I know many salespeople are going to read that title and think I am absolutely crazy, and maybe I am. However it’s been my experience in two plus decades of consulting to inside sales groups that inbound calls are more frequently botched than cold calls generally perceived to be more difficult.
The primary reason inbound calls tend to be more difficult is that the prospect starts with control of the call and typically salespeople don’t know how to gain control of the call.
I submit to you that you must control the call if you are to have an “effective” sales presentation and process. Otherwise, you simply don’t get to tell your story and frequently don’t obtain the critical information you need about the prospect.
When a prospect calls in they usually have a bunch of questions which be begin to rapid fire at the salesperson. Once the salesperson begins to answer it becomes a freight train he or she cannot stop. Prospects fire question after question and then say they need to think about all of this information and will call back when ready.
The second thing that happens is that many salespeople are not competent questioners. If you listen to the tapes of telephone sales calls you will find that salespeople ask very few questions. This weakness tends to compound the difficulty of gaining control of the sales process on an inbound call.
Summary: The correct way to think about any sales call.
Remember that it makes no difference who dials the phone. On and inbound call you are still talking to someone you know nothing about. You don’t know if they are the decision maker, or have a clue about their environment and how your product or service might fit in.
On every call you need to take the process from the beginning. Thus on the inbound call you must tactfully gain control of the call and the direction it takes. Doing so on an inbound call will give far better results.