Making that first call to a prospect has never been more challenging than today. Prospecting is hard. More than half of salespeople believe it’s more difficult to get in front of Prospects than five years ago. You may ask yourself what you are doing wrong. Is this because of you or because of the Prospects you are calling? The statistics tell the real story. Buyers have moved on, and so should you. You need to change your prospecting script. And maybe even more than that.
- 60 % of buyers want to talk about pricing on the first call.
- Only 3 % of appointments become opportunities.
- Only 13% of customers believe a salesperson can understand their needs.
- You drive 84 % of buyers away if your sales tactics are pushy,
Think about a time when you were the Buyer, for example, when you reached out to some painters to do a makeover of your living room. Or when you asked for advice at a gourmet shop on what to cook for dinner? You weren’t looking for someone to take your order (following your ideas). Instead, you were looking for inspiration—someone who could bring something new to the table.
Stop following bad habits.
Why is it so that when salespeople call prospects, they fall back into old habits? 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 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.”
It has always been about value.
Why should a prospect say yes to your request for a meeting? They have a service in place, meaning your competitor is taking care of whatever their need is. Your Prospect is most likely in the Why Change? Phase. The only reason why they would agree to meet with you is if you give them some value they currently do not have. Hence, if you do not provide that value on that first call, the customer will gravitate to one value they know best; Price.
“I will meet with you if your price is more attractive than what I am paying now.”
Before, the value the customer was after was relatively simple: a differentiation between you and your competitor. Your Features, Advantages and Benefits – or price if everything is equal. Now, the value has changed to: Tell me something I don’t know and can help me make my business more successful.
The most critical variable in sales success is your effectiveness in creating value within the sales conversation.Anthony Iannarino
Warm or Cold?
More than 90% of decision-makers never respond to cold calls. So, your first objective is to make cold calls warm, even with calls to non-decision-makers. That’s right; you got to warm the Prospect up a bit. This can be done with your marketing colleagues (buyer enablement) or by taking your own initiative through Connect Calling. If the Prospect is already aware of certain risks or is missing out on opportunities, then the likelihood of accepting a meeting to discuss that is increasing. And we know this works: Social sellers are 66 % more likely to reach their quota than those using traditional prospecting techniques.
Referrals are HOT!
Creating the first interest with management stakeholders rather than reaching out immediately to executives is paying off. They have the power of word of mouth. Most of the buying is done when you are not there.
- Referrals are 36x more valuable than a cold call and 4x more valuable than a web lead.
- 91% of B2B referrals influence customers by word of mouth
- Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
Calling with the Buyer’s perspective
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 or a referral, 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.
You need a script, but you cannot sound like you are reading a script. Hence you need to practice with words you feel comfortable with. It needs to be natural. It needs to be you. Still, a structure helps. It’s your guide for those first 30 seconds. Note “the connect” immediately after your introduction:
- Who you are, what you do, and… connect (Referral – social media)
- Pitch a most likely challenge
- Your promise that you could help
- Your promise to not waste their time
Adapting to change works better together. Your sales peers are in the same boat. Use your team meetings to share ideas. Do a Prospecting Call Practice day. Coach each other. Ask the help of your sales development colleagues. One thing is clear: You need to change your prospecting script. And maybe even more than that.
Feel free to share with your colleagues and teams.