By Dale Wolf, Cincom Manufacturing Business Solutions
We all want fatter pipelines and our group has determined that one way to do this is to get more successful with the initial prospect contact. We want to talk our way into more deals.
We can all imagine the scene on the other end of the phone. The prospect accidentally takes the phone call instead of dumping us into voicemail. It’s not that they are rude, but just that the people we want to talk to are rather popular with all vendors. They get 25 calls a day from vendors and that could be a waste of their time. When we get them on the phone, they are immediately doing their best to get us off the phone. It is a gargantuan struggle of wits.
The Mexican Standoff
What we say in the first few seconds will determine if we can take a warm sales lead from telemarketing or a cold call that we are making into the pipeline.
There are two immediate paths:
A product path or a solution path.
Either way, should go through a relevant reference that proves we can address the customer’s situation and earn the right to get the first face-to-face meeting. Listen to how the first phone conversation should go:
“Hello, my name is (Richard). Thanks for taking my call. I’ve been looking into the comments your CEO has made about improving distribution productivity. Do I have that information correct?
“Yes, distribution is one of our major initiatives.”
“We have done a lot of research in this area ourselves, including some interviews with agents who sell your services. We helped XYZ Company with solutions that improved their processes by 15%. I’d like to share some of this information with you. I will be in town next week. Would Wednesday or Thursday be best for you?”
“What company are you with?”
“I’m glad you asked. I am with Serious Systems. We have been bringing process improvement solutions to over 5,000 clients around the world for the past 15 years. We are just coming off a record profit year. We’re doing great because we have clients who value the solutions we offer.”
What happened there?
We thanked the prospect because we genuinely appreciate it these days when a busy person takes time to pick up the phone. We did not start off with Serious Systems, but instead tried to establish empathy and dialogue. We established a key metric along with an example of how we fixed a similar problem. Get them to tip off what their pain really is. Get the appointment.
This calls for ...
- Doing the right research before the call.
- Get the story right.
- Get the approach right.
- Get the call objective right.
- Know your value proposition.