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.
Follow a script
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.
Diagnose the problem
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.
- How are you generating leads?
- What trends are you seeing?
- Is it becoming more expensive to run ads?
- How is your team performing?
- Do you experience ups and downs?
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.
Start early, stay late
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.
“The Fundamentals of Sales Outreach” episode resources
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.
TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that.
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