Recently, I’ve decided to change careers.
I am making the switch from marketing to sales.
I made this decision because I want to continue advancing my career while further expanding my business knowledge and skills.
Plus, I enjoy learning new things and taking on challenges.
While I plan on continuing to help small business owners and write social media and Web content as a side hustle, I am now actively pursuing opportunities as an inside sales representative. [NOTE: As of July, 2015, I have been working in inside sales for Seamless Contacts, an online tool that helps B2B salespeople sell 10X faster by automating the two biggest timedrains on a salesperson’s day: prospecting and pre-call research. ]
What is “Inside Sales”?
According to Ken Krogue, founder of InsideSales.com:
Inside Sales is “remote sales,” most lately called “virtual sales,” or professional sales done remotely. Whereas Outside Sales or traditional Field Sales is done face-to-face.
Being relatively new to the “smile and dial” inside sales game, I asked my good friend Regan Fletcher, seasoned sales professional and current VP of Business Development at News360 for advice on how to sell.
He offered these 5 tips for closing more sales, crushing quota, and making bank as an inside sales rep:
5. Don’t read from a script during sales calls.
Every sales call or presentation follows a basic script.
A good inside sales rep will modify this script to better reflect his or her own natural speaking style and personality.
Practice, rehearse, and modify your sales presentation until it is fluid, like telling your favorite family-friendly limerick.
This will not only put your prospect at ease, but they will be more interested and engaged in the conversation, rather than bored.
And interested and engaged prospects are more likely to buy than a prospect who wants nothing more than to hang up the phone and get rid of you forever.
4. Don’t try to “sell” a prospect.
Nobody enjoys the awkward feeling of being “sold”.
Instead, ask the prospect what would help their business and make them look like a Canadian rock star in the eyes of their admiring co-workers.
Inside sales reps could also be called “helpers”.
Because that’s exactly what they’re offering (for a negotiated fee, of course. It’s a business, not a charity.)
An inside sales rep is offering help or a solution that will ease the pain felt by their prospect.
And if that solution makes the prospect’s life easier and their business more profitable, then they will most likely buy from you again and recommend your product to others.
So don’t look to try and “sell” anybody when you’re an inside sales rep.
Instead, you are offering a solution that will help your customers in their everyday lives and solve a major problem that is blocking their path to success.
3. Set goals.
Set call quotas for yourself and find a way to accomplish them.
Sales is a numbers game.
Let’s take a look at an example scenario:
- You make 100 calls per day to prospects.
- Of those 100 calls, you may get through to 20 people.
- Of those 20 people, 10 may be willing to speak with you.
- And of those 10 people who will speak with you, then 5 will actually buy.
It’s simple math.
Make more calls, and you’ll connect with more prospects.
The more prospects you reach, the more you’ll pitch.
And the more you pitch, the more you will ultimately close.
2. Set a strategy for cold calls.
Here is the cold, hard truth about cold calling that every inside sales rep must face:
Not many people that you call will pick up the phone.
Cold calling means you’re calling a prospect out of the blue when they are not expecting your call.
It’s rare that you’ll be able to actually close a cold call, so you’re better off turning the cold call into a warm call by following this cold calling strategy recommended by Regan:
- Leave a 15-second voicemail message asking them to take a look at the email you’re sending them (and sound nice).
- Call them back in 2 days.
This simple, yet effective strategy will effectively knock the chill off your cold calls because your prospect will be familiar with who you are when you finally do connect.
And now, for the Number 1 rule of selling…
1. Learn from failure.
Yep, that’s right.
You will fail most of the time as an inside sales rep.
The prospect won’t buy, either because they weren’t a good fit for the product or you didn’t explain the value of the product in an understandable way.
Whatever the reason, you’re better off simply accepting it and putting the failure behind you and moving onto the next dial.
Forget your setbacks and accept rejection as part of the nature of sales.
Regan offered this useful sports analogy when it comes to sales:
“Sales is like being a hockey goalie. You’re going to get scored on so forget it the second the puck goes in the net.”
Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to inside sales success.
Got any other tips on how to be a successful inside sales rep?
Please share them in the Comments below and help your fellow inside sales reps out.
As Zig Ziglar liked to say, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
James K. Kim
James "Jim" Kim is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield / Pyramid Brokerage Company in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in retail, office, and industrial tenant and landlord representation.