Prospecting in the financial services industry can be a lot like dating. When prospects play ‘hard-to-get’, your only chance at taking the relationship any further is to keep on communicating. And what better way to do this than through well-placed phone conversations? Today’s post is all about ideas on having phone-based interactions that move prospects along their buying journey.

How do conversations with potential clients impact your prospecting results? The logic is simple: conversations drive engagement which in turn drives conversion. In fact, data from Gallup show that ‘fully-engaged’ prospects have an average conversion rate of 75% versus 62% for those who are ‘less engaged’.

So, whether you’re cold calling new prospects or at the receiving end of an inbound call, it pays to have a friendly conversation for a change. Here’s how you do it properly:

1. Choose your conversations wisely. In everyday situations, you simply don’t converse with everyone you come across with. It works the same way in phone prospecting. Not everyone in your call list is an ideal candidate for a phone conversation. Gather as much information (through research or asking) about your prospects as you can and decide whether you have enough to serve as your talking points.

2. Learn your prospects’ aspirations. This is where a sales call turns into a sales conversation. Here, you’re not just pitching your value proposition or discovering their pain points; you’re actually uncovering their goals. Don’t just sell your solution; listen to what your potential clients want to get out of life or where their business should be.

3. Think and sound like a colleague. If you want your leads to respond, you have to think and talk like the persons they listen to. This means being on the same level as your prospects — whether they’re small business owners or Fortune 500 CFOs. See to it that you have the right level of confidence and demeanor. Imagine yourself as a colleague meeting your these people face-to-face.

4. Talk over a series of phone calls. One mistake to avoid in phone prospecting is to think of it as a one-time event. The fact is it’s going to take a few calls to a prospect before you’re going to get some definite response. So, don’t try to squeeze everything in one call. Prepare for a series of phone calls and make sure to guide your leads along the way.

Of course, just like in dating, conversations really can’t guarantee the results you expect. Still, they’re a necessary part to kick start the relationship-building process. So, make sure that you have it included in your teleprospecting strategy.