(Well, anyone who happens to pick up the phone)
Your team works hard to follow-up on leads and prospect into accounts to get the attention of executives and decision makers. Most spend a lot of time researching the lead and the account. They check out websites, look up key player profiles on LinkedIn; all in an effort to find that “nugget” of information just in case the prospect happens to pick up the phone.
This post isn’t about magically getting the decision maker to pick up the phone. We have no such magical powers. But, we have all been in the situation where you’ve done your preparation, made your call and the key player actually does answer the phone. What ensues is a rush of adrenaline and the commencement of what I like to call “the do or die death match”.
If you look at your team objectively, I think we all know who usually wins that encounter – and yes, the prospect has a pretty good record. This is one the most frustrating parts of selling and prospecting, because you know the prospect didn’t make a well considered decision to say no. What that means is you almost always walk away with an empty feeling, “If I only had 5 more minutes, I could have convinced him/her to take that next step” — or, perhaps the call went wildly awry.
What if you can turn the tables and walk away with an appointment just about every time? Well, you can and it is a simple process.
As a company that has studied nearly 2 million business development activities and repetitions, we have assembled the best practices to maximize every prospecting scenario — including that “do or die death match”. While this is one of the most stressful of prospect call scenarios, it is incredibly easy to master a better approach in just three steps that we call “Disarm, “Purpose” and “Question”.
If you use these three steps every time a key player unexpectedly picks up the phone, you will remain in control 100% of the time. and more often than not, you’ll walk away with that next step (appointment, demo, etc.).
- Disarm – The objective of “Disarm” is the get the prospect to pay attention to you. Be 100% sure that the key player was not expecting your call. They were almost assuredly doing something else the instant before the phone rang. No matter what, you are interrupting them. To get them OFF of what they were doing (composing or reading emails, looking at a report, proposal document, budget; whatever) and focused on you, merely identify yourself and acknowledge that you know they are busy.
- Purpose – Once they respond, succinctly tell them what it is you want, such as scheduling an appointment on a certain date/time to discuss the business problem your solution addresses.
- Question – The most important step is asking a question on how to accomplish the purpose in #2 above.
You: Hello John, this is Mike Scher from FRONTLINE Selling. (DISARM) I am sure I caught you in the middle of a few things.
Key Player: Yes you have. I am waiting for a conference call to come in.
You: I’ll be brief. (PURPOSE) The purpose of my call is to set up time on Monday or Tuesday to talk about how our Staccato solution will help your sales team get 200%-300% more first appointments with the right people………(QUESTION) What is the best way to schedule that time?
If you get any push back or questions, repeat the three steps above.
Key Player: Can you be more specific?
You: (DISARM) Sure, I know you have a lot going on, so I am not going to take a lot of your time, but the (PURPOSE) purpose of my call is to set up time on Monday or Tuesday to talk about how we have helped technology firms like yours to leverage a proven Staccato technology and methodology that doubles (and more) the opportunities your sales people will have to tell your story to the right person. (QUESTION) Would Monday or Tuesday be better for you?
These techniques have been used successfully for the past 12 years. If you or your reps are not doing this today, and not getting the results you want, perhaps it might be worth a try. As they say after all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So, why not give it a try. What do you have to lose — another “do or die death match”? Exactly!
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