My father was a great businessman, successful CEO and avid reader. I was fortunate enough to inherit his book collection, and recently came across one that’s entitled: Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work!).
Have you ever made a cold call to someone? If so, you know cold calling can be exhausting and frustrating. Ninety-nine percent of the time, after your pitch the prospect is thinking, “Wow, what a waste of time that would be. And their general response goes something like: “I think I’m all set for now, thank you for the call though.”
When I started my career, I solely utilized outbound sales methods:
Cold calling or emailing lists from paid lead services
Trade show appearances
Walking into someone’s office and knocking on their door to introduce myself
I realized there had to be an easier way to reach my audience. My goal was to “get in front” of people who needed a product that would solve their problem. Once people knew we existed, they’d find value in the product. I just needed help to start the sales process! That’s when I started supplementing my sales efforts with inbound marketing.
A shift in sales strategy
In 2011, I convinced my boss at the time to switch to HubSpot (Disclosure: our company is a certified partner) and adopt an inbound marketing methodology to transform how we relate to prospects and clients. That shift was monumental for the business and for myself as a sales representative. The difference between calling an inbound lead versus cold calling an outbound lead was night and day.
Using our marketing software tools, I could see the person I was calling had viewed 17 pages on our site and was interested in specific topics. Conversations were easy. Prospects were interested in learning more. The shift in our marketing and selling strategy was so gratifying, I wanted to help other clients do the same thing.
This is how our growth agency was born and our mission was set: to help other companies increase website visits and sales-ready leads.
From inbound marketing to inbound sales
To generate inbound sales you align sales efforts with the way prospects want to buy. People don’t like being sold to. Prospects want to be shown how a product or service will accomplish their goal(s) or solve their pain point(s).
In my journey to become an inbound sales expert, I participated in the Hubspot Pipeline Generation Bootcamp program with Dan Tyre. Below are my top 10 inbound sales takeaways from the program:
Warm calling is crucial
Switching to inbound does not mean you can retire your phone. After you start generating website leads, you need to call each one (multiple times, intermixed with short, helpful emails). You may have to reach out 7-8 times before connecting with a prospect.
Do your pre-call research
Many sales representatives haven’t considered insight on the prospect that will actually help. Review the company website and comb through their social media platforms. Find the prospect on LinkedIn to locate some points that will help you build rapport.
Don’t rush the sales process
The goal of the “connect call” is to establish rapport and see if it makes sense to schedule a follow-up exploratory call where you’ll discover their goals, challenges and timelines.
Use pauses to your advantage
Let the inbound lead-prospect do the talking. Once you say your name and what company you’re from, shut your mouth and get comfortable with pauses. It’s easy to visualize but difficult to execute. Pausing is your new secret sauce. Embrace the awkward pause — it puts the prospect in the driver’s seat, which is where they should be.
Practice before you pick up the phone
Find a buddy to hold you accountable. Bonus: If you’re like me, you’re competitive and can be motivated by hearing what others are accomplishing.
Embrace the art of the voicemail
Most people are terrible at leaving voicemails. Learn how to leave quality messages. “The goal of most voicemails is getting the prospect to call back… Try changing that goal to educating the prospect on why they should talk with you.”
Consider video voicemails
Try the free Soapbox tool by Wistia (Disclosure: our company is a certified partner). You can easily produce personalized video voicemails to include in your email.
The best salespeople aren’t loudmouths that can work a room. The best salespeople are active listeners.
Between calls, send emails
Your emails should offer relevant, personalized information. The following guides are packed with helpful information you can use in your sales outreach.
Create a vision board
Why are you doing what you do every day? What’s your personal motivation? A vision board can be a collection of family photos, things you love and hobbies with bullet points of what inspires you. Keep this on your desk in plain view.
Embrace inbound sales
When someone says they’re in sales, we immediately think of past experiences with sales reps (which are generally negative). This is thanks to traditional outbound sales representatives who call and email us non-stop and add no value.
When you flip this mindset on its head, inbound sales aligns sales outreach to how the prospect prefers to buy something. This is a more powerful, sustainable position.
Stephen Beach is co-founder and CEO of Craft Impact – a growth agency helping companies like yours generate more leads from their websites. A version of this article originally appeared here.
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