Credits: This article first appeared in Adrienne Baker’s blog.   Image courtesy of

Tips for inbound new calls coming into your office to discuss placing order. These are my tips, but please add to them. I have over 35 years of experience in the promotional product industry but do believe that these tips work for most industries. These are refresher tips as we sometimes forget that the initial call can set the tone for the beginning of a good business relationship.

Be excited, smile and let them know you are thrilled they called you and that you are ready and excited to work with them. Often many salespeople don’t let their excitement shine through during the first call. It is very rare when I make a call to a company to get more information to place an order that I am greeted with enthusiasm.

Let them know you understand their sense of urgency (if required). I used to say “I am going to drop everything to work on this project”. Then I would! It is important to let the caller know that you are going to make them a high priority as this will help to develop the working relationship. Never say you are busy! Just saying the words contributes to making sure that the person on the other phone has a different experience calling you then they will be on the next call.

“Every inbound call that comes into your office can turn into a sale if you follow my advice and show your expertise and industry wisdom. Knowing all the right questions to ask will showcase your experience and gain you orders”

You must know your products and ask the right questions. I suggest you make sure you have a simple checklist, so all the information you need to begin the quoting process will be in your hands. Try to get all the information you need on the first call as this will let them know you are experienced and understand the industry and products. The more calls you must make to ask more questions may hurt your chance of closing the sale. If you can have one conversation that covers all the issues you need to ask, then you become the consultant, and it’s easier to concentrate and provide the right products to make the sale. Ideally, your next call would be to confirm they received your pricing and for you to close the deal.

Reminder, before you get off the initial phone call, ask if they have any other requests and if you answered all their questions. Giving them a chance to collect their thoughts before getting off the phone is professional.
Think ahead – Be ahead. If your client did not ask for shipping, setup charges, or any other expenses, then make sure you answer all these questions in your response. When you know the questions to ask you then will know the answers you should have on the proposal and quote. Be sure to get back to your potential client no more than 24 hours from the first call. You want to wow the new inbound call because there is a chance that they called your competition. Take the time to reply efficiently and quickly. You should have the initial conversation when they need the quote and meet their deadline. Orders are closed sooner when you respond quicker. If you show your sense of urgency by preparing ideas and quotes quickly, then the client will usually place the order in the same matter. If you are unable to get back in the time, you promised then be honest and call to confirm that you need another day or a few more hours.

The goal is that the salesperson has all information in advance to get the order in the next communication. If you rush the initial call, then you miss out in showing your professionalism and knowledge in the industry. If you can submit ideas, and a presentation of ideas with pricing you will be one step closer to the order.

Make believe you are their last call requesting pricing and suggestions and wow them with creativity and expertise. Be confident. Keep assumptions out of your entire sales force.Don’t assume you have the order. Learn to listen to cues from the call. Contact me if you want tips on what the client is telling you when they are not telling you! Never get cocky when the customer has called you. Don’t be afraid to show excitement over the phone with the call. Your goal is to get them to feel that they don’t need to make any additional calls to other companies for quotes. Make the inbound caller feel comfortable in their decision to work with you and your business. I know this seems like simple information but think about the last time you called a company to place an order and how you would feel if a salesperson was excited and thrilled to take care of your needs. I find this does not happen often, but when it does, I am going to work with that salesperson.

The key is to have a good checklist and make sure you capture the important questions you need to sell your products. You should be proficient in researching items and quoting. In this business, you need to be quick on your feet, and that takes education and learning suppliers and products. Don’t wait until you have a request – begin today learning products!
If you want to discuss this checklist and review the questions that fit you and your demographics, please feel free to contact me.

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