A quiz for you:
Communicating your expertise and product knowledge to your prospect leads to a successful sale:
I came across this question in a session with a world-class expert in the Sandler selling method. This is one that can spark a lot of debate.
I’m aware that many salespeople are trained to be product experts. In fact, product or service training may be the lion’s share of the formal training that they receive from their company. Often, salespeople are coached to share their knowledge in order to establish their expertise with a prospect. This might be because the business perceives that the offering is so differentiated that once a prospect fully understands it they will jump at the opportunity. So, an encyclopedic knowledge of the offering and the ability to communicate it is often perceived as a major sales success factor for a salesperson.
However, consider the problems that could arise with this approach. What if we miss something critical because we are so busy “communicating” about our offering? When we first meet with a prospect, I believe it’s important to let the prospect communicate with us. What are their current issues? Why are they even talking to us about our offering? What problems are they trying to solve? If we move into “presentation mode” without knowing the answers to these questions, we risk losing the prospect’s attention by not addressing their core concerns. In order to get at these concerns, we need to take the time to ask the right questions and then engage in active listening so that the prospect can communicate with us and so that we can internalize what they are saying. We need a two-way conversation and, particularly early in the discussion, it’s ideal if the prospect does most of the talking. This is where we learn what we need to know in order to confirm if they are a good fit for our solution and then close the sale.
So what’s my answer to this question?
False: I’ve concluded that product knowledge and expertise aren’t enough to close the sale.
- Avoid getting into the “nuts and bolts” of a product presentation immediately with a prospect.
- Slow down and take the time to get to know prospects in order to learn what motivates them.
When you truly understand their situation, you can then start to use your understanding of your offering to highlight how your solution will make a real difference for them. In my experience, taking this approach will improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to sell and are lifelong learners when it comes to selling. Cold calling is our specialty. If your business needs help with getting appointments with qualified prospects, give us a call at 908-879-2911.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended Outbound 2022 in Atlanta. Outbound is self-described as “the biggest, baddest conference in the Sales Profession.” Outbound is unique because it’s the only conference focused exclusively on “sales prospecting, pipeline, and productivity.” I always make it a point to attend.
Some people are amazed that I would take time away from my business to go to a conference with other salespeople. But in my view, I’m not taking time away from my business, I’m investing time in my business because, as the owner of a business whose primary focus is outbound cold calling, attending Outbound is continuing education for me.
A conference like Outbound gives me the opportunity to be surrounded by and interact with individuals who believe in outbound activities. These are people who strive to be the best professional salespeople every day. While there, I’m able to explore new ideas and develop relationships that have led to growth for my own business. My experience at Outbound allows me to be a better leader of my own organization and inspire my team to do their best job.
I also invest in my own people. We have weekly Sandler training attended not only by my sales specialists but my admin team as well. As a result, my admin team has a deeper understanding of our business and they have become better communicators as a result. This investment pays off with greater efficiency and productivity for my business.
My Love of Learning
If you’ve followed my blog and my social posts for any length of time, you’ll know that I have a strong thirst for learning. Attending Outbound helps satisfy that need. But another way that I address this is through my Conversational Selling podcast. A recent conversation with my colleague Liz Wendling, President of Liz Wendling Business Consulting and Sales Coaching left me considering her wise words: “Selling is the only way to stay in business.” Given the truth of this statement, the need for good sales skills is inexhaustible. One of a Kind Sales will continue to hone these skills to meet the needs of our clients.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to sell and cold calling is our specialty. If your business needs help with this, give us a call at 908-879-2911.
One of the most challenging parts of selling is cold calling. Like all of us, salespeople dislike rejection and don’t want to hear the word “no.” And many have never been trained how to do cold calling. As a result, many salespeople find cold calling intimidating. Aside from the fear of rejection, there is a concern that they are “interrupting” someone to make a pitch. But as professional salespeople, they need to keep in mind that the person on the other end of the call may have a need for the potential solution they offer. If the prospect sees that value in having their problem solved, it is well worth the interruption.
In a recent Zoom Info article, cold calling was deemed “very to extremely effective” by almost 30% of professional salespeople. Also, it was reported that almost 70% of buyers accept cold calls. Given these statistics, it’s clear that cold calling presents a real opportunity to prospect for new business. In our experience as professional cold callers, once our callers reach their targeted prospects, most of them get the opportunity to make their initial case without the call terminating before that point.
What goes into making cold calling more effective? I believe preparation is critical to success. Below are just some of the steps we take to make our cold calling as efficient as it can be.
- The call list should be targeted to the segment you are pursuing. This ensures that your offering is relevant to the prospects you are pursuing.
- Develop a script that lays out what you want to communicate. Don’t repeat the script word for word. Use it to internalize your message. This prepares you to be able to say exactly what you want to say the moment you get the opportunity to connect. You’ll only have seconds to make an impression.
- Check your mindset. Think of yourself as an equal to the prospect you want to connect with. Remember they have a problem, and you have a solution.
- Make sure the purpose of your call is clear to the prospect, so they understand how what you are calling about is relevant to their business.
- Remember this is a dialogue. Let the prospect speak. This is when you’ll learn whether there is an opportunity for your solution now.
