How to Improve Your Conversion Rate 50% When Calling Prospects Part 3 of 3
The purpose of the previous posts were to warm up the “environment.” You want the potential to become “aware” of who and what you are so when they are reached, you have positioned yourself correctly in their mind. If this is accomplished, best case is they reach out to you, worse case is they are at least receptive to your call.
Today’s post we are going to focus on what the potential needs to hear to schedule the appointment. All the research and prospect warming up in the world doesn’t mean diddly if we cannot communicate our message with the potential customer.
The ultimate goal of a call, in this situation, is to set a Discovery Appointment. The goal IS NOT selling your product/service. This might seem pretty simple but it’s a common blunder salespeople make very frequently.
Often times, salespeople think that if we manage to get the potential on the phone that we need to perform a total data dump on them. This is a critical error. You have invested a chunk of time researching and warming up the contact so as to differentiate yourself from the competition, then you go and lay an egg the first chance you get.
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Salesperson
If you can’t provoke their curiosity then this attempt to land an appointment is OVER. The potential needs to hear what is relevant and what makes an impact on their business to make a decision on seeing you, that’s it. Here are some topic area examples:
Incorporating your relevant pre-call research.
How your product/service solves problems or issues your prospect faces.
Actual results you’ve achieved with other customers.
What might pique your customer’s interest based on your knowledge of their business and the market.
There are 4 points to hit in your opening line.
Remind them of your warm-up touches and/or any other relevant information learned from research
Hit them with an Impact Line, something that demonstrates how you can help them in about 7 words
Engagement question: You have to get the buyer to engage early in the phone call
Below is a diagrammed example of a very successful Opening Line my clients have used to great success.
Hi Mr. Jones this is John Kolencik with XYZ (Identify yourself)
you might have seen the (Information piece: article/chart etc.) that I sent to you. (Relevance to the Potential)
We help/improve/increase our clients’ ______ (in these areas) (Impact to the Potential)
I was wondering what (are) (the) ______ (areas) (do you) (have you ever) currently are (trying to improve)? (Engagement Question)
I tend to use the warm up touches reference but you can substitute that line for something about the company itself, industry or market.
If you have done your job by quickly demonstrating you are knowledgeable/helpful and can potentially bring significant value to the table, you should get a response to the Engagement Question.
Keep in mind that the Engagement Question often leads to a few more questions from the potential before you get to the endgame.
This has all been about getting the appointment, so now we have to segue into asking for it.
Here is a sample:
“Well, Jerry, let me share with you my process, in terms of how we work. I’d like to suggest getting together for about 30 minutes. What I’d like to do is come in, learn a little more about your situation and also share some ideas I think you’ll find valuable. I’m not going to try and sell you anything. If we think there’s a fit at that point, we can put our heads together and figure out where to take it from there.”
You are now ready to ask for the appointment
“Jerry, do you have your appointment calendar handy?”
Never try to force the appointment in the current week unless the prospect volunteers it. Always shoot for a week out from the date of the phone call.
You may have to face one of the following three objections.
“Could you send me some literature instead?”
“I’m really busy. Could you call me back next week?”
“We’re already working with someone in that area.”
Let’s discuss some ways to handle each of these common objections.
“Send Me Literature.”
Your best response is as follows.
“Sure, I’d be happy to send you literature, but at XYZ, we are really in the tailored solution business. I’ve got 20 different customers on 20 different programs, so I’d have no idea what to send you based on the uniqueness of your situation.
Let me make a suggestion. Instead of me sending you literature, why don’t we get together for 30 minutes, I think you’ll find it very rewarding, and I’m not going to sell you anything. I just want to see if there is a way to add value to your company. Would the week of the 24th work for you?”
“I’m really busy can you call me back next month?”
Don’t back away. Go ahead and respond like this.
“Sure, no problem. I run a really busy schedule also.
Let me make a suggestion. Instead of me calling you back next month when I’ll probably have to re-remind you of who I am and what we do, why don’t we set up an appointment for x# of weeks out, and I’ll tell you what, I’ll call to confirm the appointment a week prior to it to make sure it’s still good. Would the week of the 18th work for you? Perhaps on Wednesday at 10 am or so? Could you check your calendar to see if it’s convenient?”
“We’re Already Working with Someone In That Area.”
Employ this response.
“No problem. We certainly appreciate it when our customers show us loyalty, but as it happens, most of our current customers were already working with someone prior to aligning with us.
Jerry, we’re a bit different in that we don’t often compete as much as cooperate with current vendors as a means to help a company become best practice. The whole focus is around adding value to your company, often in a complementary manner to current vendor.
Jerry, let me make a suggestion. Why don’t we set an appointment for 30 minutes one day? Maybe there’s a fit, maybe not.
Regardless, I think you’ll find it a really interesting exchange. If x date is bad, how about during the week of ______?”
In this post I give you specific examples of words and phrases. Use this post for the structure of your calls. Modify the words as needed for your product/service, market or industry so your own personal voice will come through.
Marketing Sherpa conducted a study that said 75% of everybody you touch with your lead generation efforts will buy something either from you or your competition. But if you take a day, week or month off who knows what opportunities you may miss.
Lead generation is a customer engagement process. It is both cumulative and immediate in varying degrees based on strategy and tactics. It can be big bang or slow boil but the key is not to treat it as binary. Lead gen needs to be part of your daily, weekly and monthly DNA.
I promise, if you practice the tactics in these blog posts and make lead gen a part of your everyday routine you will see colossal gains in your sales revenue.
…..and remember you can either make sales or make excuses but you can’t do both!
How to Improve Your Conversion Rate 50% When Calling Prospects Part 2 of 3
Our last post talked about the research needed BEFORE sending a “warming touch” email and making the first contact call and today we will be talking about the logistics and content structure in the “warming touch” email.
