What is Call Bridging?
Call bridging is the art of gaining the next call before leaving the current conversation. It’s a critical skill if you’re used to face-to-face selling and now working the phones.
In my previous posts, I talked about call productivity and setting call goals as critical skills when transitioning from traditional selling to virtual selling. It’s because we often accomplish less on phone sales calls than in traditional face-to-face sales meetings. But we only build a pipeline when we’re able to execute multiple calls. The key to getting multiple calls is Call Bridging.
Call bridging happens at the end of a call. It’s a key phrase or question that paves the way for calls #2, #3, etc.
How to Use Call Bridging to Secure a Follow-up Sales Call
When it’s an established relationship, it’s as easy as setting up the next meeting. The key here is being sure you’re showing value during the ask. Everyone is busy and we’re easier to blow off (blow out for my UK friends) when we’re on the phone. It sounds like:
“This has been fantastic Mr. Customer. Thanks for the insight. We didn’t get a chance to cover XYZ, nor for me to share some insights I’ve gained from my network that I think you’ll find valuable. Let’s set up a follow-up call. Does this time next week work for you?”
Note: We aren’t saying that we need to cover key insights about our product or service. We aren’t saying we need to learn more to sell more. We’re offering “cross-pollination” value or the voice of our collective customer in the industry. This intel is a hot commodity!
If it’s a colder outreach, we may need to be more assumptive and simply GIVE ourselves permission. It sounds like:
“Thank you for your time and insight. I’ve learned so much from you and want to return the favor. I’ll call you back later this week so we can finish up.”
There are a million variations of this. Think of them as bases. A home run is their agreement to a follow-up, an appointment set and on the calendar, AND they bring another party to the call or take an action item (we call this “Getting Deals Moving” – Check out The Sale Bar for a full class on the subject)
Third base might just be an agreement to meet and an appointment set.
Second is their agreement to take your call.
First base is them basically NOT saying, “No, don’t call me back.”
Make it a habit to always bridge to the next call. Go for the home run and even if you land at second you’re doing better than starting over cold.
Bonus tip: Send the calendar invite even if they don’t agree or accept the invite. It will show up on their calendar even if they don’t accept it and they may be more willing to pick up the phone when you call (you MUST call during this time! Don’t just set a task to follow up, put it in your calendar too!). And if they don’t pick up, you’ve at the very least gained some mind share and a little bit of guilt on your side. When they do finally take your next call, they may even apologize and/or be a touch more open.