“Often times, when my prospect picks up the phone and I start talking, I hear them audibly sigh.”
This was the start of a conversation that arose in a recent sales effectiveness training session when we were discussing challenges with phone prospecting. In our Butler Street blog last week, Robert Reid shared some key ways of “cutting through the noise” and differentiating yourself when prospecting via email. As Robert points out, it is the job of the salesperson to think about the prospect’s “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me?) and share ways you have solved those problems for others like them.
This concept similarly applies to why a prospect might just audibly sigh when they pick up your call. Remember, they have suspicion as soon as they hear an unknown voice and think, uh-oh, salesperson. What steps can you take to ensure when you are making outbound prospecting calls, you give yourself the best opportunity to turn that sigh into a “tell me more, tell me more”?
Below we share 3 keys to having success over the phone, whether leaving voicemails or engaging with your targeted buyer when they pick up your call.
1. Stay Top of Mind - The most important component of your overall prospecting strategy, which includes phone calls, is to develop a very consistent and intentional “top-of-mind” touch strategy. We recommend a 12-week, 16-touch plan that includes a combination of various touches including email, phone calls, LinkedIn, live visits and even the good old-fashioned hand-written letter. I mean, who doesn’t love to receive a letter in the mail…I know I get excited when I see that.
The reason we recommend 16 touches is that, on average, it takes 11.5 touches to drive initial engagement; however, most salespeople quit trying after only 4 touches. Remember, success in overall prospecting is to focus on the long game…be an expert for your prospects and share insights and best practices with them, as well as how you are helping other customers just like them achieve great success.
2. Plan and Practice - “A failure to plan is a plan to fail” –We use a Prospect Planning Worksheet, to define the following variables prior to beginning a campaign - specific industry, the targeted buyer persona, and the most important financial and operational outcomes for which that buyer holds responsibility. You can then script out your word track for either leaving a compelling voicemail (Keep in mind Robert’s advice about “WIIFM”) or be prepared to drive a meaningful, engaging conversation using our Disarm, Purpose, Question framework (more on that shortly).
A couple of important items to remember when you are leaving a voicemail, First, your cadence and tone of voice will account for 75% of your success. It’s the first thing noticed that indicates your level of energy, passion and excitement in sharing valuable insights and desire to help them. Second, and probably the most important success factors for leaving a “win your play” voicemail is to practice and record your message and delivery on your cell phone prior to making actual calls. This gives you the opportunity to make any mistakes free of charge and ensure you deliver perfect voicemails when they matter most.
3. Implement DPQ - Making the magic happen when they actually pick up your call and avoiding the “sigh” – Does the following opening sound familiar for when your target picks up your call (or maybe when a salesperson is calling you) – “Good afternoon, this is Joel with ABC company and I’d like to speak with you about…”; or how about “Hi there, is this a good time to talk (or do you have a few minutes to speak”?) The reason is these are the word tracks used by most salespeople. The challenge is nowhere in any of the above do we bring value to the prospect or consider their operating reality.
We use the 3-step approach of Disarm, Purpose, Question
Disarm – Get them to lower their guard; people are naturally suspicious answering the phone.”
Purpose – Explain the purpose/why you are calling (WIIFM) via your value statement in their operating reality. …this is where you get to captivate their attention with specifically how you solve challenges for companies just like them
Question – End with a specific, open-ended question that gets the prospect talking about the very problems you anticipate are keeping that decision maker up at night.
Sellers who adopt these principals of a touch plan developed specifically around the WIIFM of their prospects and are able to quickly, effectively and meaningfully communicate how they can help improve business results are 4x more likely to achieve quota. Our Become the Only Choice Sales Effectiveness eLearning and virtual Instructor led training is designed to give you these skills and make it easy to implement and experience this kind of success.
At Butler Street, we are experts in leveraging the concepts of diagnose, develop, perfect to help companies and their people grow. If you are looking to freshen up your prospecting efforts, secure more meetings and influence the decision process, we can help.