As the human attention span drops further (now down to 8 seconds), we realize it’s becoming harder to pay attention. Especially since the pandemic forced millions to work from home, your sales call is now usually just one of many other calls your customer has to take in a day.
AVERAGE HUMAN ATTENTION SPAN
Inspired by salespeople around the world, and educators who have to deal with distracted students in a new virtual world, here are some top tips to help you retain and regain customer attention on your next sales call.
Send them a pre-read
Start the call with – “Hope you’ve had a chance to go through the documents I shared. From where would you like to start today’s call?”
If they have perused what you sent over, it’ll save you time. If they haven’t, they’ll have to admit it. Being put on the spot will force them to pay attention.
Set up pit stops
It’s natural to zone out when you are just listening to someone else talk, be it on call or webinar.
To help the discussion stay on track, break down the agenda into specific sections. At the beginning of each, mention what you will cover. After each section, you can ask the prospect to summarize what they understood or ask questions.
Pro tip: If they don’t have any questions, repurpose some of the ones you’ve been asked before to discover further information. For instance, “We’ve earlier been asked if our solution is compatible with Google Drive – would that be a concern for you?”
Call for action
A great way to break the flow and involve your prospect is by laying out a simple task for them to do. It could be to open a website on their phone or answer a few quick questions before you proceed. Those few seconds of involvement can be a game-changer, much like quizzes and assessments at the end of lectures.
Ensure it’s the right time
As much as you think your prospect wants to say ‘no’, it is better to talk to them when they are ready to listen than tarnishing your first interaction with hostility. Don’t sound apologetic and don’t ask a question. Instead, say:
“If this is a good time to talk, I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you about the challenges your new venture is facing. I believe we can even help you solve [state specific problem].”
Even if they can’t talk at that time, you can get them to promise you another time when they’d be willing to know more
If you don’t want your prospects to zone out while you deliver a pitch, make a conscious effort to keep your delivery dynamic and animated. If your video were on, you’d have an advantage – you could move your hands or facial expressions to build a connection. But over a call, your greatest tool is your voice.
Modulate your tonality basis what’s being discussed to keep the conversation interesting – sound excited when pitching your product, express genuine concern if they are telling you about their problem, stop and congratulate them if they share a story of their success, or even just say, “It’s so great we agree!” when you reach a place of mutual understanding.
Pro-tip: You may be calling to make a sale, but if you take a few minutes to improve your prospect’s day, they’d be a lot more enthusiastic to listen.
Ask - Open and often
One of the top things that differentiate top-performing sales reps is that they ask questions at regular intervals throughout the course of the call, and not just at the beginning or end. This isn’t only helpful in need discovery but keeps the prospect engaged too.
Similarly, asking open-ended questions requires the prospect to think about and frame a coherent answer rather than simply say “yes” or “no”, which keeps them focused on the conversation. Rather than, “Do you currently use a social media planning tool?” say “How do you currently plan your social media campaigns?”
Overlook the silence and listen
Studies show that it only takes 4 seconds before silence starts making people uncomfortable. If your prospect pauses before answering your question, chances are they were paying attention. And if you don’t pay attention, why should they?
“So, you agree that our marketing tool helps you reach more people. Is there any challenge you feel it doesn’t address?”
and just wait.
Silence doesn’t just pull back the customer’s attention, it also urges them to open up and share deeper knowledge with you. 70% of the purchasing decision are attempts at solving a problem. If your silence follows an insight from the client, you have a higher chance of offering a solution they would be interested in.
Studies show that it only takes 4 seconds before silence starts
making people uncomfortable.
And if nothing else works…
- If you have booked a specific time slot for the conversation keep reminding them of how much time is left. Even if they’re just listening to you without really hearing you, knowing there’s a limited time you’ll be available to talk to them may make them want to ask specific questions or jump to a particular step.
- If you think the prospect is distracted, pretend like you can’t hear them (blame bad connection). Then, ask them at what point they lost you. If they can’t tell you what the last thing you were talking about was, you can offer to repeat yourself, this time to an engaged audience.
- Yes, it feels awkward (and rude) to tell someone to get rid of a noisy distraction like kids playing or dogs barking, or the TV blaring. But ignoring that your prospect clearly isn’t paying attention – or that you can hear a loud sound in the background – may not always be the best approach. If you don’t want to come right out and ask them to get rid of the distraction, why not ask if
- this is a bad time
- something that needs their attention more
- they’d like you to call back later (make sure you ask when)
So, what happens if your sales reps do all the above?
They may still find it difficult to retain a prospect’s attention. It’s not always easy to know what to say. Especially as an inside sales rep, when your voice and the words you speak are the only tools you have to interest a complete stranger.
In such circumstances, it can help to have a helping hand telling you how to have a better conversation based on what’s worked best for top-performing sales reps in the same situations.
That’s exactly what Salesken, a conversational intelligence platform, can make possible. Salesken, a conversational intelligence platform, analyses speech to detect emotion and meaning. It then uses that data to display relevant prompts on its Help Zone in real-time, so sales reps know exactly what to say (and how) to their customers.