What do you do when you have a qualified prospect that gives every indication that they want your solution but they suddenly disappear? It seems like they’ve fallen off the face of the earth. They don’t respond to calls, texts, or emails. I’m sure many of us salespeople have experienced this at some point.
This is where sales training comes into play because it gives you a set of tools to use in different circumstances. In this situation, you need to clarify whether in fact the sale is still alive.
One approach you could use is to express some vulnerability and offer to “close the file” on the sale. For example, “I thought we were ready to move forward, but it seems like something might have changed that I’m unaware of, and I should probably close the file.”
You could call this approach the “Takeaway.” Using this technique, you share what you thought, communicate your sense that there is a change in strategy or situation, and demonstrate your willingness and comfort to walk away. You give the prospect an “out” without putting them on the defensive. The goal here is to elicit a response while preserving the relationship you’ve built. Your ultimate objective is to ascertain whether the sales process will move forward.
If The Answer is No
If the client indicates that things have changed and they are unable to move forward, you know you can move on to the next opportunity. You may get insight into why things changed, and then you can determine the type of follow up that should happen. The Takeaway sets you up so that you’ll be able to shake hands and walk away on good terms.
If the Answer is Yes
If the discussion resumes, then the client should be willing to make progress towards closing the deal. This could be one of those situations where factors you have no control over have impacted progress: a change in leadership, a family illness, an urgent project, a financial issue. But it also could be that they have questions that they have been able to verbalize. You’ll take your cue on how to proceed based on their response to the Takeaway.
I think what’s most important when using the Takeaway is remembering that you are on an equal footing with your prospect. You’ve committed your valuable time to them because you had a solution that fit the prospect’s needs. They have given you their valuable time for the same reason. When something fundamentally changes, it’s better to address it to understand what might need to happen so that the sale goes forward, or the file can be closed.
At One of a Kind Sales, we believe training is fundamental to sales success. If you or your team need help in using sales techniques to close more business, contact us at 908-879-2911.
My team and I make sales calls every day. We focus on building a relationship of trust with a prospect while moving towards the close. To accomplish this, we use customized scripts that we’ve internalized, as well as a variety of proven sales techniques.
There are three useful techniques that we don’t use as readily as we might when we move deeper into the sales process. I have seen them be very effective in moving discussions forward when used strategically.
“My Biggest Fear”
Express a specific concern you have about how the prospect might perceive your solution. An example of this is: “My biggest fear is that you see this solution as an instant fix. In fact, it may take several months for you to see its impact.” This technique calls attention to a potential stumbling block and positions you as an honest presenter of the facts. You’re calling out an issue that the prospect may not have paid attention to that could emerge later and derail the sale. If this is an issue for the prospect, it’s better to find out now and address it.
Get the prospect to justify why they need your solution. During the discussion, you could comment: “It looks like this might not be one of your priorities now.” This will either lead to confirmation that it isn’t important to them, or it will cause the prospect to explain to you why it’s a priority. The outcome is that your prospect develops a better understanding of how your solution is relevant to them.
This is a variation on the Justification sales technique in which you suggest that the prospect doesn’t really need your solution. You could say, “Perhaps you don’t need any help in addressing this.” Once again, the prospect has a couple of obvious responses, the first being “you are right,” and the second being, “No, we need help.” You’ve gotten the prospect to validate the need for your solution.
Using these techniques may reveal that there is no opportunity at this time. But experience has taught me that it’s better to know this as soon as possible so that you can move them into follow up mode and transition to the next opportunity.
You can see how these techniques might move the relationship forward and reinforce the value of your solution. Keep them in your sales tool chest and use them appropriately.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love sales, and we particularly love cold calling. We believe being well-prepared to sell is critical to success. If you or your team would benefit from learning more about these and other sales techniques, call us at 908-879-2911.
I know the feeling. You’ve got the prospect on the phone, and you’ve confirmed that they likely have a problem you can solve. You’ve secured the appointment. And then you think to yourself: ‘why not just give them a little preview and see if you can get them even more primed for the first appointment? Who will it hurt anyway? Won’t it speed up the sales process?’
I have learned that taking this approach is both premature and risky. The further you move away from the established process for cold calling, the more likely you are to get poor results. While it might seem that moving some aspects of the first scheduled meeting into that initial phone call might speed things up, it’s better not to. In fact, when you get this feeling, that’s when you need to slow things down. Why?
