A while back, prospects' telephones rang off the hook with sales calls. Today, prospects are bombarded with sales emails and social media selling campaigns with very few marketers trying to make sales through calls.

The good news is that marketers can now take this huge opportunity to stand out from their competition by picking up the phone and calling their prospects directly.

That said, it's not enough to just contact your prospects over the phone. Knowing how to engage prospects and earn their trust over the phone is crucial. Although not easy, it is a skill that takes time, practice and patience to perfect. If you are wondering how to make more sales over the phone, here are our top 5 phone sales techniques you should adopt:

Demonstrate value

Whenever a prospect answers your call, do not use that time to go over the features of your product. Instead, sell value. This will make it easier for the prospect to understand and relate your product to their needs.

Also, avoid talking too much and take the time to listen to the customer. This will help you to better understand their pain-point so that you know how to position your product. Consider using storytelling to effectively sell the value of your product.

Develop a customized phone sales script

Do not rely on generic scripts that prompt the same conversation or leave the exact same voicemail with every prospect. It is important that you personalize each message to the prospect you are contacting. Also, always call with a purpose and never just to check in and pitch your product randomly to make your purpose clear.

For instance, you can start by emailing a prospect a report that they will find valuable and then call them to follow up or leave a voice mail saying you would love to discuss the report. If your objective is to set up a one-on-one appointment, craft your script to this goal and stick to it. Also, qualify your lead and find out who the decision maker is and prepare your statistics.

Take the time to create your own client-centered scripts for various products. Most importantly, customize your pitch to speak candidly to those who actually want to hear what you have to say.

Do your homework first

This is the pinnacle of all phone sales techniques. Before making that call, always ensure you are well prepared in advance for it. You need to do your research on the prospect, define your goals and prepare a customized script to guide you throughout the conversation.

Prepare by defining the purpose of your call, crafting a spot on the script and reviewing it for perfection. Also, come up with a routine so that you are comfortable on the call. Practice your tone, and if possible, record yourself to be able to identify where you can improve.

Be confident and enthusiastic about your product

Although business people may be courteous to amateurs, they prefer dealing with other professionals. So make sure you sound confident about yourself and the product you are selling.  Studies show that marketers whose calls are upbeat and with a positive attitude tend to have higher success over phone sales. Therefore, take the time to examine how you come off in your phone conversations with prospects.

Before making that call, think of it this way. You have a fantastic product that will make a great impact and improvement on the prospects life. You are about to give this person a huge breakthrough by telling them about this product and how it can help them. Make sure this energy and enthusiasm come across in your tone of voice. Also remain polite, honest and personal throughout the conversation.

Never trash-talk your competition

While it may seem like a smart positioning position, never speak ill of your competitors during a sales call. Other than running the risk of being accused of libelous slander, it makes you look just as bad as your competition. Research on a psychological phenomenon known as spontaneous trait transfer shows that when you badmouth your competition, the prospect puts some of those traits back to you.

If a prospect asks about your competition, say something professional and inoffensive such as  "I cannot speak to what they do, as I represent my company, and this is what we offer."