At One of a Kind Sales, I lead a team that does cold calling of prospects to set up initial meetings for our clients. Companies like ours often use one of two methods to accomplish this: either the ‘features and benefits’ approach or the consultative selling method. I have a strong preference for the consultative selling method.
‘Features and Benefits’ Selling Focuses on You
When you’re selling using the ‘features and benefits’ approach, you’re focusing attention on yourself and your offering. The core messaging centers on how the offering’s features will benefit the prospect. These kinds of conversations feel more like a hard sell, and I believe that they are perceived that way as well by the prospect. From the moment the conversation starts there’s little focus on understanding where the prospect fits in the equation. Because of this, features and benefits selling tends to lead to more immediate rejections.
When cold calling using the ‘features and benefits” approach the objective is normally to schedule 15 minutes with a prospect to talk to them in greater depth. But this is 15 minutes spent with a client that has not been qualified. I can’t image that anyone would think this is a good use of time. We also find that appointments arranged using the ‘features and benefits’ approach result in a high percentage of ‘no shows.’
Consultative Selling Centers on the Prospect’s Needs
In Consultative Selling, the prospect is the focus of the discussion. The discussion is about their needs and challenges with the objective of determining whether they are a fit for our solution. Then, and only then do we schedule an initial meeting. We request a 30-minute initial conversation. During that meeting we continue our conversation with the prospect about their specific situation. This approach fits with what we know about psychology of most buyers: it’s all about them, not about us. In our experience, the consultative selling approach has yielded higher quality initial meetings and an overall higher conversion rate.
If you’re in sales and you’re transitioning from a ‘features and benefits’ approach to consultative selling, you’ll end up sharpening your skills. Admittedly the transition may be somewhat uncomfortable because you are accustomed to talking about the offering right away. As salespeople, we are excited about what we are selling and have a natural desire to talk about it. But delaying this gratification and focusing on the prospect’s needs first results in a better qualified prospect. You’ll have a greater likelihood of being able to close a deal.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to do cold calling. We also train inside sales teams to do cold calling. If you’d like to discuss how we can help move your business to the next level by increasing your sales opportunities reach out to us at 908-879-2911.
I am so excited to announce that my book, The Inside Sales Solution is now available!
This short, easy to read book shows YOU how to set-up an effective outbound prospecting program. You will learn how to build and manage a team of successful outbound prospectors and take back control of your lead generation.
In any business, there are so many moving parts and obstacles to connecting with prospects, many of which are not in our control. It can feel like we are at the mercy of everything from the google algorithm to the newest technology to avoid email tracking. But direct outreach – COLD CALLING – is one channel of new business development that can be 100% under your control!
When done well, outbound prospecting can keep the top of your funnel FULL and your bottom line healthy.
Part of a complete marketing plan
Today, you cannot rely on any one single means of communication and outreach. You must utilize both inbound AND outbound prospecting as part of a complete marketing plan.
In this book, I show you the key components of the strategy that you must put in place to develop a successful outbound prospecting program. One that drives consistent, qualified leads and sales. One that can form a foundation, on top of which you can build your other (long-term) inbound marketing efforts.
Take control of your future
Having an “always-on” outbound prospecting program gives you a source of leads that is 100% activity based, which you can control and manage.
It’s a very direct approach to reaching your most ideal potential clients, producing a conveyor belt of constantly replenishing prospects.
Less time wasted, more qualified leads generated
With our approach, your salespeople won’t waste their time chasing after the wrong deals. They will be properly prepared to identify qualified leads and move on when they reach those that are not a good fit. This saves time and leaves you with leads that close more quickly and reliably.
Cold Calling Still Works – When Done Right
People say, “Cold calling is dead.” Well, the old fashioned approach where you picked up the yellow pages, picked up the phone and dialed, IS dead. And good riddance! That is NOT how we do it.
We have a new, 21st century approach which WORKS
We provide companies with the tools and training to succeed in the current work environment. We develop scripts and show you how to sound different. We set you up on an effective lead-management CRM tool that will monitor your efforts as well as track vital data about your prospects. It will automatically let you know the best time to call and when to follow up.
Effectively implementing this type of technology is key to your success – we set you up on it and show you how to use it. This book outlines it all, showing YOU how to put this into place in YOUR company!
