Commonly Overlooked Tips for Conducting a Great Sales Call

Essentially everything is virtual these days – even sales calls – 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone or through video. We know the key is to have meaningful conversations and stand above the crowd. And with so many options and noise from competitors, the only thing you can really control is how you lead the conversation. Maximize the time you have with prospects on sales calls by following the below tips and tricks: 

The Most Commonly Overlooked Tips for Conducting a Great Sales Call

Lead with value

Cold-calling is one of the hardest tasks in sales, and the method isn’t necessarily designed for success. The average connected cold call duration is only 80 seconds but successful calls (that result in a booked meeting) average over 7 minutes

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Sales Prospecting

So, how can you ensure longer, more successful conversations? Well, the secret lies in preparation and how you use the first few minutes of the conversation. 

Conducting a Sales Call: Tips and Tricks

Go into the call with clear set goals in mind. Unless you’re having a highly transactional sale, your sales goal is likely to get a meeting scheduled, rather than to close a sale. Get right to the point and lead with value. No one cares who you are or what company you’re with until you’ve earned the right to tell them. Set a clear agenda by first, telling the prospect why you are calling and what you hope to discuss; then, lead into open-ended questions that discover relevant pain or challenges for the prospect. Once you are aware of what drives them, you can talk to value more intelligently. 

Ask engaging questions on sales calls

Salespeople often think discovery meetings are for them to learn about the prospect, and they are; but, prospects also use this time as a factor in decision-making. Your prospect is comparing you to the other options available to them, determining if they should elevate this to stakeholders and if the solution will fix their pain points and integrate engaging questions in your cold calling script.

Quickly uncover those pain points and address concerns first by asking engaging questions – questions that encourage a prospect to think, provide details and discuss their overarching issues in greater detail. Chorus research suggests that having 2 or more engaging moments in discovery can increase the success of the meeting by 60%. Remember, engage all participants. 

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Counter to what you may believe, asking too many questions can be a detriment to the call. Oftentimes, if a prospect gets over-inundated with questions, they start to feel interrogated. As a rule of thumb, don’t ask the prospect more than two questions per minute. It is important to make the customer feel the questions are relevant to their business and not to meet your quota of questions. Additionally, data suggests SDRs and sales reps should try to keep most cold calls within a 40-50% talk:listen to ratio.

Heavily utilize demos 

Like cold calls, the longer the demo, the better – it helps get the prospect deep into the product the rep is offering. After a discovery call, reps should be able to understand the customer’s main pain points, which allows the rep to customize the demo based on the key takeaways from the discovery sales call, tailoring the demo to fit the customer’s needs. 

During a demo, reps usually talk 55-60% of the call, which means they still have to engage the prospect for over 40% of the call. Our research on screen shares with Zoom told us that successful reps ask a question at least once every four minutes even when they’re doing a demo.

Handle objection calls with confidence

Sales reps get a “no” more often than they hear “yes.” If you can plan ahead, try to understand the motive behind a potential no-response, such as cost, implementation, already using your competition, for example, you can have talk tracks prepared to mitigate their true concern. 

How to manager sales objections on sales calls: Why Do Buyers Object

While a quicker response can indicate having dealt with that specific objection successfully in the past as well as confidence in finding a solution, Chorus data suggests it’s important that your speech isn’t rushed – because that can seem like a sign of nervousness. 

And, of course, some of the obvious but often forgotten tips:

  • Use call recording so you can be an active participant on sales calls. Don’t let yourself get bogged down taking notes when you can run back the conversation at a later time.
  • Wrap with a clear summary from the call and layout next steps for the next call.
  • Send any action items you tracked in your follow up email. This is also a good time to see who else might need to be involved in the following conversations. 

Sales is a challenging role to be in, but with proper preparation, sales reps can be successful at every part of the sales process. From cold calling to demos and handling objections, being well-prepared and understanding the customer’s needs is what separates A-players from the rest. 

As I like to ask my reps, “have you done your homework?”

Joe, Caprio, VP of Sales at, the Conversation Intelligence Platform for high-growth sales teams. 

  • Originally published September 19, 2019, updated June 27, 2024