The goal of the “warming touch” is to remove the “UGH Factor.” You know when a potential get’s an email and says “UGH, another salesperson” or when they hear your voice for the first time and they say “UGH, Hi John.” If you are positioned as the person who can make a difference in their business they will see you as a resource, a business person not a salesperson. If you achieve this, they will take your phone call or even reach out to you.
You have to contact as many people as possible if you are a sales/business person. But that does not mean you should be sending 1,000’s of emails to 1,000’s of contacts for a couple of reasons.
It is impossible to follow up on all those emails.
You don’t have enough time to research all of those accounts
If you don’t follow up and if you provided quality content it will push your potentials to the competition.
Business abhors a vacuum. If they liked what they saw they will go out and find a supplier. Hello…internet anyone? Send out no more emails than you can research and actually follow-up. For most industries/markets the magic number is 25-50 at a crack, 2 to 3 times a week, minimum.
Every business is different. The body of your content will depend on your product/service but below are the caveats to structure your “Touch” regardless of industry and market.
2-3 paragraphs and maybe bullet points that’s it. People do not have time to read the Magna Carta. Plus, if your product/service provides demonstrative value, it should not take 300 words to make your case.
Please do not use phrases exact or similar to these
“I am writing to introduce myself.”
Of course you are, that is the purpose for this type of touch, a waste of time.
“XYZ is the largest privately owned ____.” Or “This year we will achieve in excess of $16 billion in revenue.”
Who cares, stop bragging, they care about what you can do for them.
There is a time and place to talk about the size of your company, this email is not it.
“I would love the opportunity to show you our product/service.”
Of course you would. You just lumped yourself as a me-too salesperson.
I could go on but you get the point.
Relevant an Actionable
Remember the research you did in Part 1? This is where it pays off. Every email I send to a potential has something that they can take and use immediately, EVERY ONE. It could be an information article from a third party source, a free webinar invite from a respected leader in their field or an idea from me, what is important is that it is relevant and actionable.
The dreaded call to action is what most people will tell you is best. I explain to my clients that asking people to call you back is a bit obnoxious – even if there is value and reason. When you do that, your prospects are left thinking, “Wait, you want me to call you? So you can pitch me? You want me to stop doing my job and search for time in my calendar to give you so that you can sell me? Are you kidding?” I take a different tact.
Closing Line Examples
I try to put as much of the onus on me as possible to connect. Here are some ways that I do that. All of the below examples thank the potential, display you are willing to carry the ball to connect and attempt to move the conversation forward.
I start every closing with
“Thanks for your time”
I end every closing with
“Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.”
Always thank them for their time reading your email and let them know you are available to their reaching out.
“I will follow up with you in a couple of days.”
Simple and direct
“I can call you Friday, July 6th at 2:00pm. I’ll reach out to you then to discuss. I hope you’re able to take my call.”
Give the potential a little more direction and maybe some anticipation.
You are giving them enough time (at least a week out) to ensure that they’ll have a free spot on their calendar.
Downside is they can dodge your call, upside is you can display your follow-up by calling when you say you will and leaving a voicemail if necessary.
“I’ll reach out to Mary to see if you have some time free to discuss next week.”
By suggesting that you’ll reach out to their executive assistant, you’re showing that you’ve done your homework by following the correct protocol for the continued conversation.
Not asking anything from them and their busy schedule.
“I have time free on Friday, July 6th at 2:00pm. Are you free at that time to talk?”
By closing this way, you’re asking them to do something, although it’s minimal. They just need to check one date/time in their call.
Sometimes I’ll offer two times a week out for them to choose from and then say, “Which date/time works best?”
End of Part 2
Remember, we want to leave the taste of value with the customer; giving them something relevant and actionable they can use immediately. You want them to look forward to your call not dread the moment. Today’s post gives you a great structure to apply your content regardless of market or product/service.
If you want some specific examples please feel free to reach to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 216-347-6729.
When we wrap up this topic in part 3 we will be covering content of the follow-up call and the follow-up voice mail.
In the meantime, you can either make sales or make excuses but you can’t do both!
How To Improve Your Conversion Rate 50% When Calling Prospects Part 1 of 3
I do not believe in classically defined cold calls; Picking up the phone and calling a list of contacts that we know nothing about. We live in a digital age and those types of calls are analog. I do believe, as professional sales/business people, that we absolutely NEED to make as many calls to potential clients as possible. The question is how we do it.
There is soooo much we can do to warm up these calls and to make them more impactful than our predecessors could possibly imagine. The first part of this strategy starts with our willingness to put in the time to do research BEFORE picking up the phone. I am not talking about writing a thesis on each potential but there is work to be done BEFORE we pick up the phone.
The Library and Linked In
Almost every suburb now has state of the art library facilities that you don’t even have to go the building to use and it only costs you a trip to the library to get a library card to allow you access. They have online research tools like Reference USA, Regional Business News or Glassdoor, any one of these will give you more information than you can possibly imagine.
Then there is Linked In. This is the greatest free research tool ever invented. You can find out, in great detail, the professional specifics of virtually anybody or any company. The search tool is also top notch. What I like most is being able to search by school as well as other categories. I mean why not start with people you either went to school with or attended your school?
End of Part 1
The bottom line is with a minimal time investment you can learn gigabytes of information about potential clients before ever talking to them. All it takes is the want to on your part, the desire to differentiate yourself and services to the potential BEFORE they even know who you are.
Each piece of this process builds the needed momentum to get an increase of 50% in your conversion rate. My next post will teach you the most impactful way to get a potential client’s attention before you call.
In the meantime, you can either make sales or make excuses but you can’t do both!