In any sales engagement, the groundwork before the call can be decisive. Chris Brewer, Co-founder at OMG Commerce, shares his pre-call preparation strategy, primarily for inbound lead generation, with insights adaptable to outbound leads.
The Pre-Call Process: Setting the Stage for Success
Chris sees Google as more than a search engine; it’s a vital tool in his research arsenal. By Googling a brand, he uncovers essential information like legal issues or consumer dissatisfaction. This helps him anticipate red flags that might surface during the call.
Glassdoor is another resource Chris values. Reviews from a company’s team offer insights into their leadership style and culture. He recalls an experience with a dysfunctional client where Glassdoor reviews mirrored his situation, highlighting this overlooked platform’s importance.
Understanding the Client
Chris emphasizes digging deeper into the client’s story. Whether it’s a family business, charitable causes, or industry motivations, these insights form a basis for meaningful connections during the call. He advises reading the client’s ‘About Us’ on their website for critical personal connection information.
The Strategic Questionnaire
Chris uses an in-depth questionnaire sent before the call, with specific questions to gauge client fit. The 70-question form is now refined to 48 questions, flexible to skip any. Gathering technical data pre-call focuses the conversation on addressing challenges.
Time Efficiency in Research
In a 15-minute gap between appointments, Chris conducts research. These moments yield information, making prospects feel understood. This efficient approach ensures the call is more targeted and effective.
Understanding the Prospect’s Personality
LinkedIn, while an obvious choice for prospecting, can be further leveraged with an extension called Crystal. This unique tool offers insights into the personalities of potential clients. It predicts the DISC profile of the prospect, an aspect of great value in shaping the conversation. Crystal’s accuracy can be a game-changer in pre-call preparations, allowing sales reps to tailor their approach.
Moreover, Crystal’s paid application has pre-written templates for discovery, negotiation, and other sales activities. This equips the sales representative with the right questions and strategies for dealing with specific personality types.
Learning from Past Experiences
Reflecting on client relationships can also lead to valuable insights. Chris mentions an exercise where he analyzed the profiles of both successful and unsuccessful clients. By discerning the problematic DISC profiles, he could identify the types of prospects he wanted to avoid in the future. It’s a proactive approach to client engagement, utilizing lessons learned to fine-tune future interactions.
Enhancing Communication Through Careful Planning
The preparation right before the call is crucial. From questionnaires to spreadsheets, having a structured way to gather and highlight essential information leads to more targeted and natural conversations. Chris emphasizes the ability to use the information already provided by the prospects to ask follow-up questions that sound natural. It establishes trust and helps in building relationships quickly.
Reducing Sales Pressure Through Thoughtful Language
The essence of a successful call isn’t just about the data and tools; it’s also about how the conversation flows. Chris mentions the importance of waltzing language and not building sales pressure. A sales representative can provide information without pushing the prospect toward a decision by being mindful of the timing and wording. Phrases that lead to rate discussions or next steps without pressure make the conversation feel more like a partnership than a sales pitch.
Integrating these insights and tools into your sales approach can create a more receptive and open environment. Understanding the prospect’s personality or carefully navigating the conversation, these strategies contribute to a more holistic and empathetic sales process.
Building Connections with Customers – A Dual Approach
Understanding your client’s needs is vital in sales and marketing, but jumping straight to the hard questions can feel jarring. Here’s a structured way to warm up the conversation:
The Structured Conversation Approach
- Start Simple: Ask how the client heard about you – it’s a relaxed icebreaker.
- Talk about Their Product: Engage them on their passion – their product. This builds a natural bridge to a more personal conversation.
- Discuss Their Customers: Ease into a more guarded subject by discussing their best customers.
- Delve into Numbers: Once warmed up, guide the conversation to sales numbers and targets.
- Personal Touch: Gradually increase the intimacy of the conversation. Don’t jump in; warm them up with friendly, engaging dialogue.
This approach emphasizes a gentle entry into the conversation, layering the topics to gain trust and rapport.
The Situational Approach
Chris prefers a situational method, adapting the conversation to the client’s personality and reactions:
- Profile Recognition: Identify their personality type and respond accordingly.
