Cold calls worked in the 1950s. Today’s consumer needs something more evolved.
Marketing today is about personalization. We live in a world where multiple internet companies’ only purpose for existence is to know us so well they can predict what we need before we need it. (This is true – a Target buyer started seeing ads for diapers and baby products and was offended until he realized his teenage daughter was pregnant.)
In such a scenario, telesales and cold calls seem kind of ineffective. To make matters worse, usually, the person at the other end has absolutely no interest in what the prospect might want or need (I am looking at you, all the callers from banks offering me loans) which not only makes the prospect disconnect but also reduces the chance of them considering that firm for future needs.
How the Sales Call has evolved
Today, people are not looking to buy products; they are searching for solutions to their problems. According to the Jobs theory, we all have jobs that we want to get done and when we buy a product, we are essentially hiring it to help us perform that job. Given our busy schedules, a long list of tasks to be performed, and increasingly less time to perform them in, we quickly lose interest in any conversation that is not fit for our needs.
Sellers today need to ensure that they reach out to the right audience for what they are selling. Otherwise, they risk alienating the prospect from even becoming a customer in the future. What is even more important is that they stop selling the product and instead focus on helping the prospect to solve his or her problem. Since people are increasingly prone to sharing their experiences with brands on social media, companies need to ensure that they leave a good impression on the people they reach out to, even if they do not convert them to a customer. This has led to a new approach that companies are starting to take when it comes to their sales calls.
What we are now starting to see is sellers reaching out to warm leads instead of cold ones, i.e. a person who you have researched – their background, company, responsibilities, etc. (The buyer persona you learn about in your marketing classes (they are worth it after all!)) and have identified the kind of challenges they may be facing.
You ideally try to find a personal connection (school, interests, promotion, etc.) and lead with it in the first call – typically known as the connect call. This call has a singular purpose – to introduce yourself and how you have worked with similar clients in the past and gauge if your prospect faces a similar problem. If they do, offer to help without demanding anything in return and fix up a follow-up call to discuss their issues in greater detail.
The second call a.k.a. The “Exploratory call” is where you discuss more their problem, understand how it impacts them, discuss potential timelines and possible solutions. At the same time you are also qualifying the prospect by getting more information about their budget and buying authority. A few frameworks that you can use for this are BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) or CGP/TCI/BA (Challenges, Goals, Plans/Timeline, Consequences, Implications/ Budget, Authority; for more details, check out the Understanding the Buyer’s Context course from HubSpot).
One key thing you need to remember is to not push the customer towards your solution but work with them to help identify how to resolve their challenges. If you can provide your prospect with a valuable experience and your product is a fit for them, there is a high chance that they would go for it. However, even if they are not able to go ahead with your product at the current time, their experience will ensure that they consider you in the future and act as advocates for you in their network.
Sales is no longer a one-time activity; your customers are your biggest advocates and you need to ensure that they have a great experience right from the moment they first pick up your phone. To ensure that you set up repeatable best practices and optimize customer experience, having a CRM along with sales and marketing automation tools can be of immense help. If you think that your business can benefit from them, check out HubSpot CRM (available for FREE) and the sales, marketing, and service hubs that can help transform your business. If you are interested, ContentNinja is a certified HubSpot partner and we can help you evaluate how HubSpot can benefit your business, work with you to set up the tools to help your business improve its efficiency and productivity (See how I provided you with valuable (hopefully) information and then offered to help; that’s all sales is about now). If you would like to work with us, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.