(Editor’s Note: Like this post? You may also be interested in our free report, Sales Perception of Marketing’s Leads)
In recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Xtium’s sales team. Xtium is one of OpenView’s newest portfolio companies, and as part of their growth strategies, the organization is very focused on building out a highly productive outbound prospecting engine.
In the Xtium Lead Qual team’s third week on the job, the team and I have had some revelations about what works and what doesn’t work with their target audience: Director-level to C-level executives overseeing IT infrastructure. This is probably a similar audience that your organization may be working with, given that you are reading OpenView’s blog.
The issue that I see with Lead Qualification teams is that many turn a conversation, an email, or a voicemail into something SUPER complicated. And lets be serious — prospects are FAR too busy to deal with unexpected complicated-ness. Managers: share these SIMPLE tips with your team, and see the conversation number (and positive outcomes of conversations) start to increase — guaranteed.
1. Keep it brief.
Do not pitch your company in your voicemail. Just don’t do it. RESIST THE URGE, PEOPLE! Trust me, your prospect already has their finger on the “7” button (aka DELETE!) and the second they realize you are trying to sell something, that button is pushed. Literally and figuratively. Your voicemail should give your name, your company (maybe), your number, and the request that he/she calls you back. That is all.
2. Keep it simple.
You get the prospect live — what should you say in the first 10 seconds of the interaction? Try this: “The point of my call today… ” See, simple, simple, simple! Get it out there immediately — why are you calling? No one likes a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so be up front about your intentions. Quite frankly, if you are cold calling someone, the point of your first call should be set up a second call when he or she has time in their calendars to take a call and be prepared. No one likes to be caught off guard … show compassion in setting up a following call time that works for them. How can you most simply communicate what your company provides and the value that it could be to the person on the other end of the line? And from there ask the questions, and then… silence. Be okay with silence. Silence is simple. Silence will get your prospect talking and ultimately the more they talk, the more you can either qualify or disqualify this person and move onto the next.
Make the conclusion of the call very simple. Give two days that work in the calendar for the next step in the upcoming week. Don’t throw blanket statement out there, like, “Would you like to have a call at some point in the upcoming week or two?” Too complicated. Make it easy for the prospect … to say yes!
3. Say it like you mean it.
If you call into a prospect, or even gatekeeper for that matter, and you sound unsure and meek — the person on the other end of the phone will absolutely recognize this. It doesn’t matter who you picks up your call, you need to have the mentality that you will speak to your target prospect — after all, you have something that you MUST discuss with them because its actually going to make their life better/easier somehow.
Leaving a message? Leave it with conviction. Leave it like you EXPECT a call back. The worst thing an outbound caller can do is to sound like they are doing something wrong when they are making a call. Using weak words/phrase like, “would it be possible to connect me with” or “could you perhaps transfer me” or “sorry to bother you, but I was hoping…” Yuck. Stop acting like you are a pest, because you sound like one and it resonates in your voice. You are not a pest — you are going to (depending on your value proposition) save this person money, or make their team more functional, or improve their brand awareness…