By Tom Wells on Apr 6, 2022 12:34:00 PM
As a non-native sales rep, one of your biggest challenges is communication. Your communication skills have the power to close deals or make potential customers walk away.
Unfortunately, there are very few useful resources online for non-native salespeople. Particularly for the advanced learner. Most resources focus on overly basic vocab or obvious things. Either that, or they tell you how to do your job. So we created a language guide for non-native speakers in sales with an advanced level of English. We hope that it helps feel more confident in your sales communication. This language guide complies over +60 useful phrases and templates for cold calls, follow-up calls, sales emails, and phrases for closing deals. Yo can also download it in PDF here.
1 - Navigating cold calls
Cold calling is the business practice of contacting potential customers who have never been in touch with the salesperson or the product prior to the call (unlike warm calls, which may be initiated because the prospect has asked a question or downloaded one of the company's resources). It is an attempt to introduce the company's product or service and convince the prospect to purchase it.
The effectiveness of cold calling depends on a number of factors. Conducting research (both on the prospect and the market) is a fundamental step in the process. Preparing scripts for each call is a cold calling technique that truly pays off. In this section, you will learn lots of useful vocabulary for cold calls that will help you thrive –even if English is not your first language.
Useful vocabulary for cold calls
The following phrases will help you make cold calls –often something sales reps dread. Let's have a look at some important phrases that will come in handy whenever you need to make a cold call.
Introductory phrases for cold calls
- Hi, this is [name] from [company].
- Good morning this is [name] calling from [company].
That’s it? Yep. If you start with phrases like “I just need 5 minutes of your time” or “I wanted to talk to you about a new offer” this immediately alerts your prospect to the fact that it is a cold call. They sound too “salesy” because they have been so overused, so they don’t really work. It often works best simply to introduce yourself and then pause. In these first few vital seconds, the prospect will be trying to work out why you are calling, but not immediately classify you as a cold caller.
How to answer the “this is not a good time” response
Your prospects are busy people. If they respond with “this is not a good time,” then you should respect that. But the goal here is to find out a better time to call them. The second phrase is a simple way to give them enough time to think while also suggesting a specific day if they don’t know when a good time will be.
- No problem, would this time next week be any better?
- I will put a note in my calendar to try again in around a week.
Rapport phrases for cold calls
Unless you are a sociopath with no empathy, you will want to strike up a rapport with your prospects. These phrases are perfect for getting your prospect talking and to show them you have researched them and their company. Notice how these phrases all end with an open-ended question statement. This is to elicit a response –this is key to build rapport. Get them talking! The first three phrases take a piece of content the prospect has shared and build a rapport by commenting on specifics. The other phrases use knowledge, such as the current role or university attended to try and build rapport. All of these phrases steer the conversation towards the positioning phrases which come next.
- I loved your LinkedIn post on [topic] from yesterday. I am completely on the same page as you. What was your inspiration for that piece?
- I loved the article you shared on [social network]. Are you currently experiencing any of the pain points that it mentioned?
- I listened to your interview on [name of podcast or radio show] and loved your point about [specific point]. Would I be right in assuming that marketing automation is something important to you?
- Wow, I see that you've been at [company] for around [X years]. How did you get started there?
- Congrats on your recent promotion. How is the new role?
- So, [prospect name], I see you went to [university]. How did you like it?
–I loved your interview on the Growth Hackers podcast from last week. Am I right in assuming that marketing automation is something important to you?
–I loved your LinkedIn post on sales processes from yesterday. I am completely on the same page as you. What was your inspiration for that piece?
Positioning phrases for cold calls
Now that you have built rapport, you need to position yourself as the person that can solve their problems. To do this, first describe their persona and a key challenge. Next, get the prospect to expand on this challenge. This is almost a rhetorical question as you should base this statement on the research that you have done. Ask them a question to get them to describe their situation a little more. The goal of these phrases is to elicit pain points. Use the final phrase if it is hard to get them to talk freely. Remember, the goal is to get enough leverage from the pain points they describe for you to book a discovery session with them.
- I work with [job title] with teams of around [insert range]. My [job title] are typically looking to [insert key challenge]. Does that sound like you?
- Tell me more about that.
- Could you expand on that a little?
- You mentioned [pain point]. Could you expand on that a little?
