Tips for Getting Prospects to Take a Meeting
Categories: Sales Process
Even veteran sellers can struggle with cracking into new accounts, warming up cold opportunities and turning LinkedIn connections into active deals. In one way or another, today’s current business landscape presents new challenges for salespeople to overcome as they work to capture new accounts.
Regardless, good selling is good selling. Fundamentals still apply in a murky sales environment. We’re sharing key selling fundamentals you can use to prepare for your sales calls in a way that gets your prospects to take action.
1. Remember the Purpose, Process and Payoff
Every salesperson has dealt with a frustrated prospect, who asks, “why are you calling me?”
It’s a fair question, after all you are interrupting their day. Having a purpose, process, and payoff statement prepared beforehand, can enable you to immediately articulate the benefit of holding a quick conversation. It can also help you stand out in a competitive sales environment.
If you’re unfamiliar with the purpose, process, payoff statement, it’s what we embrace, in our training and deliveries, as an easy pre-call planning technique called "The Three Ps". Remembering these three words can help ensure you're structuring valuable sales conversations in a way that gets results.
When you have a confident and clear answer to “why are you calling me” you can stand out from the competition. Just be certain your answer is relevant and valuable to your buyer. Here’s a rundown of what the Purpose, Process, Payoff statements sound like and what they help you achieve.
Immediately answers why you’re calling and sets context. Elite sellers use names and experiences relevant to the prospect they’re calling to articulate their purpose in a way that’s meaningful to the prospect.
Here’s an example:
"The purpose of my message/email/phone call is to follow up on a conversation that I had with (name of referral) who suggested that I contact you to discuss how (your company name) is working with companies like yours to address (key market challenges your product addresses)."
Makes it clear what you want as a result of the call. Elite sellers use their process statement to define exactly what they’re asking for and what their prospect can expect during that ask.
Here’s an example:
“I’d like to take (10/15) minutes to ask you (3 or 4) questions about some of the challenges you may be experiencing with (pain points that your client companies are experiencing)."
Explains what’s in it for your prospect. Elite sellers often leverage their proof points in the payoff statement to show their prospect proof of where they’ve solved similar problems before.
Here’s an example:
“There may be an opportunity for your company to benefit in ways similar to (another relevant client). (Your company name) was able to work with them to (tell a relevant success story.)”
2. Using a pre-call research routine to increase relevance (and avoid cold calling)
Buyers are arguably more distracted than ever. Salespeople who can successfully interrupt their buyer’s day with relevant and valuable information will be the ones who capture their prospects' attention. With tight quotas, sellers can’t afford to pick up the phone without a plan. The three P’s can help you develop the reason for why you’re calling and your end-goal or ask. However, to execute on your three P’s and achieve your desired outcome, you’ll have to be prepared with relevant information that’s valuable to the buyer in one way or another.
Many salespeople will say cold calling is a necessary evil of the job, however with today’s networking and searching capabilities, you can always find a way to make your calls warm. As you work to find relevant information, keep in mind that you don’t need to find information that exactly fits your prospect's current situation. If you can find enough information to break the surface and be prepared to hold a buyer-focused conversation, you will be able to use discovery questions to uncover the specific business challenges they’re facing.
One way to find relevant information that warms up your opportunities is to think of your prospect as a bullseye. The dot in the middle is them, one layer out is their department, another layer out is their company, another layer their industry. Find relevant information that helps you peel back the layers.
Regardless of your methods, make sure you're doing your research to find relevant insights. You don't want to ask your prospect something you could easily Google. This podcast highlights key ways you can peel back the layers, gather impactful research and execute on what you’re hearing.
Here’s a quick breakdown of a successful pre-call preparation routine that you can use to get relevant information and capture your prospect’s interest, repeatedly:
- Prepare a daily call sheet by listing each prospect or company you’re going to call that day
- Next to each prospect, list relevant warm info you have on the company, individual, industry or their department within the company
- If you don't have any, go get some using the bullseye method above
- List a purpose process and payoff statement that you want to cover with each prospect, and practice it before the actual conversation
- Do this every day before you get on the phone
- Bonus — keep track of the things that work and the things that are less effective so you can optimize your talking points for future calls.
Earn the right to move the opportunity forward
Being prepared with the three P’s and relevant research will give you an edge or help you be uncommon in your initial sales conversation. Ensure you can execute on your pre-call plan and secure next steps by improving your ability to be:
Know your solution’s value proposition or proof points cold. Being audible-ready means being flexible in front of the customer. If you’re audible-ready you’re equipped to respond and adapt based on what the customer communicates about their genuine business needs. It doesn’t mean taking the first thing you hear from your prospect and running with it. Instead, it means to listen, dig deep and be prepared to respond to buyer concerns while holding a value-based conversation.
Listening is also a big part of being buyer focused. During any sales conversation, once you turn the conversation to discussing your offerings and solutions, it can be difficult to turn the conversation back to your buyer’s concerns without them feeling like you’re biasing their decisions. Keep the conversation buyer-focused so you can uncover the biggest business problems your prospects are facing or outcomes they’re hoping to achieve, and influence them in a way that favors your solutions, without bias.
Improve Your Ability to Execute on Critical Sales Fundamentals
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