If there’s one thing we always say, it’s to focus on building relationships as the core to your lead generation, sales development, and even sales strategies.
Doing so allows you to create a connection and stand head and shoulders over your competition because when your prospect sees you as a resource and a trusted authority they have a relationship with, the competition looks like just another vendor.
We also talk about providing value as a way to grow that relationship and that addresses your prospects’ immediate pain points. It’s important to offer those resources (ie that value) at every step of the buyer journey, but before you can get to all that…
How do you actually connect in the first place?
How can you take a cold prospect, reach out to them, connect with them in a way that engages them, and offer them value so they see you as a resource & authority?
And doesn’t it take forever? Connecting with people this way is nice… but it’s not a viable way to scale… right?
Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and to learn what’s working for our outreach and sales development team. You’ll learn:
- The top channel we use for instant connection (even though sales people often hate it)
- How to reach out on multiple channels in order to create more even more momentum
- Tips to open the conversation on any channel
Hands Down The Best Channel for Fast Connection Is Phone Calling
This is probably something that nobody wants to hear. Pick up the phone in this day and age? Isn’t cold calling dead? Does anybody actually respond to an unknown salesperson on the phone?
Those are good points. Let’s address them. If you want to connect to prospects as quickly as possible, whether cold or warm leads, the fastest way to connect is by picking up the phone. We stand by this. Granted, cold calling is certainly not how it used to be…
…when there weren’t so many other channels sales people could use,
…when there wasn’t so much pulling us in all directions,
…when sometimes a cold call was a welcome call (yes! I need that!),
…and when the buyer journey often started only once a salesperson reached out.
NOW… these days we deal with the opposite of all that. The markets are crowded, we’re sucked into all kinds of media, and buyers typically do a LOT of research online and by asking their peers for recommendations when they need products and services. Typically, the buyer is pretty far down their buyer journey and close to the decision making stage by the time they ever actually speak to a salesperson.
Where does that leave phone calling then? It means that when done strategically, it can make a MAJOR difference in how many appointments your team sets. When done haphazardly, yeah… you’ll probably get zero traction in today’s landscape.
Here are two examples of how we use phone calling to quickly connect with prospects:
1. Our Sales Development Reps (SDR’s) call prospects who’ve shown interest
We use our SDR team to call prospects who’ve recently downloaded some of our content and encourage them to book appointments. Note that these are NOT your traditional “cold” leads at this point because the prospect has requested some of your content. This could be a white paper, a report, an ebook, a video series, a video, an audit, a consultation… whatever you offered that moved them to provide their contact information.
The way we use this content, or what the industry calls “lead magnets”, is twofold: 1) the aim is to provide some seriously valuable information in exchange for a prospect’s information and 2) it’s also to hopefully encourage the prospect to take the next step, which for us – and for many businesses – is to book an appointment with their sales team.
That call to action is embedded in the content the prospect requested AND when combined with a person to person chat (over the phone) within 24 hours after the prospect requested the material, we found that we increased our appointment setting by over 33%!
1. Prospecting Outreach
Another way we use phone calling is in our prospecting outreach. Our outreach strategy combines three channels: phone calling, social media messaging, and email. The prospects we call in these cases are what most people consider “cold leads”, where the prospect doesn’t know us very well, if at all.
The sequence looks like this: we connect by sending a LinkedIn connection, an email and THEN a phone call. By the time we call, sometimes the prospect has read our email, and maybe even responded. This is why it’s so important to capitalize on a multichannel strategy in order to build momentum.
>>> Selling to cold leads is entirely different than selling to warm leads.
Learn how top sales teams do it here. <<<
Why Adding A Phone Component Works So Well
The reason we include phone calls even to “cold” leads is because:
- We get immediate feedback
- We can ask questions and have the opportunity to learn about the prospect
- We hear the words from their mouths and can understand their pain points more clearly
It’s also a fast way to build trust, as counter-intuitive as it may seem. When we call a prospect who doesn’t know anything about us, in most cases, you’d think it’d be an annoyance and we’d hear an immediate dial tone. But what happens is that we’re not calling to sell.
We call to ask questions. And we’re human. Not a robot. Not a corporation.
The phone adds an additional element people can judge you by: your voice. This makes it a multi-sensory experience and helps create that connection faster than email does.
Additionally, calling is so personal compared to email or messaging; it gives you instantaneous connection and feedback. If you are providing valuable information on the phone and approach them with an attitude of curiosity, you become a trusted resource instead of an annoyance. The phone is the fastest way to accomplish this.
>>> Once you’ve connected with your prospect, learn what a good sales call looks like here. <<<
Enhance Connection with A MultiChannel Approach Including Messaging and Email
As mentioned above, phone calling in our opinion, is THE fastest way to connect with prospects. However, it’s effectiveness expands when combined with other channels for outreach. You want to reach out in any way that your prospect is comfortable with… sometimes they may not answer your phone call, but then they see your message on LinkedIn, or your email and they’ll respond to that. You just don’t know.
