Do these and buyers will give you more time, more often.
By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Sales
1) Ask questions but ask for permission first
It’s great to ask questions on a prospecting call to understand what issues, challenges or goals a customer might have but don’t forget to frame why you’re asking them. Otherwise, it can catch your prospect off guard and they will be less apt to want to answer questions until they know “what’s in it for them” to do so. Use language such as, “I don’t know if there’s a fit between our companies for sure but would it be OK for me to ask you two quick questions to help see?” In the thousands of calls I’ve personally used this strategy of asking permission with, I’ve only been turned down once!
2) Be friendly and conversational, yet professional
It’s a delicate balance to strike, but if you can speak to someone as if they are already an acquaintance, you will get them to listen to you and open up more as well. Too casual, such as, “We’re amazing at that kind of stuff man.” and you’ll be dismissed as unprofessional. On the other hand, “We have a superior track record of excellence within that category” will likely come across as too stiff.
In more advanced selling, you will want to learn how to read the personality of the prospect and adjust accordingly but for now, friendly yet professional will do in most cases.
3) Use softeners
Try to frame your questions with “softeners” that allow you to probe without sounding like you’re interrogating them. Use language such as “Would you happen to know . . . Could you share with me . . . Do you know about how many . . . How important would you say blah, blah is?” Be curious not interrogative.
4) Find at least two issues
Try to probe and uncover at least two problems/challenges/issues that your solution might be able to help them with before suggesting a meeting. If you can’t get two, run with only one but at least try for two.
5) Keep practicing!
Your prospects won’t give you honest feedback that will help you get better but your friends will!
You and your team can learn to prospect better and in less time with Northbound’s “Power Prospecting” and “Connecting to Mr. Big Cheese” workshops. For more information or to arrange a complimentary workshop for your team, contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.456.1440.