Warm-up your “COLD CALLING” when using the Phone

Arranging Face-to Face meetings with prospective B2B clients to close sales, is as relevant today, as it was in years gone by. Yes of course there are many other methods for selling today, namely:

  • Online
  • Via Webinar
  • Email marketing and selling
  • Using Social media
  • Over the telephone
  • Using VOIP calls, like FaceTime and Skype
  • Face-to Face
  • Combination of some or all of the tools described above

My experience shows that different methods or a combination of methods, are more or less effective, depending on the industry you serve.  In the nine part series “GOLD” Calling – Close more sales, I discussed how to utilise all the above methods not for direct selling per se, but rather as supplemental tools, to support you to “WARM” your “COLD” calling efforts.

B2B Selling

In the article today, I want to speak specifically to one of the most crucial parts of the B2B selling process, namely arranging a Face-to-Face meeting with your prospective future customer.

Create Awareness

The first thing you need to do, is to make your prospective B2B customer, aware of who you are. This can be achieved using numerous methods, namely:

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Pay per click advertising on Google
  • Email campaigns
  • Tele-marketing
  • Traditional advertising
    • Radio/TV
    • Billboards
    • Print advertising
  • Social media
    • Post articles on LinkedIn/Facebook feed
    • Post articles on LinkedIn groups
    • Comment on targeted prospects LinkedIn feed
    • Social media advertising
    • Facebook advertising
    • LinkedIn advertising
    • Twitter Advertising

Once your prospective future customer is aware of who you are, it is far easier to arrange a meeting with them.

Arranging to meet with your B2B customers

  • First prize when arranging to meet with prospective future customers is either via:
  • Edification – where a satisfied customer calls one of their connections to tell them about you and your great product and or service
  • Referral– second to edification, is getting a referral from one of your very satisfied customers.
  • Video recorded testimonials – When you have great relationships with your customers, they will gladly record video testimonials for you. This effectively gives you a powerful tool to use during sales meetings to transfer trust, from one very satisfied customer, to a new prospective future customer.
  • Another method, is where prospective “Future Customers” call in to arrange a Face-to Face meeting, due to them becoming aware of you, from one of the methods described in the section “CREATE AWARENESS” above.
  • One of the easiest ways to get past gatekeepers and to arrange a meeting with a decision maker is at Networking events.
    • You can attend public networking events, where your perfect customer hangs out and arrange to meet-up with after the event.
  • You can also hold your own networking events with strategic alliance partners, who have similar customer profiles to your own.
    • These events serve as both customer appreciation events and networking opportunities for you.
    • You make a Warm, “GOLD TELEPHONE CALL” to arrange a meeting with your prospective future customer.

Making “GOLD TELEPHONE CALLS” work for you

It is widely believed that “Cold Calling” is dead. In many ways I would agree. The Old-fashioned process of identifying potential prospects and stopping off at their reception to drop off a catalogue, is most certainly a waste of time, effort and resources. Similarly picking-up the telephone, without doing any research or preparing for the call, is also a huge waste of time.

On the other hand, when you:

  • Carefully target your perfect customer, who needs exactly what you have to sell
  • You then conduct thorough research to get to know each prospective customer
  • Next you work to create awareness about your product or service, by utilising the methods described above.
  • Finally, you utilise the telephone to engage prospective customers and arrange a Face-to-Face meeting with them

Making a “GOLD TELEPHONE CALL”

The first part of any “GOLD TELEPHONE CALL” is all about getting permission to continue to arrange a Face-to-Face meeting. Remember that all you are trying to sell at this point is an opportunity to meet Face-to-Face.

The purpose of any Face-to Face meeting is to give you the opportunity to understand each future customers specific needs. Once you have uncovered their specific needs, you want to show them how your “VALUE PROPOSITION” can help them to, solve a challenge, provide a better solution, save them time or money and optimise their life experience.

Ultimately you want to show your future customer how, by using your product or service, they can move from an undesirable state before doing business with you, to a more desirable one after purchasing from you.

Preparation

The three magic words for sales success are:

  • Preparation
  • Preparation
  • PREPERATION

As you know, it is really hard to qualify a customer, get the contact details of the decision maker, influencers, gatekeepers etc. With all the time and energy, you expend doing this – is it not worth doing a little additional research about the organisation and the person you are planning to call.

Research shows that, by researching your future customer and investing just 3-5 minutes getting to know them better, before you make a call, increases your chances of making an appointment with them by 100%.

Segmentation

I know you have heard the saying if you “FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL”. Nothing could be truer than when making “GOLD TELEPHONE CALLS”. Making “GOLD TELEPHONE CALLS” is a time consuming and if done incorrectly an energy sapping affair. It is for this reason that planning, and preparation are crucial before even touching the phone.

If you have a random list of names and you just pick up the phone and begin calling. You are setting yourself up for failure. Your hit rate will so dismally low that you will very quickly feel despondent. On the other hand, when you invest the time to plan your calls and you invest the time to prepare upfront, your strike rate is far higher and as such it is easier to remain focused and inspired.

Segment your Target list

To get started, segment your list as follows:

  • Industry
  • Title
  • Existing technologies
  • Competition
  • Value proposition fit

How you segment your qualified prospects is obviously dependant on your industry, customers and their specific needs. The easiest and most pragmatic way to segment your list is obviously by title (CEO), industry (courier).

When you develop your message, remember to ensure that each message must be designed specifically for each segment, as stated above.

