How to Handle the 1st Conversation with a DM
In B2B sales, there is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into landing a new client. The most important first step is to really understand your buyer’s needs, concerns, and issues, and ensure that your product fits these needs. There’s nothing worse than trying to sell a product/service that your prospect doesn’t care about.)
Most companies struggle most with finding new leads to begin the sales process with. Often, an effective solution is to use the telephone to find leads, after exhausting referrals and other sources. Cold calling can connect sales people to prospective clients they would never otherwise meet.
If cold calling is something that you’d like to do, you will need a list of prospective companies and contacts. You might build this list from people who have visited your website or trade show booths, over time, plus people who have clicked on articles you have published online. Or, you might purchase a list from one of the many lead providers. Or, both!
A cold-calling / -emailing campaign can entice potential buyers to take a closer look at your offering. You can encourage decision makers on your list to take the next step in their buying process, with your product or service!
While every phase in planning your sales and cold calling outreach is crucial, one of the most pivotal points in the process is when you get the Decision Maker (DM) on the phone. This is when it REALLY counts. This is when all that leg work comes to fruition for the first time. There is a lot riding on this one phone call, so you’ll want to do everything possible to get it right.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that DMs only care about what’s in it for them, so don’t waste your time talking about the bells and whistles of your product they have no interest in. It will fall on deaf ears. Research shows that the DM responds best when “the salesperson clearly shows they understand my business issues and can clearly articulate to me how to solve them.” (Forrester) Unfortunately, only 13% of executive buyers actually believe that a salesperson can clearly show they understand their business issues and articulate a way to solve them. (Forrester).
When you get the DM on the phone, you MUST show that you understand the issues of his/her business and clearly articulate how your product can solve them.
The truth of the matter is, the sales professional must demonstrate this capability throughout every step of the process. Usually, the farther along the sales pipeline, the more in-depth and specific the articulation will need to be, but the core of it must be there from the beginning.
Here are our top three tips on how to handle the first conversation with the DM:
1. Use a script. Since the first time you get the DM on the phone is a one-shot, make-it-or-break-it deal, we always recommend using a script. This is not to say we recommend reading a script like some sort of robot, not at all! But, having a script as a guide to articulate key concepts is paramount.
2. Give only as much information as is necessary or as is asked for. After all, a cold call is one that is unexpected. The DM could be in a rush to get to a meeting, or in the middle of a very important task, so there is often a limited amount of time to pique his/her interest about your product. In the best of scenarios, you’ll give the DM just enough to entice him/her to take the next step, whether it be a webinar, phone call, or in-person meeting.
3. Listen. Listening is an often overlooked, yet vital component to proactive dialogue. Don’t minimize it! One of the biggest mistakes we see our newbie client associates make is not taking a pause in between key concepts. Most people have a tendency to rush through the script and get all their talking points out in the open. But, this does not produce results. Instead, we coach our client associates to insert a pause in order to allow the DM to respond. This response can offer invaluable information and intel to help you propel the sales process forward. Don’t be scared of silence! Silence allows the other person to get a word in edgewise.
In conclusion, it’s good to remember that DMs are just people like anyone else. So, being friendly and warm will go a long way. Also, don’t let yourself get so nervous about the call that you lack confidence in your offering. The DM will hear that in your voice and you’ll lose credibility. Finally, above all, do not forget the golden rule that we hammered home earlier. The success of this call depends mostly on your ability to show that you understand the DM’s business issues and can clearly articulate how to solve them!