Every week I get one or two calls from windshield replacement companies I’ve used. They go like this: “Hi, I’m sure you have chips in your windshield…, blah, blah, blah.”. I’ve come to hate those calls. HATE them. And I won’t use any of them in the future. Thoughtless, unprepared sales calls are poisonous to your company image and your results. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In fact, prospects often complain that sales reps talk too much, talk about the wrong topics, ask the wrong questions, and set the wrong call objectives.
In a nutshell, we’re in a hurry and are often “calling cold”. Keep some basics in mind and you’ll avoid this trap.
Know who you’re calling
There’s just no excuse for a completely “cold” call these days. Personal knowledge about your prospect is best. Google them. Find them on LinkedIn or Twitter, or on their company’s website. Read their profiles and anything they have published. See who they’re connected to, and what individuals or groups they follow. Ideally, you’ll have history of their digital behaviors from your marketing automation system or SalesTalk. Then you’ll know exactly what emails they read or responded to, the pages they visited and how long they spent there.
You can also use email marketing, tools like survey monkey, or feedback from your website to understand your clients and prospects, their needs and and their interests. Read industry reports or LinkedIn forums geared to the roles that are your best prospects. Ask your marketing department about buyer personas. Read your company’s success stories. Call an existing customer to get some insight.
Know which of your resources, like datasheets or white papers, answer the questions that come up often. Take a moment to find out about any past conversations with this client or prospect, and what products they have bought from your company. Know what your competitors offer and why your solution is better. Find out what prospects do if they don’t have a solution like yours, and how that impacts them.
Make it worth their time
Make sure you know enough about your prospect and their situation to add some value on the call. Be ready to tell them something relevant. It can be an idea that worked for another customer, some new approach that’s gaining mindshare in their industry, something that will help them cut costs, or even a new feature in your product or a better way to use an old one. The point is that you are not just an interruption, your call is a benefit to them.
Knowing the prospect, being prepared, and making it worth their time gives you confidence and insight on the call that your prospect will feel and appreciate, and it will set you apart from the crowd.