Don’t be left behind
My goal is to help YOU succeed! As a member of our One of a Kind Sales Community, I am offering the book FREE of charge as a digital download or you can purchase it here on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle book.
Get your copy of the book TODAY to learn how to create and manage an effective inside sales team and harness the power of outbound prospecting to keep YOUR funnel full!
Need more help?
And if you need more help getting YOUR team set-up and up to speed, give us a call at 908.879.2911 – we know Cold Calling and Lead Gen and can make them work for YOU!
Even when you are on the top of your game, you will hear ‘NO’, many more times than you will hear ‘YES’ when prospecting. Here are some activity tracking tips to help you reach your prospecting goals, by staying motivated and on track.
If you know me at all, you know that I love a good challenge. And that I have never met a quota I didn’t want to meet or beat!
This has served me well as an entrepreneur and has certainly been a key component of my success. It keeps me prospecting, long after others have given up. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. Staying motivated and on track is always a challenge.
Here is a trick I use to keep myself motivated and to stay on track when prospecting.
I have a mini spreadsheet with my goals, that I set up every week. In the left hand column, I list all the activities I need to complete to meet my quota. The key for me, is to include my weekly goal for each one, in the next column.
Then I have columns for Monday through Friday where I input the progress I made each day on each task. The last column is the total, the actual number I completed that week.
The simple act of setting the goals each week and then updating them each day, motivates me to work harder to meet and exceed those numbers!
Why this works
You have probably heard the quote, ‘What you Measure, Improves’ or ‘What you Measure, Matters’. This isn’t a new concept but it’s one that has helped me, and the teams I work with, stay on track and really deliver!
Why this works for ME
For me, setting the goals focuses my attention and watching my progress is a real motivator. All of us have more to do than there are hours in the day. This process helps me prioritize the tasks and actions that ensure I succeed.
Try it yourself!
If this sounds like something that might work for you, click here for a free downloadable version of my ‘Workbook’, the mini spreadsheet I use to monitor and measure MY progress.
You don’t need to measure EVERYthing you do – actually, the whole point is to identify the KEY tasks that drive results and to focus on those.
Those will be YOUR Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and will differ from mine, based on your role, objectives and responsibilities. Modify your document to reflect your priorities.
Customize as needed
The weekly format works best for me but you can customize the spreadsheet to be monthly, to have each week in a month on a different sheet – you could even do it by day.
Don’t burn through your ROI!
As a colleague often says, don’t burn through your Return on Investment (ROI), monitoring and measuring your ROI.
Defining my goals at the start of the week, filling in my progress each day and totaling the results at the end of the week works well for me. Try these activity tracking tips to reach YOUR prospecting goals.
Experiment and adjust the timing to see what works for you.
Do you need help identifying the tasks YOU need to complete to achieve YOUR quota? Need help completing those tasks? Not sure of what to actually SAY on a call?
Give us a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get you and your team set up and ready for success!
Need more motivation?
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Good luck and keep dialing!
At One of a Kind Sales, we talk a lot about LISTENING. But the tone of YOUR voice is also key to your Cold Calling success.
According to an industry statistic, “93% of the potential success of your cold call is attributed to the tone of your voice during the conversation.”
How do you sound?
Confidence is AUDIBLE – make sure the client hears this.
This is one of the many reasons we say that you should memorize your script. Knowing what you are going to say, without having to think about it, helps instill confidence.
Having your rebuttals ready helps too.
And of course, PRACTICE! The more conversations you have, the better you will become.
Match their tone
And it isn’t just confidence. I also recommend that you match the prospect’s cadence and style of communication. If they are calm and soft spoken, speaking quickly and confidently may be a turn off or feel ‘salesy’.
Really LISTEN to what the prospect is saying AND to their tone. Then match their tone in your delivery. For more about this please see our post on Active Listening
What NOT to do
And for a humorous look at what NOT to do, check out this vintage Saturday Night Live skit with Chris Farley and Paul McCartney.
If you need help with YOUR delivery, give us a call at 908.879.2911 – we can provide you with the skills that will instill the confidence YOU need to succeed!
When asked for Sales Tips for Success, I always include the reminder that you should ‘Do what they aren’t’. By that, I mean, do what your competition ISN’T doing.
Don’t necessarily follow the crowd
Yes, stats may show that Cold Calling Success rates are 46% higher on Wednesdays than they are on Mondays but that usually just means that your prospects are now going to be bombarded by cold callers on Wednesday.