Your goal is to be where your prospects are… the more they see you and the more value you can add through these channels, the more familiar they become with your name and your company’s name – and the more trust grows, even if your prospect doesn’t realize it.
This is simply a part of human nature. You may have heard of the “Familiarity Bias”, also called the “Availability Heuristic”. It’s a phenomenon we all fall into that people like the media for example, love to capitalize on.
What are the most pressing topics of the day? Not necessarily the topics that are most important, but the ones that the top media channels choose to promote. It’s just human nature. We don’t always choose the best product or service, we often choose the one we know the best.
You can use this as well when you combine multiple outreach channels to stay top of mind and to build that relationship. At a minimum, with the three channels combined, your prospect has heard a voice, seen your emails, possibly a message on LinkedIn, and they’re getting more and more familiar with you.
Top Tips to Open The Conversation on Any Channel
Alright, so you have your pick of channels to choose from, but how do you actually open that conversation? Here are our top tips our sales development and outreach teams rely on:
- Be real. Have an attitude of “water cooler curiosity”, having a conversation with a colleague you like at the water cooler. If it helps, write the email in a text to yourself before you send it. Would you say that to a friend? Would your prospect say that?
- Be prepared. Write out what to say beforehand; have phone scripts and email copy you know works. There are always multiple ways of saying something, but usually there are one or two ways that are better than others. You want the words that will connect the best. Which is why you need to…
- Know Your Prospect. In today’s day and age, data is easy to come by, it’s how you use it. You need to know how they think and process information (are they more emotional or logical for example?) See what else you should know and how to use it to help you connect.
- Personalize your communication. Show that you’ve done some research about them, their industry, and what they’re doing. This will help you understand some of their goals and industry projections that you can speak to in your early interactions with them.
- Incorporate your knowledge of the buyer journey. Your prospect will have different questions as they progress from awareness to researcher to client. Be prepared with these answers ahead of time.
- Challenge Your Prospect. Sales Strategist Marc Wayshak brings up a good point, that many sales people try to be funny or likeable when first connecting with someone. Many times your prospect can see through that and immediately distrust anything that follows. Instead, challenge them by asking a provocative question. He says you could list some challenges you’ve noticed in the industry and ask if they resonate. One example that we’ve used at LinkedSelling is to point out missed opportunities. For example, when reaching out to businesses we know are running ads but they don’t have the tracking code on their site, we point out the kinds of potential leads they are losing.
- Be transparent. With phone, email, or messaging, your best bet is to be transparent and considerate of their time.
- Become a resource. We talk about sharing “value” – what does that really mean? It means you’re in your prospect’s head and answering questions… maybe even before they bring them up themselves. Use the data from your marketing team about what people are responding to, as well as data from your sales team to know what prospects are asking and looking for.
- Ask questions. Data only goes so far! The best way to know what your prospect needs is to just ask. This will go miles in establishing a long business relationship with your client. This is why the phone is so great – you get an immediate answer. If you can get them talking about their interests, you can ask questions like what is working and why?” as well as questions like, “What would be ideal in XX scenario” or “Where would you hope to be this time next year?” Knowing the answers to those types of questions positions you more as a partner they can work with toward that ideal. Here you can find a full list of questions to ask your prospect.
- Listen. It’s one thing to ask the right questions and it’s another entirely to actually listen to the answers. One benefit of doing this is when you can get your prospect to interact and to talk, you remove yourself from the pressure a sales call brings; the conversation becomes more comfortable and more open when you can move from the tunnel vision of “we need this sale” to “we need to learn more about this prospect.”
Remember WIIFM. Finally, remember that your prospect does NOT care about you. They’re not interested in the amazing features of your product or service. They are only interested in “What’s In It For Me?” So don’t talk about you, your company, OR your product or service right off. They will shut you down immediately. Instead, paint a picture of what would happen if XX pain point were resolved, regardless of how it’s resolved or who ends up helping them. This picture will probably not be painted on the first communication, but over time.
To connect quickly with prospects and actually build and grow true business relationships you can capitalize on, use a multi-channel outbound strategy incorporating email, social media messaging, and especially the telephone. Making phone calls to both cold and warm leads is the fastest way we know of to really have a conversation and understand whether the person you’re talking to could be a potential client down the road.
Use the tips we covered above to make your conversation flow smoothly and keep the focus on the prospect! Remember, they care most about what you can do for them. So when you want to connect, start by understanding their needs and by showing them what you can do to resolve those needs.
Interested in speaking with an expert on the team who can help you set up a systematic multichannel outbound approach, making lead generation effective and doable for your team? Click below to schedule a free call.