–I work with marketing VPs with teams of around 10-15. My VPs are typically looking to make their reporting dashboards more effective. Does that sound like you?
–Could you tell me a little bit more about that?
–Well, our marketing dashboards are still manual. This is wasting us a lot of time at the minute.
Scheduling a discovery call
A discovery call is the first conversation you have with a potential customer who has some some interest in your product. This important call will allow you to get to know the prospect and find out if you could be a good fit for their needs. Use these phrases to schedule a discovery call.
- What I’m hearing is [pain points] a major pain point for you. How about we book a discovery call to talk about that a little more?
- It seems that [pain points] are a major stumbling block right now. Would you like to book a discovery call to talk about that a little more?
Voicemail templates for cold calls
Sometimes your prospect won’t pick up the phone. But you need to know what to say when you get their message. Here are some templates for you to adapt.
General voicemail message:
Hello, this is Jason calling from Numbers Ltc.
I'm calling because I feel our product is an excellent fit for your current needs. I'd love to talk to you about [boosting your content marketing ROI].
My number is (your number) I'll also follow up with an email tomorrow, and I look forward to hearing what you think.
Have a great day. Goodbye!
Use this voicemail template if someone referred you. Mentioning this will add credibility to your message:
Hey there, [Julia]. My name’s [Chris] and I’m calling from [your awesome company].
[Jackie over at Numbers Ltc] reached out to me and suggested we touch base about working together. She thinks you’d be interested in learning a bit more about [your awesome company’s product/service]. If you’ve got a minute this week, give me a call at [your number] and we can talk more about [boosting your marketing ROI] for [prospect’s company.
I also sent you an email with a little more information about our [product/service]. Looking forward to hearing from you [Julia]! Thanks, bye.
The “I’m in town voicemail”:
Use this voicemail template to directly land a sales meeting, using the excuse that you happen to be in the area:
I’m actually going to be in San Francisco in three weeks on business and have a few hours of downtime on Thursday and Friday.
Do you have 30 minutes to connect on either day? I hear your offices are pretty cool and it’d be great to finally meet in person.
Cold call takeaways
Remember these key takeaways next time you make a cold call:
- Practice your cold call script to sound more natural
- Focus on your goal. Each communication stage has a goal in mind. Keep that at the front of your mind
- Change your language based on your research.
- Ask open-ended questions. These require a full answer. In general, it is best to avoid simple yes/no questions.
- Have a voicemail template for when prospects don’t answer
Example cold call script:
Intro: –Hey this is Daniela, I’m calling from Numbers Ltd. (pause
–Ok. Hi Daniela, have we met before?
Rapport: –Actually, not yet. I was just reading your latest article about reporting transparency on LinkedIn and loved it. What was your inspiration for that?
–My inspiration was from my past experiences as a marketing leader. May I ask why you’re calling?
Positioning: –Ok, that’s interesting. Well, I actually work with marketing leaders with teams of around 10. Usually, they want to have greater transparency when it comes to reporting. Does that sound like you?
–Yes, I am in that category.
–Could you tell me a little more about your main challenges?
–Well, mainly it’s reporting dashboards. I want to automate the whole process in the next 12 months.
Scheduling a discovery call: –So I’m hearing that reporting is a major pain point for you. As I mentioned, I work with marketing leaders looking to automate reporting. I would love to schedule a discovery call to go into more detail. Do you have a 30-minute slot in the next week or so?
–I have a slot next week on Wednesday.
–Ok, great I will send an invite. Thanks for your time.
Of course, most cold calls will not flow as smoothly as this scripted version. But it does illustrate how to use some of the phrases and connect them with each other.
2 - Questions for discovery calls
A discovery call, also called follow-up call, is your chance to qualify if your prospect is a great sales opportunity or not. It’s all about the questions you ask, so try and use language that focuses on the prospect’s problems and how they want to solve them. These questions will help you do exactly that. Here are over 20 useful questions, divided by category. Ask these questions to get the most out of your discovery calls.
- Tell me about your company.
- Tell me about your role. What do you do day-to-day?
Questions about goals and KPIs
- What metrics are you responsible for?
- Tell me about your goals (financial, customer-related, operational)
- How will this solution make your life better?
- What are your organization's goals for the year?