- Observations and Questions: Gauge reactions with pointed observations and questions.
- Read the Call’s Temperature: Recognize when to switch from casual banter to business.
- Remind Them of Positive Impressions: A question about how they found you may rekindle the initial spark that led them to reach out.
This method relies on flexibility, reading cues, and understanding the individual’s unique profile.
Crafting Connection in a Virtual World
Even over a Zoom call, you can build a personal and genuine relationship.
- Pronounce Their Name Right: This might seem simple, but getting the name right shows respect and care. If you’re unsure, be upfront about it and ask. Honesty can be as connecting as getting it right in the first place.
- Ask Questions, Let Them Talk: A consultative, low-pressure approach allows the prospect to open up. Chris shares the timeless wisdom from Brian Tracy’s training that “selling is not telling.” The more the prospect talks about themselves, the closer you come to making a sale.
- Mirror Their Body Language: Moring the prospect’s body language can build rapport even on a video call. If they’re leaning back or nodding, you can do the same. It’s a subconscious way to say, “I’m with you.”
- Adapt to Their Needs: The sales manual or manager might dictate a specific process, but sometimes, following the prospect’s lead can yield better results. Chris emphasizes the importance of control without rigidity, adapting to the prospects’ desires for the interaction.
- Set Plays vs. Adaptability: Collin draws a sports analogy, contrasting the rigidity of set plays with the fluidity of reacting to the game’s flow. In sales, responsiveness trumps repetition. Adapting to the prospect’s responses makes you a more effective salesperson.
- Understand Their Goals: Start the conversation by asking what the prospect hopes to achieve from the call. This sets a clear roadmap and ensures you align your conversation with their expectations.
Chris’s anecdote about slowing down his speech rate to match a slow-talking prospect from Oregon illustrates the art of connection. It’s about coming to where the prospect is and communicating in a way that resonates with them.
These insights are invaluable in a world where sales often take place behind screens. Whether it’s mirroring body language, adapting to needs, or simply pronouncing a name right, the essence of connection lies in empathy, attentiveness, and respect.
No wonder Chris could close that prospect even today. It’s not just about what you say but how you say it and, more importantly, how you listen.
Building the Path: Visualizing Success and Aligning Expectations
Opening the door to success starts with clearly understanding what the client wants. This involves setting realistic goals and reacting thoughtfully to the client’s concerns. Whether a six-month plan or a targeted strategy, the focus must align with the client’s needs.
Imagining Success: A Proactive Technique
By asking clients to visualize and articulate their success with the product or service, we create a shared roadmap to fulfillment. This proactive technique sets the stage for genuine engagement, building confidence, and forming a partnership to achieve common goals.
Crafting a Pre-Client Testimonial
In a novel twist, recording a testimonial video even before the client comes on board serves as both a trust-building exercise and a creative approach to securing future testimonials. It’s a fun and effective way to put the client in the psychological space where they want to be and cement the relationship before it begins.
Aligning Expectations to Reality
Matching client expectations with what can realistically be delivered is fundamental. For example, setting realistic targets like 3-4 monthly meetings rather than promising 20 helps ensure a satisfied client. This temperature check ensures that promises align with delivery, creating a harmonious relationship.
Serving the Delivery Team: Internal Alignment
The conversation also underscored the importance of setting realistic expectations within the internal delivery team. By aligning sales promises with what the team can achieve, we foster collaboration and set the stage for consistent client satisfaction.
Chris Brewer’s sales engagement philosophy lays the foundation for meaningful relationships fostered through attentive research, empathetic connection, and honest expectation alignment.
Combining technological tools, behavioral insights, and crafted communication strategies offers a comprehensive approach to inbound and outbound lead generation. These methods applied thoughtfully, can transform the traditional sales call into an engaging dialogue built on understanding, trust, and a mutual commitment to success.
Whether the intuitive use of search engines or the psychological tuning to a client’s needs, this methodical yet flexible approach reflects a profound shift in sales techniques. It’s not about selling a product or service but creating a partnership that resonates with the client’s aspirations, ensuring that both parties work together toward a shared vision of success.
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