Wes Schaeffer entered sales in 1997, covering stocks, bonds, retail, real estate, and high tech. He decided that, since sales was crazy and uncertain, he’d bet on himself. He laid the foundation for The Sales Whisperer, where he helps people with sales training.
Too many sellers mistakenly believe that outbound is dead. That cold calling and email are dead. The truth is you simply have to do a little bit of homework.
Some people would say that because everybody drinks water, if you sell water, everyone is your prospect. But some people are content drinking water out of a hose. Not everyone will spend money on your stuff.
Client selection is important. You have to figure out who’s going to buy your stuff and who isn’t.
The number of people who are ready, willing, and able to buy what you sell right now is in the single digits. If, for example, you just bought four brand new tires for your car, it doesn’t matter that you’re having a 50-percent-off sale.
Now that you know who you’re going after, what will you say? Will you fall into the trap of not following a script because it feels unnatural?
The Rock has made over $60 million a year by regurgitating scripts. He makes it his own and he makes it believable. The truth for all of us is that we’re living on a script.
I once talked in a presentation about seeing the band Chicago and about the fact that they play the same 20 songs in the same order at every single show. What would happen if they decided to just wing it every now and then?
That’s not what professionals do. Professionals practice things until they can’t get them wrong. You could wake them out of a stupor, hand them a guitar or keyboard, and they could play any song perfectly.
Look at Tom Brady or Lebron James or Tiger Woods. I guarantee you they are still practicing. Are you willing to practice the little bitty things? How do you open? What do you say? How do you title your emails? How do you build interest?
If you sound like everybody else, I’m going to treat you like everybody else. The only way I can differentiate between you and everyone else that sounds like you is on price.
Think of the phone calls you get from an autodialer. They’re nice because they streamline things, but when people hear the long pause while it’s connecting to the first available person, they are completely uninterested. Then they mispronounce your name and you’re done.
Wes recommends at least five emails in any outbound process. He also pointed out the distinction between frequently-asked questions and “should ask” questions. FAQs can be written out and sent in an email. The “should ask” questions allow you to differentiate yourself. These are the things the prospect doesn’t know.
Understand your product and the situation of your prospects well enough to know what issues might arise. Our goal in prospecting is to ask a question that our prospect can’t answer.
Doctors do the same, and it’s why we trust them. When they take the time to diagnose the problem, we trust their prescription.
Spend some time on your “should ask” questions.
We’re all too close to our own offerings. There’s an adage that says you can’t read the label from inside the bottle.
Timing matters in outreach, and that’s why you need multimedia multi-step followup sequences. You need a success story about a prospect in your niche. You need a case study or a video testimonial. And then you’re off and running.
Dripping a prospect is a little like dating. When you continue coming back to your prospects, they eventually decide that there must be something good about your offering.
You have your target market or your dream 100. It’s worth persisting because, eventually, something is going to happen: a machine will break or the competition will miss a delivery. Maybe an employee will quit or they will have their own quality issues.
Remember that whatever you can measure you can improve.
Jeffrey Gitomer speaks about gold calling because he says there isn’t such thing as pure cold calling in B2B. You’re most likely to reach people by phone. You can do direct mail and other things, and they may work.
Executives and decision-makers get to the office early and they stay late. Since I’m a west coast guy, I start calling the east coast about 2 p.m. when the assistants and receptionists have gone home. Same with the lunch hour. The hourly people take their breaks while the boss keeps working.
Be strategic about your calls. Use LinkedIn to find information about your prospects. Where did they go to school? Do they have a recent article? The research demonstrates that you did your homework. It differentiates you from your competition.
Little things add up. Trust the process and have a process.
Connect with Wes at thesaleswhisperer.com. You can find his social media links and his phone number there.
Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.
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Outbound prospecting is a vital part of every sales process, but when it’s based on static data, it’s bound to fail. Static data might help you find the right person, but they might not be a valid prospect. Intent-based marketing can help you eliminate cold outreach and improve your outbound process.
Today on The Sales Evangelist, Tukan Das explains why trigger events are important to your outbound process, and why static data isn’t sufficient for outbound prospecting.
Tukan is the CEO of LeadSift, a sales intelligence platform that generates qualified leads from public web.
Before LeadSift pivoted to the B2B realm, the company was targeting large brands and agencies, going after the CEOs. LeadSift began the process by building lists of target accounts based upon static data. They chose accounts that matched their typical buyer and initiated an email nurture sequence.
They discovered that the process was labor intensive, and that it didn’t necessarily produce prospects that were ready to buy.
The key, they determined, was finding prospects when the need to buy a product or service was top-of-mind. Trigger points were the answer.
LeadSift monitors how prospects engage with content across the web. Using information about how they talk to competitors, how they discuss industry events, news articles they read, and positions they hire for, the platform interprets signals to predict the probability of a prospect’s readiness to buy.
Once you’ve used trigger events to determine the prospect’s likelihood of buying, you can craft your outreach accordingly.
Eliminate cold outreach by gathering relevant information about your prospects.
Many times, the same account executive is tasked with nurturing leads as well as sending out cold emails to book meetings.
That can be problematic because the motivations are very different: the person responsible for outbound shouldn’t necessarily be the same person to close deals. Because account execs don’t typically enjoy cold calling and cold emails, execs may not follow through on them.
Instead, consider having an entry-level sales person do the research and prospecting.
Measure your outbound people on the number of relevant people they are engaging with, and make sure they have a very clear definition of your ideal customer profile.
As you evaluate your audience, distinguish the buyer from the decision-maker. In the case of LeadSift, account development managers use the data, but they sell the product to VP’s of marketing.
Evaluate your messaging and determine who is responding to it.
Your outbound outreach cannot be one email sent to a list of 100 people.
Mix in other strategies like social selling and phone calls.
Keep your emails short, and don’t try to make them too cute. Provide value without writing long, dry emails.
Test your emails. Personalize your email sequence and track its performance. Adapt your messaging to your audience, and if it isn’t working, change it.
Realize that the same email won’t work in every situation.
If, at the end of 90 days, you cannot report how many emails you sent, how many phone calls you made, how many emails were opened, and other relevant data, you are setting yourself up for failure.
What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved.
Too many companies “wing” their outbound efforts. They have no intentional plan, so their process doesn’t work consistently.
The industry is trending toward account-based sales, so your outbound process should include a strategy for each company or each cluster of companies.
Rather than buying lists, which is always static data, use LinkedIn to find your seed set of companies and prospects.
Outbound prospecting cannot be an afterthought. No strategy works every time, so you must be patient. If you’re doing the right things and conducting a good email campaign, you should see results within 180 days.
You can also email him at email@example.com.
Our friends at Wiley have provided a free excerpt of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading. Based upon research and interviews with buyers, the book provides a blueprint sales professionals. Read an excerpt of the book here.
Once you’ve applied the concepts you heard here today, message me or email me and let me know what your results were.
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