Have you ever watched Survivor? After 29 seasons, don’t you think competitors would come into the game knowing how to start a fire? Yet clearly many still don’t. It’s all about being prepared.
Knowing our buyers’ needs and how we can best meet them is basic to success in sales. It is up to us to kindle and develop the relationships that are central to attracting, engaging and empowering buyers to buy. New tools and insights can help.
Kissmetrics provides data-driven insights for customer acquisition and decision-making. One of the “secrets” they included on a recent infographic was the best time to cold call—between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. AND between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The worst times to make cold calls? Between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., your prospects’ time zones of course.
But even if you succeed in reaching your intended target, your chances of kindling the connection go cold if you can’t quickly offer them something that is relevant to their needs.
Provide a major benefit statement
Start by defining the objective to the call; provide a major benefit statement— what is in it for them. Ask if it is a good time to talk— a telephone call is an interruption. If they say no, it could be that your benefit statement is weak; on the other hand, they may truly be busy when you called. If so, ask them when would be a good time to call back.
Setting the parameters is a good practice with respect to your return on time invested (ROTI)—likewise, asking questions, not answering them.
And unless you immediately engage the receiver of the call, they will quickly conclude that you are about to waste their time—the top buyer complaint about salespeople.
Remember, it is about the buyer and their needs and if there is an opportunity to do business together or not.
Basically, what are the benefits to the receiver of your call in terms of saving money, increasing performance, exposure, their bottom line and so on?
Here is an example:
Hello, my name is… and I am with… We work with organizations like yours to increase the performance of your salespeople while contributing to your bottom line. Is this a good time to talk?
The benefits are “increase performance and contribute to their bottom line.” Note that the statement doesn’t explain how. It is a spark, just enough to kindle interest and get permission to proceed.
Only after you have established rapport will you question further to determine whether or not you can help the buyer.
Know your audience and their needs
Of course, before you even dialed their number, you would have done your homework on these prospective buyers and their industry to know whom you’re speaking to. The Internet provides a wealth of information as do annual reports, association reports, government reports, present customers and suppliers.
While you can check any number of individual channels for “people” insights, I’ve just been introduced to Refresh, a free app that aggregates such data from social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It provides an amazing amount of information including recent touch points, photos, activities, interests, and has a place for you to take notes.
You can also download the Buyer Information Form from my recent book Velocity Selling: how to attract, engage and empower buyers to buy to record details about individual buyers. The template includes questions to help you formulate action plans with respect to the relationship.