Outbound Sales Calls: The Secret to Success
I want to share a secret with you. One of the key performance indicators (KPIs) I track for my sales team, specifically for my business development team, is the average time of each outbound call made.
We all know that a good percentage of outbound calls will go to voicemail. Given the average voice message is about 15 to 45 seconds, this will definitely bring your overall average down. But the key to bringing that average up is keeping people engaged when you finally do connect.
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Here’s what I tell my team: The longer you can be compelling and keep a prospect on the phone, the likelihood of him or her seeing the value in evaluating your solution continues to increase exponentially.
But what can you do to capture their initial attention and then continue to keep the conversation going?
Prospects will NOT openly embrace you; they do not know you, nor do they have any reason to trust you. This is where you MUST get creative in building rapport as quickly as possible. Are you from the same geographic region? Do they know an existing local customer of yours? Sports teams? Regional vacation spots you have visited? Did you do their job in a previous role? Go to the same school? How have you helped a similar customer with your solution, or better still, a competitor of theirs? Who is their current IT service provider and what differentiates you from them? What pain points do they have that their current provider can’t solve for, but you can?
Don’t be afraid to continue tossing questions out until you uncover that hidden connection or discover that pain point that will compel them to continue the conversation.
You have a very short window to be compelling and keep them engaged. The longer your conversation lasts, the more successful you’ll be—even if you’re talking about last night’s baseball game.
If they blow you off on the phone, follow-up with an email. Ask them an open-ended question in the email, such as, “I’ve heard of a few challenges some of my other customers have experienced with your vendor. Have you had similar experiences? Here’s how I can help.” Some prospects will feel safer in this format, so as long as they keep replying, keep talking to them via email until they’re comfortable enough with you to have a telephone conversation.
Very few engagement opportunities will ever be easy from the beginning. Be politely persistent. Be likeable, be respectful, be confident, be humble and keep them talking!
Be insightful, funny, engaging and have fun, and they’ll want to keep talking to you.