- If you implement this solution, how do you hope things are different in one year?
Questions to elicit problems and challenges
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Are you having problems in (pain point)?
- What’s the source of that problem?
- Why is it a priority today?
- Why hasn’t it been addressed before?
- What are your primary roadblocks to implementing this plan?
Questions about timelines
- When do you need to achieve these goals by?
- What’s your timeline for implementation?
Questions about budget/money
- Is this problem funded?
- Have you purchased a similar product before?
Questions about potential solutions
- What do you think could be a potential solution? Why?
- What would a successful outcome look like?
- If you didn’t choose a product, do you have a plan in place to address this problem?
Questions about planning/process
- What’s the process for actually purchasing the product once you decide on it? Are there legal or procurement reviews?
- Do you have written decision criteria for choosing a vendor? Who compiled these criteria?
Each company has a slightly different focus when qualifying prospects. But, in general, it is worthwhile asking at least one question from each category.
3 - 11 excellent phrases to close a deal
Now, it’s time to close the deal. Closing can be make or break for hitting your quota. The following eleven phrases are carefully calibrated to achieve these goals. You can also download the phrases in PDF. Linguistically speaking, the goals of closing phrases are the following:
- Find out if the prospect has any objections
- Reduce the stress of the buying process
- Create forward momentum
- Encourage the prospect to commit to a contract
Let’s start with the most simple and direct closer.
1. It looks like we've answered all the questions. Shall we move forward with this?
Variation: It looks like we have covered all your concerns. Shall we move forward with this?
2. Is there any reason if we gave you the product at this price, that you wouldn't do business with our company?
This type of phrase is sometimes called a reverse close. It elicits a “no” response, which is an indirect agreement to the contract. However, if the prospect answers yes, they give you the objections that still need to be addressed without walking away from the deal.
3. If we could find a way to deal with [objection], would you sign the contract on [set period in time]?
This follows on from the phrase above. If you know that your company can deal with the objection raised, this turns a negative into a positive.
4. It seems like [product] is a good fit for [company]. What do you think?
This phrase highlights all of the benefits you have discussed up until this point. By asking for the opinion of the client at the end, you make the statement sound genuine.
5. If we throw in [freebie], would that convince you to sign the contract today?
Sometimes a deal-sweetener is all that is needed to close a deal.
6. Taking all of your requirements and desires into consideration, I think these two products would work best for you. Would you like to go with [A] or [B]?
This phrase subtly offers two alternatives and takes the “no” off the table altogether. The idea is that it is less likely that a prospect will say “no” to everything.
7. Why don't you give it/us a try?
This phrase makes the contract sound like less of a commitment and more of giving something a try.
8. If you sign the contract today, I can guarantee we can do [special request the buyer asked for]. How does that sound?
This is very similar to phrase 3 but with a change of timeframe. This phrase indicates that, after they sign, you will take care of their objection.
9. I know you said you need to have a solution in place by [date]. Working backward from that day and factoring in implementation and training time, it looks like we'd need to have a signed contract by [date] in order to meet that deadline. Can you commit to that signing date?
This phrase uses a client’s own deadline rather than setting your own to increase the sense of urgency.
Shorter version: Based on your deadline of (), working backward, we would need to have a contract signed by (date). Is that doable?
10. Ready to move forward? I can send over the contract right now.
This is highlighting the forward momentum of closing the deal. As the contract is already ready, all they have to do is sign, making the buying process seem less stressful.
Variation: If you’re ready to move forward, I could send over the proposal right now
11. You're interested in X and Y features, right? If we get started today, you'll be up and running by [date].
This phrase encourages the potential buyer that the sooner they commit, the sooner their life will be easier once they are up and running.
Supercharge your sales communication today
As you can see from these phrases, it’s not your grammar knowledge that counts. It’s your communication skills. By carefully planning your communication based on your goals, you will master all aspects of sales from cold calls to closing in no time at all. We hope you found this sales guide useful. If you would like to learn more about Talaera and how we empower non-native sales professionals at some of the world’s best companies, explore our English training programs here.
For any additional information or questions, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in getting the best offers and receiving free content on Business English communication for you and your teams? Subscribe to our newsletter!
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[Note: This article was originally posted in July 2019 and has been updated to ensure you keep reading relevant content today]