The 4 things to do after you choke on a cold call
The following is a guest post by Sean Higgins, Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars.
The phone is such an important part of outbound sales.
Having a conversation with a prospect can do in minutes what an email conversation does in days. We know the importance of a good phone call and in sales, we always have our eye on the ball. So then how do so many of our calls go off the rails? No matter how good you are at prospecting or outbound sales you will have cold calls that just go completely south.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to give your dials the best chance of getting through.
#1 Review your pitch
It sounds obvious but you need a thought out “why should I care” and “why should I listen” moment in your script in the first 15 seconds. This can be work you’re doing with other similar companies and value that you provided them. I am a big fan of Salesloft’s “We increase qualified demos by 300%”. If you get an outbound call from Salesloft they let you know the value prop of their sales automation platform almost instantly. At the very least it gets me to stay on the phone with them.
If you can’t get through your pitch in 15-20 seconds keep practicing until you can. Not knowing your pitch like the back of your hand will only result in you adding unnecessary language. This will lead to unnecessary objections and explanations.
#2 Review your cadence/Speak slowly
After dealing with a morning of voicemails it’s exciting to get a live prospect on the phone. No matter how excited you are you need to speak in a normal relaxed manner. Getting too excited and speaking too fast is a great way to get completely shot down before you even get going. Be sure to add pauses after asking if it’s a bad time, after your name, and after your value prop. Questions can be a good way to do this. For example:
This is Sean calling with ilos (Pause). Am I catching you at a bad time (Pause)? The reason I’m calling is that we just helped (insert company in your area) save 20% on their video capabilities while adding ADA accessibility (Pause).
Is that kind of video savings something you and the team would want to explore?”
Without pauses, your entire script can turn into a train wreck pretty quick.
#3 What’s your goal on the call?
Are you dialing to qualify out a prospect? To find the right person? To book a meeting? You need to have a clear outcome with every dial you make. Mixing your outcomes especially early on leads to clarity problems in your dial. Having an unclear goal for your call will ultimately create problems knowing where to take the conversation. You can have multiple goals for a call but make sure you have a clear progression. If the goal is to qualify the opportunity and then book a meeting, make sure you know when a lead is qualified or not.
Go for the goal, eventually. No one wants to give you 15 minutes without knowing what you do. Only go for the meeting ask once you have established interest. You need to make an ask on your call, but making your move at the right time (usually after you’ve qualified out the prospect) shows that you are listening to what their priorities are.
#4 Practice, Practice
The easiest way to get back on track after you have a bad dial is to keep dialing. Take time to review your call, why it went off the rails, and listen to the recording if you can. Then make some small adjustments and get back out there. Good SDRs are volume shooters, and just because you miss you can’t be afraid to take the next open shot that comes your way.
In the same vein of practice talk through the most common types of objections with your manager. If people are telling you they are too busy then you aren’t presenting the value well enough (Why us/Why now). If they are stuck on why they should chat with you when you have competitor XYZ, then they are stuck on why us. If they are pushing you out several months they don’t understand the urgency around your offering (why now).
The life of an SDR is a bit of a roller coaster, with bad calls being the small dips on the ride. With these tips, you should find yourself back on the sales trail riding high. No matter where you find yourself in sales, with a good pitch, the right amount of practice, and a clear goal you can dial your way through every time.
Editor’s note: for those of you who didn’t catch our conversation with Sean on The Predictable Revenue Podcast, you can listen here.