Yes. Make Phone calls ! The phone is still an incredibly powerful tool for communication. Believe it or not, some people still answer their phones — even in today’s age of caller ID. Once you get through to your potential client and talk in real-time, you’ll stand out and have the chance to build rapport — if you add value, that is. Even if you leave a voicemail message, they’ll hear your voice which provides a different level of connection than just an email or LinkedIn InMail.
Of course, the phone is only one method of outreach. Phone calls are powerful, and should be part of an orchestrated approach to gain access to your prospects. But you’ll need to leverage multiple vehicles of communication over time to successfully reach your prospects. Online connections such as social selling, email, and webinars should be balanced with offline (in-person) touch-points, such as trade shows and networking events. It’s important to be present and show up at the places where your clients might be. A cadence-based approach using multiple different types of touch-points help reps crush their metrics and build a strong pipeline.
Dedicate a calendar block each day, and be persistent.
Online research showed that, overall, 54% of initial meetings require more than five touch points to set up — and that 10% require 11 or more touches. The one thing that we know for sure is consistency is key in prospecting. Calendar management and calendar blocking are key to success. So, look at your calendar and block out times for calls and your other outreach, and then stick to it, each day.
One study also revealed that most people underestimate the number of touches required to get through to a prospect. At the same time, sales reps over-report the number of times they actually reach out, by about 50%. In tandem, this diminished effort will deliver diminished results.
At the end of the day, we need to realize that when we are prospecting, we’re interrupting people. We hope it’s a value-added interruption, but it’s considered an interruption nonetheless. As a sales professional, your goal is to get the prospect to engage with you, and ultimately, to buy from you. You want to meet their needs and add value to their businesses and to them personally.
So, when a rep asks, “How do I get more appointments?” I point out that they may be asking the wrong the question. I suggest they ask themselves, “Why would any prospect ever want to meet with me?” If they can find a way to add value for their prospect with insightful information about that prospect’s business or situation, they will succeed.
It all comes down to valuable content: not just information on your product or your company, but how you can help successfully solve your prospect’s current challenges.
We all probably get dozens of outreach emails or phone calls a day from sales reps. Although they’re asking for my time, very rarely is the content of those messages relevant to me. It’s usually, “Let me tell you about my company. Let me tell you what I do. Let me tell you how cool our new program is.” But this doesn’t entice me, and it usually doesn’t convince me to get back in touch with them.
You need the business acumen to confidently have a business conversation with an executive. If that’s a skill gap for you, it is something you should work on getting the training to resolve. I’m often asked, “What is the number one thing I need to do to sell to the executive level at my prospects’ companies?” Well, you need to become fluent in the language of business so that you can have a business conversation.
There are some real challenges in the prospecting world. In fact, today it is harder and harder to get meetings with prospects for a number of reasons. So, we must engage them by creating messages from their point of view. You should continually ask yourself, “What is the value we can add to that prospect?” Once you get that process down, it is much easier to create those value-added messages and become a value-added interruption. That is, once you pick up the phone.