, financial reports and press releases. It is always recommended to restate questions if a response wasn’t clear enough. This establishes your interest in the conversation and attention to detail. In the end, a high quality sales call is all about having good conversations and building relationships.

Make it a conversation and not a monologue (source)

Follow Up

A major fall off from your sales pipeline happens when you do not follow up after the first call. A simple thank you note goes a long way. What works even better is ending your first call with a commitment for a follow up activity. Such as sending in product catalogues or securing an in-person meeting. Staying connected is the name of the game. If your prospects aren’t thinking of you when they think of your product, then half the game’s lost.

Use Technology

While your soft skills are crucial to close a deal, software enables you to do that with greater efficacy. An auto-caller app like GoDial would allow you to reach more prospects in a day and organise call notes in a simple CRM-like interface. Best of all, sales software like these are often free-to-use upto a limit which is usually sufficient for small businesses or individual calling agents. So embrace technology to improve ROI and get to that “Yes” quicker.