As all salespeople know, getting a foot in the door with their prospects can be the hardest part of the sales process. In order to sell to someone, you have to book a meeting first and that can be easier said than done. Working as a cold caller is a tough job and is not for everyone. It takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer. (HubSpot) Since results aren’t immediate, sales reps need to be persistent, have good communication skills and an engaging personality to be successful. They’ll make countless calls everyday hoping to have their prospect answer the phone, only to be shut down before they even got the chance to share their pitch. Here are five steps to help you weed through your pipeline and successfully set more appointments.
1. Do your research
When it comes to reaching out to a prospect, it’s important to know every aspect you can about their company and product/service. Take the time to explore their website to find out not only the basics, but also some key details. Through sites like LinkedIn, sales reps can find out who decision makers are, what companies have been working on, and even interests of a prospect. By looking through their LinkedIn page, you’ll be able to find more about the employees they work with, along with their titles.
This preliminary research can be done quickly and in the end can save a company both time and money by eliminating reaching out to the wrong people. When you’re able to understand your prospects, you can then create content they will be interested in. By giving a prospect a personalized buying experience they will be more compelled to want to work with your company.
2. Have a plan
Show your prospects you care about their time and business by generating a message specific to them. One way of doing this would be by simply reaching out to them on a personal level before even getting into the sales pitch. Since you’ve already done your research, find a way to connect with your prospect on a human level.
For example, if you know they are from an area that recently was hit by a storm or their favorite sports team had a great game, start with a conversation about that. This personal interaction will show that you are interested in them as a person and not just for a sale. Buyers are 48% more likely to consider a company that personalizes their marketing to address their specific business issues. (ITSMA) Be genuine but keep the conversation light and positive to build rapport.
3. Communicate clearly
Through the research you conducted, you’ll be able to tailor your message to address objections and focus on the things that make them tick. Understanding your target will help determine lingo and terminology, so prospects can better relate to your message. In order to be successful, a sales rep must keep the conversation engaging and read from a script. People don’t want to talk to robots, so reps need to add in their own flavor to keep the message fresh. While the overall message will be consistent from phone call to phone call, each conversation will be different.
4. Tailor to their needs
Use this conversation to identify a prospects’ pain point and their goals as a company. This will allow you to sell them on your product or service by letting them know the value they will gain from setting up an appointment. By showing them what they’d get in return from a meeting, whether being able to solve a problem or offer up advice, will give them the incentive to learn more. During this time, reps can verify the information they have already collected and build off of the research they’ve done.
5. Give them a choice
After you’ve broken the ice with your prospect, move the conversation forward by giving them a choice of times to set up a meeting. Ask them something like, “We are free to meet this Thursday at 1:00 PM or would it work better with your schedule to meet next Monday at 2:00 PM.” By avoiding “yes or no” questions you are keeping them engaged in the conversation. Giving them options will allow them to make a choice and with multiple choices for meeting times, they will likely pick a time to schedule an appointment.
6. Follow up
Regardless if your call ends with a deal or not, it’s important to have a follow-up plan in place. If a prospect says they don’t want to set an appointment, offer up to send over information about your product or service for them to continue looking over. Then follow up with them to see if they have looked it over and would like to book an appointment from there.