My father was a great businessman, entrepreneur, successful CEO and avid reader. I’ve been fortunate enough to inherit his books, and I came across this older one recently: Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work!)
Have you ever cold-called or do you now? Cold calling can be exhausting and frustrating.
“I wanted to introduce you to my product and see if you had some time to sit down for 15-20 minutes to go through some information.”
Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the prospect is thinking, “Wow, what a waste of time that would be.” Their response: “I think I’m all set for now, thank you for the call though.”
Finding the light
When I started my career, I utilised only outbound sales methods:
- Cold calling or emailing lists from paid lead services
- Cold emailing
- Trade show appearances
- Walking into someone’s office and knocking on their door to introduce myself
I realised there had to be an easier way to reach my audience. My goal was to “get in front” of the 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 getting the sales process started! That’s when I started supplementing my sales efforts through inbound marketing.
Following up with inbound marketing leads
In 2011, I convinced my boss at the time to switch to HubSpot (disclosure: our company is a certified partner), adopt an inbound marketing methodology and 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 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 their website visitors and sales-ready leads.
From inbound marketing to inbound sales
Inbound sales mean aligning your 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).
Pipeline generation and inbound sales tips
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 programme:
- 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 seven to eight times before connecting with the prospect.
- Do your pre-call research. Many sales representatives haven’t considered insight for 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 to help you build rapport.
- Don’t rush the sales process. The goal of this “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 visualise 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 picking 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. This article is packed with helpful suggestions, especially number three.
- Use video voicemails for an effective, less mundane approach. Try the free Soapbox tool by Wistia (disclosure: our company is a certified partner). You can easily produce personalised video voicemails to include in your email.
- Listen. The best salespeople aren’t loudmouths that can work a room. The best salespeople are good active listeners.
- Between calls, send emails. Your emails should offer relevant, personalised information. The following guides are packed with helpful information you can use in your sales outreach.
- Vision boards are underrated. 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.
Inbound sales representatives sleep better at night
When someone says they’re “in sales,” we immediately start thinking of ways to get these people to stop calling or emailing us nonstop. This is all thanks to traditional outbound sales representatives who call and email us nonstop while bringing no value to the table.
Flipping this mindset on its head, inbound sales can be thought of as a way of aligning our sales outreach to how the prospect prefers to buy something. This is a more powerful, sustainable position. Hopefully you found these takeaways to be helpful with your own sales outreach efforts. Start practicing these tips and let me know how it goes!
A version of this post originally appeared here.
Stephen Beach is co-founder and CEO of Craft Impact – a growth agency helping B2B companies generate more quality leads from their websites.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organisation comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship programme that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.