Developing your message

There are two crucial messages you need to develop:

  1. The first 5 seconds
  2. The second 3 – 5 minutes
  • First 5 seconds, where you catch your future customers interest
    • This needs to be a powerful message designed to quickly show how you can add meaningful value to your future customer.
      • Example: Good morning Mr. Smith, the reason for my call is to help all your sales team members to achieve their sales targets this year.
    • Once you have got their interest, ask permission to continue for the next 3 to 5 minutes.
      • Example: If you are interested and want to help your sales team to perform all the sales activities they need to smash their sales target next year, then I would like to arrange a Face-to-Face meeting with you.
      • The second message you need to develop is a sales message with a powerful reason, why your prospect, should agree to invest time with you, at a Face-to-Face meeting.
    • Once you have your future customers permission to continue, use this time wisely to engage them and show them how you can help them move from an undesirable state, before using your product or service, to a more desirable state after they purchase from you.
    • This part of the call, is a powerful monologue, filled with powerful reasons why your prospect should agree to meet with you.
      • Example: GR8 sales has worked with similar organisations to yours, where we have supported their sales teams to increase their performance and results. This is achieved by utilising our industry leading learner delivery methodology developed as part of our CEO’s PHD. This process looks to first understand the crucial recipe needed for each sales team member to achieve their sales target. Next, by utilising our proven teaching methodology, we convert the requisite sales tools and techniques, into your sales teams’ new sales success habit set. Would you be interested in meeting with our CEO, so that we can do, see if we can do the same for you and your sales team?
      • Notice that this part of the conversation is not about “DISCOVERY” (Probing). The questions you ask, should be focused on arranging the Face-to-Face meeting.
      • Know each segments unique priorities and design your message and questions to speak to these priorities.
    • Once you understand the unique priorities of each segment, you can design specific questions to show the value you bring
      • Example: We are working with similar organisations to yours and are helping them with the following priorities:
        • Upskill their sales teams to consistently achieve their sales targets
        • Support their sales teams to get the most from their sales day
        • Help their sales team to integrate into their customers businesses and form partnerships with them.
        • How do these align with your priorities?
        • What other priorities do you have?
        • Know what you are planning to achieve during the call
      • Be crystal clear on the outcome you want to achieve during the call
        • Arrange a meeting
        • Know exactly how much time you are requesting

Delivering your message

When planning your approach and message, ensure that you pay attention to the structure of the call. You need to be cognisant of the following:

  • How are you going to introduce yourself and your organisation?
  • What message are you going to lead with to get your future customers attention?
  • How are you going to answer the question – The Reason for my call is
  • What outcome do you want to achieve?
  • What sales message are you going to deliver once you get permission to continue after the first 5 seconds
  • What priorities are you going to highlight?

Block of time to call

As you know we are all champions at procrastinating. Making “GOLD PHONE CALLS” is one of those tasks that we hate doing, so as you can imagine, it is one we prefer not to do. It is for this reason that you need to block out time to conduct this crucial part of the prospecting process.

Research shows that the best times for using the phone to make “GOLD PHONE CALLS” is on a Wednesday and Thursday between 11H00 and 12H00 and 16H00 and 17H00. At around 11h00, people are winding down for lunch and they don’t want to start a new task, similarly after 16H00 in the afternoon, people are winding down for the day. The other major reason for calling after 16H0 is that most gatekeepers have left for the day and as such it is easier to get straight through to the decision maker.

Block out just those four hours a week and you will be amazed at how effective you become at making, “GOLD PHONE CALLS”.

How to conduct Pre-call research

  • Search for and explore the company’s website
    • Look for anything interesting you could use during your call to help you to connect your value proposition to your prospective future customer’s needs.
    • Try to find useful information, you can use during your call
  • Do a search in Google news
    • Look for articles or news items about the person you are planning to call
    • Any useful information will help you to engage with your future customer and increases the chances of arranging a meeting
  • Read the LinkedIn profile of the person you are planning to meet
    • Look for information, which could help you to connect with the individual you are planning to call
    • Look for anything, which will support you to engage with your future customer, during the call

Making a“GOLD TELEPHONE CALL”

  • Before you pick up the phone to make the call, create a vivid picture in your mind, where you see the call progressing positively.
  • Visualise the future customer attentively listening to you and then agreeing to meet with you Face-to Face.
  • Based on the research you have conducted, plan how you will conduct the call.
  • The first five seconds of the call are critical
  • Know how to answer this question – The reason for my call is
  • Make sure that the reason you state is customer centric and that it gets them interested.
  • The first five seconds of the call, is where your future customer decides to end the call or give you another three to five minutes to convince them to meet with you.
  • Once you earn the right to speak for another three to five minutes, you have the opportunity to sell a Face-to-Face meeting with your future customer.
  • This is where you connect your value proposition to your future customers’ specific needs, in such a way, that shows them the value you offer.
  • GOLD TELEPHONE CALLS” are not an opportunity for discovery – that happens during the Face-to-Face meeting.
    • Research shows that, unlike Face-to-Face meetings, where you look to engage with customers and avoid long monologues. Successful “GOLD TELEPHONE CALLS” are not the place to ask too many probing questions, but rather require monologues, where you clearly articulate your value proposition.

Track and measure your Results

You obviously want to achieve optimal results, when making “GOLD PHONE CALLS”. In order to do this, you need to consistently measure your performance. This will highlight what is working and what is not.

Action Idea: Keep a pad and a pen handy as you make calls and carefully note of the following:

  • How many successes are you enjoying/10 calls made
  • Measure each different approach and see, which one works best
  • Explore, which markets/ industries and titles you are having the most success with

Measure your performance every 10 calls to get a better understanding around what is working and what is not. I use the magic number of 8 % conversion ratio. If any approach achieves anything above 8 %, then I mark that approach as one I will utilise again. If I achieve anything below 8 % conversion ratio, then I look for a new fresh approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

top