An Accenture report claims that more than 90% of decision-makers never respond to cold calls. In addition, recent Gartner studies reveal that the old fashioned lead generation “spray and pray strategy” results in only a 2% response rate. That’s not much. In context, you need to make 200 dials to get four leads – and then the quality is still doubtful. So it’s time for sales organisations to do a 180 flip on their prospecting strategy.
What does such a strategy look like? It is called Connect Calling; it is multi-media layered, full of insights, and in touch with the Prospect’s reality. It has two steps:
1. Connect Calling “The Prep.”
- Video Message
2. Connect Calling “the Call.”
- Do’s and Don’ts
Connect Calling “The Prep”
Linkedin: Take the cold out of cold calling by establishing authentic Linkedin connections with your Prospects. The emphasis is on “authentic”. Just an acceptance of your Linkedin connection request does not count. Instead, your Prospect must have commented on your Linkedin post or downloaded one of your insightful articles. What kind of insights? Well, Trusted Advisors have an opinion on how they can help businesses with their growth strategy. Prepare insightful articles about changes you see in the marketplace, the impact on your Prospect’s business and why you believe they should consider a change. Ensure your articles are not about you and your company. Instead, it is about them, their industry and their challenges.
Video message: Record a video message of yourself talking about the content of your insightful articles. Keep it short and sharp. Start with the change you see in the marketplace – refer to research if you can. Then, share how this affects the customer’s current business models. And finish with what you recommend them to do. Again, do not talk about you or your company. And because the new way of selling always end with asking for a commitment, invite the viewer to connect with you so you can send additional insightful articles.
Email: Although less effective as a first connection, it works very well as a reinforcement and acknowledgement of being connected. Follow up on any “authentic” Linkedin connection by email. Send the article, ask if they received and read it. This works well over email. Also, send your video message in such a way, so it lands in the Prospect’s email inbox. Follow up again. Did they watch it? Did they share it with some of their colleagues?
Connect Calling “The Call”
There is nothing as dull for a Prospect to listen to old fashioned opening lines:
- We do this; we are located here and there
- We are great; we are the best
- We have great solutions
- We are eco-friendly, followed by: “Why don’t we catch up next week Tuesday or Wednesday; what suits you better?
Spot the common word: WE! These introductions and statements do not pass the “So what?” test. Everything said so far comes across to a Prospect as self-focused and has no real meaning to them. No wonder Prospects react with: “No, thank you, we are busy” or “Call back in six months.”
How can you do this differently? First, flip the mindset 180 degrees. Selling is helping, so that is your message. Once you have established an online connection, continue to inspire your contact to participate in a short conversation. Look at this from the Prospect’s perspective. You have interrupted their day, so what goes through their mind? They think:
- If this is a short call, I take it.
- I don’t want to speak to someone who is wasting my time
- I will listen if they say something insightful and relevant to my challenges.
This all happens in the first 30 seconds. With that in mind,
- Your call needs to be short;
- Focus on the objective of your call: You want to arrange a follow-up meeting.
- Your message needs to be insightful for your Prospect.
- You should not waste their time.
- Don’t fall into the trap of starting to sell; keep your mind on the objective.
Structure; To do this well, you need a script, but you cannot sound like reading a script. Hence, it would be best to practice with words you feel comfortable with. It needs to be natural. It needs to be you. A structure is your guide for those first 30 seconds:
- Who you are, what you do, and… how you are connected (Referral – social media – your insightful article)
- Pitch the challenge as described in your article again
- You have ideas on how you can help
- Your commitment to not waste their time in an agreed meeting
Note the mention of how you are connected immediately after your introduction. Connect calling works. In conclusion, your Prospecting strategy needs a 180 Flip!
Feel free to share with your teams and network.