What to do instead
I suggest that you have a regular call schedule and that you call consistently, not haphazardly nor based on the last stat you read or heard. And I also recommend calling on Friday afternoons! Some people may be gone for the day but the people who DO pick up will probably be more cheerful. This is also true of the days before, and the ‘short’ weeks after, long weekends.
Zig when they Zag
The concept of ‘Zigging when others Zag’ is not new. You see it in quotes, as book titles and in too many blogs and podcasts to count. It is used in fields as varied as financial investment to business leadership, in marketing and here, in sales. It is good advice but if you look around, you don’t usually see it implemented. EVERYONE is using the same, salesy script and the same, robotic delivery. And now, because of that stat, they are probably doing it on Wednesday!
Be brave – take a chance and ZIG.
Coco Chanel had the right idea
One of my favorite quotes is from Coco Chanel. She said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”. I would take it a step further and say that in order to be successful in sales, one must always be different.
When making Cold Calls, you don’t want to sound like every other sales caller. You don’t want to sound salesy and turn off your prospects before you even have a chance to qualify them. I always say that Cold Calling is about HAVING CONVERSATIONS, not making sales. Approaching your calls with this attitude will shift not only your mindset but the receptivity of your prospect.
Pick up the phone
The humble phone has lost its status as ‘most valuable sales tool’. There are so many other platforms and tools out there that are cheaper, more automated and easier to use that actual phone calling gets lost in the shuffle. I am not saying that you shouldn’t include some of these in your toolkit. I am a huge fan of my CRM (VanillaSoft – click here to learn more!) and social media can be invaluable for networking, building brand awareness and keeping you top of mind. But you still can’t beat the phone for making a real, PERSONAL connection. And personal connections are the foundation for closed sales.
Your Voice = Human Touch
With the prevalence of automated and robo calls, your voice can really make a difference. It can be the human touch and differentiator that helps you stand out from the crowd, making you and what you represent, irreplaceable.
Do you need more sales tips for success? Check out our blog, my podcast series ‘Conversational Selling’ and our videos.
I recently read an article on lead generation and how to drive sales and was surprised – no, I would say SHOCKED! – to see absolutely NO reference to Cold Calling.
Granted the post was listing ‘4 ways’, not ALL ways, to generate leads and drive sales but I think it is a disservice to leave out one of the most effective lead generation tools out there – Cold Calling.
In the post, the author talked about the ‘buyer’s journey’ and focused on the different content needs for each step. I agree that content is needed to support each step in the journey and that the type of content is different for each step. I also think that Cold Calling is an invaluable addition to the mix!
Here are my thoughts on how Cold Calling contributes to each step of the buyer’s journey.
Step 1: Awareness – where we want to establish credibility
Having a set Cold Calling cadence where you reach out to prospects on a regular basis can definitely help establish your credibility and build trust.
And delivering ‘content’ via the human voice trumps any graphic or digital delivery method for establishing credibility and gaining trust.
Step 2: Consideration – where we need to define our Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and how we differ from the competition
I would argue that since most people aren’t bothering to make the effort to Cold Call, picking up the phone and having live conversations sets you apart (makes you ‘unique’)!
I also recommend approaching the call as a ‘Conversation’ rather than as a sales call and that too will make you memorable.
Step 3: Decision: where the client has made the decision to purchase
This step actually occurs long after the Cold Calling stage. But getting to this point requires STARTING with a call to qualify the prospect (making sure they are a good fit) and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to a successful close.
Step 4: Action: where the client takes action
Like Step 3, this final step is supported and facilitated by ensuring you have qualified leads to begin with. An effective Cold Caller will identify and qualify leads at the outset so they will more efficiently move to and through your funnel.
So, when you are looking for ‘Lead Generation’, definitely start with a strong Cold Calling plan. An effective cold caller will properly and professionally represent your brand, ask the questions needed to determine if the prospect is a good fit for your product or services and will actively LISTEN to the responses to identify pain points and extract the information you need to streamline the path from appointment, through consideration and decision, to close.
Need help getting YOUR Cold Callers up to speed? We can help. Or better yet, we can make your Cold Calls for you!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 908.879.2911 to learn more about how our Cold Calling Services can set the appointments you need to get more prospects into YOUR funnel and started on their Customer Journey with YOU!