Those who know me well know that I am an extremely shy and self-conscious person that hides it well…sort of). I don't come from a sales background, but being the owner of a small growth agency means that I wear many hats, primarily sales. Needless to say, I am not a natural at cold calling strangers to sell growth services. Luckily, I will never have to cold call anyone ever again.
As a HubSpot partner, I had the opportunity to participate in Dan Tyre's Pipeline Generation Bootcamp, an 8-week long HubSpot Lions program that helps salespeople at inbound marketing agencies and growth agencies gain invaluable sales knowledge, including warm calling. What is the difference between warm and cold calling? Every time you call a prospect with the main purpose of helping, not selling, you are warm calling.
Here are 5 key takeaways from the bootcamp that will help you prospect more efficiently:
1- Research leads & accounts
There are two issues that salespeople often run into, wasting time on ill-fit accounts and not being able to create rapport with their leads. Here's how research can help avoid both:
Spending hours on emails and calls with a prospect only to find out that they are a bad fit for your company's services or values can be quite frustrating. Researching an account beforehand can help you avoid this scenario.
Building rapport with your leads helps build trust making it one of the most valuable sales tools. Researching a lead on Google, LinkedIn, or even Facebook can help you find ice-breakers like "We're both connected with Michele Doodlemeister!" or "I speak Klingan too!". If your research is thorough, you might stumble upon the lead's pain points or other company information such as revenue, hiring trends, and upcoming projects, thus helping you have an even more successful first call.
2- Pause & listen
During the bootcamp's first week we practiced our greeting, in my case "Hi, this is Christian from My Creative Mark" followed by a long pause, up to 8 seconds says Dan—chances are you won't have to wait that long but be comfortable with silence. This initial pause is important, it allows your lead to register your name. Active listening and occasional pausing throughout your conversation gives your lead a chance to share data and open up about their pain points.
3- Address resistance
"I'm busy", "I'm not interested", "I don't need anything right now" are responses that salespeople are all too familiar with. People are bombarded with sales calls all day, every day, so it's no surprise that salespeople face fierce resistance when they call a lead out of the blue.
Try a "give and get" approach to address resistance. Here are a few examples that may help:
Sharing valuable information
"Over 40% of salespeople say that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. Do you agree?"
Stating your company's positioning statement
"We help CMOs at ed-tech companies in LA who have invested a lot of time & resources into their website but are disappointed that it’s not producing enough leads to grow revenue. Does that sound like you?"
Offering insight and help
I did some research on your website last night and found a few issues that you can easily improve. Would you like me to share my findings with you?
When a statement describes your lead's situation down to a T, they are bound to answer "YES" to your question. People crave an opportunity to talk about their business, so all you'll need to do at this point to open the flood gates is to ask them the magic question "can you tell me more about that?" (while stroking your chin).
4- Keep it short
A connect call's purpose is to assess fit and schedule a discovery call with your lead, so keep it under 10 minutes long. It isn't rude to cut the conversation short, make sure to thank your lead for their time and let them know that you're looking forward to your next call.
5- Make calls
I understand that you may be shy and self-conscious like me, but deals won't move themselves through the pipeline unless you connect with your leads. In eight short weeks, I realized that I dreaded cold calling prospects because cold calling is a nuisance. Now that I have the knowledge and tools to make warm calls, I actually look forward to calling prospects and helping them learn about the many ways I can grow their business.