- Every time you speak to the prospect remember you are establishing a relationship – one that will earn you the right to speak to them again, whether for a follow up appointment if there is a current opportunity, or for a check-in several months from now if there isn’t a current need.
If your team can incorporate this approach, it can help take cold calling outreach to the next level and bring in new opportunities for growth.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love cold calling! If you need help implementing cold calling within your sales team, give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn how we can help.
Have you had the experience of meeting with a prospect and gradually discovering that the “ideal” prospect is not ideal at all? Afterwards, you may feel like you’ve wasted your time and energy.
If you’re leading a sales team who has been experiencing this, not only is it frustrating, but it can also turn out to be quite costly. Time spent meeting with the wrong people could have been spent in a more focused and profitable way. And if this happens often enough it can bring down team morale.
There are steps you can take to ensure that this never happens. But it involves something that may be the hardest part of sales – picking up the phone to qualify leads and confirm that they are true prospects. Salespeople often tell me that this is something that they avoid. It is much easier to have a conversation with a warm lead than to do a cold call.
A Strong Pre-Sales Process
At One of a Kind Sales, we know that cold calling is a key component of pre-sales. It’s the prospecting “legwork” that must be done to get a list of qualified leads. All things being equal, when a sales team is working with a list of qualified leads, they’ll have better success because they are meeting with the right people.
A strong pre-sales process uses multiple methods to build a list for the sales team to target. The process includes activities such as prospecting via social media and email, and cold calling.
Our experience is that cold calling is a critical component in the pre-sales process. Ultimately a well-executed cold calling campaign ensures that the sales team’s appointments are with the right people.
- Implement a strong pre-sales process within your organization to build a qualified list of prospects that your sales team can pursue.
- Alternatively, consider outsourcing the lead qualification process.
Remember, a sales team working with a list of truly qualified leads will result in shorter sales process and faster revenue growth.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love cold calling! If your sales team needs help implementing a pre-sales process or you would like to outsource cold calling for your sales team, reach out to us at 908-879-2911.
This time of year, when I tell people I’m a cold calling expert, they often comment, ‘well this must be a tough season for you and your team because it’s summer.’ This belief that everyone is on vacation and decisions are not being made is a common misperception.
In fact, our experience is quite the opposite. Here are some tips to make sure that you can use to jumpstart your summer cold calling activity and increase the likelihood of success.
- Know your target: Understanding your target means that you’ll know what motivates them to be interested in your offering.
- Know who the decision makers are: The decision maker is the one person you need for the appointment when you are cold calling.
- Develop and use a good script. Having a script allows you to think about and internalize your approach to the call in advance and anticipate different paths of discussion that might occur.
- Understand how your solution solves their problem. You’ll need to be able to recognize when a prospect is telling you something that indicates they are a qualified lead.
- Use Active listening. Make sure you’re not doing most of the talking. Allow the prospect to tell you about themselves and their business. This is when we learn what the opportunity really is.
- Pivot for the appointment. Once you’ve confirmed that there is a need, go for the appointment. Remember that a typical cold call is generally no more than 4 to 9 minutes. Making the appointment with a qualified lead is your objective. Leave deeper probes will be made during the first 30-minute appointment
Yes, these steps look like the basics…. and in fact, they are the tried-and-true core of cold calling best practices. There’s a reason why they are best practices – it’s because they work no matter the time of year.
If you need help implementing best practices as an individual salesperson or with an inside sales team you manage, reach out to us. We LOVE cold calling. Contact us at 908-879-2911.
Memorial Day is often thought of as the official start of summer – and depending on where you live, it’s also the official start of hurricane season. If you live in one of these hurricane-prone areas, this is the time of year that officials start reminding residents about hurricane preparedness. You need to plan in advance for what you’ll do when a hurricane strikes because not having a plan can put your life at risk.
This focus on preparation always reminds me of my business, One of a Kind Sales. Preparation is a critical success factor in sales. And that’s never more apparent than when you are making cold calls to set up appointments.
Anticipate the ‘Pain Point’
Here’s a cold calling sales preparation tip for you. Make sure you understand what factor motivates your prospect to be interested in your solution and ensure that you have a plan for how to engage in a discussion about it. Often this motivating factor is referred to as a ‘pain point.’ Prospects will express it as a source of frustration, or dissatisfaction. As cold callers we are looking for this as a point of qualification that the prospect could be a good candidate for our solution. As part of your sales preparation, you should anticipate several ‘pain points’ your prospects could have that they would like to resolve. Your plan should involve becoming conversant in these areas so that you are able to engage your prospect.
Start with a Script
I’ve personally found that it’s best to start with a script. When I mention ‘creating a script,’ it’s not so you can learn to recite the script word for word, but so that you can begin to internalize the messaging. When it comes to eliciting ‘pain points’, writing out your prompts and your responses in a script format helps to organize your thoughts. Reviewing the script helps make the responses second nature to you. This improves your ability to have a discussion with your prospect. Working this way, you don’t have to “wing it” based on what the prospect says to you. You’ve prepared by anticipating several possible responses and you are truly ready to engage.
Go for the Appointment
Once you’ve confirmed that the prospect is experiencing a discomfort, frustration, or ‘pain’ that you’re your solution addresses, you’ve qualified the prospect. Your next step is to set up the initial appointment.
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.