Guest post by Marylou Tyler, co-author of Predictable Prospecting.
Imagine you’ve found the right person in your targeted account. Or a highly scored marketing lead is ready for follow-up. Feeling nervous, stuck, blocked or unsure of exactly what to say to get the meeting?
Often securing the first meeting is the hardest step in the top-of-funnel sales process.
The five habits below will get you back on track and consistently setting meetings.
Habit #1: Set Objectives for Every Call
Plan calls with primary and secondary call objectives. Primary call objectives include:
- Building rapport
- Gathering information
- Understanding needs
- Determining fit
Secondary call objectives include:
- Calling-back but leaving no message
- Calling-back and leaving a voice-mail
- Gathering information from the gatekeeper or receptionist
- Calling influencers in and around the bullseye (Predictable Prospecting – page 53 – Influencer Map)
Habit #2: Be Mindful of Your Tone
The tone of your voice accounts for 75% of your success on the phone.
Five ways to change your tonality include:
- Emphasizing certain words
- Speaking clearly
- Changing your talking speed
- Standing up
Read a simple paragraph leaning on your elbow with your hand on your cheek. Now read that same paragraph standing up and smiling. Sound different? It should.
Habit #3: Create Winning Openers
Practice your opener to get agreement, eliminate resistance and know exactly what to say. Consider starting cold conversations with either implicit or explicit referral openers:
- Explicit Referral: “Good morning Jackie. John suggested I give you a call. One of our studies on prospecting got his attention and he thought you might feel the same way.”
- Implied Referral: “Good morning Isabel. I noticed in your Annual Report John Stewart [the CEO] stated increasing your B2B sales pipeline as the top initiative for ABC company in 2018.”
Habit #4: Craft an Interest-Grabbing Statement
Use words like maximize, increase, grow, minimize, reduce, decrease, eliminate, acquire, prevent… words that reach in and grab the prospect by the ear. Here’s a sentence structure to use for your interest-grabbing statement:
- Format: I +[show | give | enable] + [prospect] + [major benefit]
- Example: I show Sales Directors how to triple their opportunities in six weeks.
Habit #5: Know What Questions to Ask
Group questions into four categories:
- Pain: Reveal potential problems, difficulties or dissatisfaction the buyer is experiencing—and that your product or service solves.
Example: What are you trying to do, specifically, to alleviate this problem?
- Implication (SPIN Selling -Neil Rackham): Help the buyer see the problem as serious enough to justify the hassle of taking a meeting.
Example: Has the poor output quality caused customer complaints?
- Direct: Learn something specific before you continue your conversation. Do not allow a YES or NO answer.
Example: What were you hoping I could do for you?
- Tie-Down: Paraphrase what you heard.
Example: You have missed quota for three consecutive quarters, correct?
A consistent habit for planning and practicing sales conversations is the key to success. Work in blocks of time, one activity at a time, for the best results.
If you plan, practice and execute these habits consistently you will generate more meetings, more sales qualified opportunities and ultimately, more sales.
Marylou Tyler is a renowned sales process improvement expert, author, speaker and the CEO of Strategic Pipeline. She has helped businesses like Apple, Bose and UPS grow their revenue by increasing their sales pipelines. Marylou’s passion is helping B2B sales professionals go from cold conversations to qualified opportunities.