Learn From the Prospect
Keep in mind that although you may feel that you know all you need to know about the prospect, at this point what you know is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more. During the first scheduled appointment, you’ll focus on establishing rapport and confirm their communication style. Also, you’ll encourage them to speak in greater detail about how the problem you solve impacts their business. It is unwise to proceed directly into “sell mode” without this information.
Focus on the Prospect, Not Yourself
When you enter “sales mode” in a cold call, you shift the focus from the prospect to yourself and your business. This is counter to the way that we can differentiate ourselves. To accomplish this differentiation, we need to keep the focus on the prospect. Keep these questions in mind:
- What are they experiencing?
- How do they feel about it?
- How is it impacting them?
During the call, your job is to listen and learn in order to capture and acknowledge what they are saying to you.
Establish and Maintain Your Differentiation
When you start selling during that initial phone call, you may not realize it but you will sound just like every other salesperson. Rather than listening to the prospect, and learning from them, you’re busy telling them why they need you. Rather than hearing and understanding how the problem you can solve impacts them, you’re discussing an impact that might not be important to them, and potentially losing an opportunity as a result. To the prospect this interaction feels more like a hard sell than relationship building.
In my experience, I’ve learned that its best to stay laser focused on the main objective of that initial cold call: confirming that there is a need that can be addressed and making the appointment. That’s all.
At One of a Kind Sales, our core expertise is Cold Calling! We’d love to work with you to create the most productive approach for you and your team. To explore the possibilities, give us a call at 908.879.2911.
How many of YOUR Cold Calls are going to voicemail? How many of your voicemails are getting returned?
According to a 2019 survey by RingLead, 80% of cold calls go to voicemail. And that is actually an improvement over the 2013 stat, by sales strategist Jill Konrath who stated that, at the time, 97% of calls were going to voicemail.
Either way, having your call go to voicemail is a VERY common outcome when Cold Calling. This is true for ALL calls. This post will address how to leave a voicemail when Cold Calling and more importantly, how to leave a voicemail that will get a return call.
First, let’s be clear – you should ALWAYS leave a voicemail when Cold Calling. It’s free. It’s a chance to make a connection and a positive impression – do it!
Don’t do an info dump!
I cannot stress enough that you should NOT use this opportunity to dump all your info on your prospect’s voice mail.
You should NOT do an info dump face to face either, but that is a topic for another time.
Make it compelling
Be interesting. Be curious. Be intriguing. Give them a reason to return your call.
For example, say, “your name came up recently in a conversation and it motivated me to reach out to you.”
Keep it short and simple
Use a script
As we noted above, the odds are good that you will be sent to voicemail. Don’t treat it like an afterthought.
This interaction is just as important as your live conversation with the prospect. Have it worked out and written down so you can follow it seamlessly.
Don’t have a script? Don’t know what to say? Call us at 908.879.2911 – we can craft an effective script that gets helps YOU set more qualified appointments and leave voicemail messages that get returned.
But be sure that you don’t sound like a robot when you are leaving your (scripted) voicemail message. People get enough robocalls! Differentiate yourself by being natural and human.
Be prepared to WOW them if/ when they do return the call.
There is nothing worse than someone returning your call to follow up on what you said in the voicemail, and you don’t remember or know what they are talking about!
A WARM call
When they return your call, it is no longer a COLD call. They have ‘met’ you – they have heard your voice and have an idea of how you can help them.
This is now an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who has expressed some interest. Don’t blow it!
Tech is your friend
We use VanillaSoft Sales Engagement software to pre-record our voicemail messages. This allows us to perfect the scripting, tone and cadence so we can drop a great version into their voicemail every time!
Click here to learn more about VanillaSoft.
Not a Deal Closer
A voicemail is just one of many touchpoints with a prospect. It is not designed to close a deal but to open the door to having a productive call.
Good luck and keep dialing!
Do you need help with YOUR Cold Calling scripts? Would you like our pros to take care of your Cold Calling for you? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 or click here to set up a time to talk!
Need more Cold Calling tips? Check out:
Prepare for Cold Calling Success.
A Better Approach to Cold Calling.
A Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success – Step 1: The Cold Call.
According to the RAIN Group, a sales training and consulting firm, 58% of prospects say they currently find cold calls useless. Wow! Are YOU wasting YOUR time making ‘useless’ calls? Here is a better approach to Cold Calling.
What is a ‘useless’ call?
If a prospect is finding your call ‘useless’, it is a good bet that you are calling people and doing what I call the “F&B Dump”. You are dumping a bunch of information, about the Features and Benefits of your product or services, on whoever is unlucky enough to pick up your call.
That, or you are monopolizing the call with info about you, you, you.
Or maybe you are just launching into a hard sales pitch.
Or worst of all, you do all of the above!
A better approach to Cold Calling
A better approach to Cold Calling is to start by confirming who you are speaking with. Make sure they are a decision maker and that they actually have a minute to speak with you. If they don’t, set up a time that works better for them. You are both busy, why waste each other’s time?
Asking permission like this can set you apart from all the other cold callers they encounter and sets you up for a CONVERSATION, among equals.
Make sure they are worth YOUR time
Once you are speaking with them – not talking AT them or SELLING them, you should have a few, tightly scripted questions you can ask to determine if they have a need for your product or services.
Ask your questions and then really LISTEN to their answers. Use that information to determine if they are worth pursuing. If they are not a good fit, ask for a referral or a recommendation of someone they know who might need your product or services and then exit the call (click here for more on how to ask for a referral)
Make it worth THEIR time
Another sales study found that 84% of buyers complain that sales reps are annoying in their efforts to convince them to buy.
If prospects are finding YOU annoying (as evidenced by rushing off the call, hanging up or otherwise uninterested in speaking with you) it is probably because you have either rushed to the sales pitch or bowled over them with all your talking.
The initial cold call is not for hard selling – it is an exploratory call to see if they are a good fit. Going into sell mode will definitely annoy your prospect.
Respect their time, identify if they have a need you can fill and if they ARE a good fit, move to set up a first meeting. (click here for what to cover in that meeting)
Useless calls are a waste of time for you AND your prospects. Use our approach to have real conversations that convert to qualified appointments and sales.
Need help? We train salespeople in the skills and tactics that deliver RESULTS – give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn more!
How many more sales could you close if you had a steady stream of QUALIFIED leads?
Are you so busy servicing existing customers that you just don’t make the calls you need to fill your sales pipeline?
Do you hate cold calling?
Did you know that OUR highly trained, professional cold callers can do your Cold Calling for YOU?
At One of a Kind Sales, our professionally trained inside business development reps make calls and set qualified appointments to keep YOUR sales pipeline full. We can be YOUR Inside Sales Team with callers who are continuously trained and managed to maximize performance and set QUALIFIED appointments for YOU!
What We Do
We are a full-service appointment setting provider – we come in, determine your needs and set up an effective system to set appointments with qualified prospects. Our callers understand the psychology of cold calling and ENGAGE prospects in non-salesy conversations that uncover pain points and opportunities for you. Our time-proven system for monitoring and recycling leads sets us apart and delivers results.
Cold Calling is in our DNA
Doing cold calling for others is actually why I STARTED One of a Kind Sales back in 2011. At that time, I owned a recruiting firm. My team made cold calls all day, every day and was quite comfortable engaging with just about anyone.
One of my customers at the time had nine salespeople who did everything BUT pick up the phone. Because of this lack of cold calling, they had a weak pipeline and were always struggling to meet their sales goals.
They engaged us to build them an INSIDE SALES DEPARTMENT. First, we secured and set them up on a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to facilitate cold calling. Then we developed scripting and defined the process we would follow from initial contact through multiple touches to qualification and conversion. We created and documented procedures to build, maintain and cycle through prospect lists and trained three inside sales reps to follow and implement the new system.
This resulted in over THREE HUNDRED qualified appointments set in the FIRST YEAR! This was huge improvement over their previously weak pipeline and significantly impacted (IMPROVED!) their bottom line.
After completing this project and seeing the need for this type of service, I decided to create One of a Kind Sales. Click here to see a short video about our time-proven process, keep an eye out for our next three Appointment Setting Case Studies and give us a CALL TODAY at 908.879.2911 to see how WE can become YOUR inside sales team!