What’s the Most Underrated Part of a Sales Call?

Here’s a quick question for you: What’s the most underrated part of a sales call?  Let me give you a few choices:

  • The Beginning.  As the shampoo commercial states, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.”  When opening up a sales call, that “one chance” usually boils down to about 45 seconds. Therefore, these become precious seconds and should he handled as carefully as possible.
  • The Middle.  This is the part of the conversation where trust is built, urgency is created, needs are uncovered, and a solution is brought forward.  There’s a lot going on here in the middle, along with a strong argument that deals are won or lost right here.
  • The End.  A lot needs to be done right at the end of a sales call, but none of it matters if you don’t know how to close.  The words matter here, as does the way you say those words.  

Granted, they’re all important, but I’m asking about the most underrated part of the conversation.  I’ll let you ponder, and then make your pick from the three choices above. Perhaps this story will change the choice you made: 

When I started my podcast, I began to notice something rather unusual in the conversations I was having.  I paid a lot of attention to the beginning, because I wanted to warm my guests up, and I wanted to hit the air with something compelling to catch the attention of my audience.  I paid a lot of attention to the middle because this was the interview itself, and I certainly didn’t want to lose control of the conversation, or of my guest.  I absolutely paid attention to the end, perhaps because, as a professional speaker, I’ve always believed in a strong close.  The reason is because there’s a good chance that this is the part of the conversation that has the best chance of sticking.  That’s when I learned there is actually a fourth part of the conversation, and for the sake of this BLArticle®, I’ll call it, “The End at the End.”

In a podcast, the end at the end is when the podcast is over, we stop recording, and the pressure is off.  If I’ve done my job right, the guest is feeling a bit of relief, and a bit of satisfaction.  Rather than say, “thank you,” shake hands, say goodbye, or jump off a Zoom call, I decided to purposely extend the conversation a bit.  With a few, well-placed compliments, and letting my guests talk about his or her experience, I noticed a few things started happening.

  • Bonding.  By not rushing off the call, and spending a few extra minutes with my customer, we began to connect at a deeper level.  
  • Business.  By not rushing off the call, and spending a few extra minutes, our conversations moved from a podcast conversation, to a complete conversation.  This, in turn, allowed me to move to a discussion that allowed for cross selling opportunities.  
  • Networking.  By not rushing off the call, and spending a few extra minutes, my guests began to trust me more, and were more likely to offer some networking opportunities.  

The fact is, after a few years of podcasting, I learned you can dramatically elevate a podcast guest’s interpretation of his or her experience by sticking around a bit longer after the end of the formal conversation we had.  Why would this be any different when we sell?  But it is.  Most who sell are told that when the conversation is over, and you got what you were looking for, get out of the house! It’s not complete nonsense because the fear is our concentration will drop and we might say things we wouldn’t normally say if we lose our focus.  There’s a simple solution for that one and only one: Be more careful!

What’s more, let’s make a deal and promise these conversations won’t take too long.  As a matter of fact, once we thank someone for their time, and let them know how grateful we were to have the conversation we had, you don’t need to ask for a thing.  You already got what you were looking for, so if you really want to deepen the relationship with the person you are speaking with, why not ask this question?  

How can I help you?

Related: Clear Beats Clever