Developing and implementing an outbound sales strategy can be complex and rather daunting. That’s why I’ve put together nine tips to help you overcome the pressure and uncertainty that comes with sales calls to nail those all-important interactions.
One of the hardest tasks you’ll face as an outbound caller is keeping the prospect on the phone. Whilst the goal is to have an enthusiastic and energetic manner to help with this, it’s important to not go too far the other way. Nervous energy, speaking too quickly, stumbling over your words, or simply not being an active listener can all lead to failure.
So, make sure to take a deep breath, remind yourself that you’re offering something of value, and keep composure.
As you’ll likely have found out the hard way, the part of the call when the prospect is most likely to reject you is right at the start. Whilst there’s no silver bullet to dealing with this problem, the key to nailing your opening is to hook them early. Your hook should essentially address why giving you their attention for a few minutes would be interesting to the prospect.
A valuable offer should be creative and relevant to the prospect. Focus on why this call is good for them by using psychological cues such as buzzwords related to their interests and needs or touching upon their title or recent projects.
Demonstrating your knowledge does not mean making glib statements or referencing unnecessary or irrelevant jargon. You want to stand out, not sound like a carbon copy of a “typical” salesperson. However, it’s important to convey that you know what you’re talking about:
For example, rather than generically saying, “we’re the best company in the world…”, you might instead say:
“We understand just how quickly the marketing landscape is changing. Actually, one of our biggest clients in the tech space recently reached out to us about the big challenge they were facing before joining us regarding [the issue you solved with your service].
Now that you’ve set up an example, add more detail of the results you delivered for your client, whilst making sure this is relevant to the prospect’s needs.
This then allows you to shape your next question to create a connection between your statement and the prospect’s role, which helps to move the discussion forward.
When your prospect poses an objection, and they almost always will, the aim is not to push them back until they agree with you. Instead, you should actually confirm their suspicion.
For example, if a prospect tells you that they already handle all their data in-house, don’t focus on explaining to them how they’re probably not optimised or how they should give you time anyway.
Not only can this seem disingenuous, but it can also come across as desperate. Instead, spend a minute agreeing with them and slowly loop back to the value you are offering.
Focus on what makes you unique, reference experience with existing clients, and what the prospect stands to gain. For example, you might say:
“Completely understand. Actually, it’s great that you do, we find that our biggest clients come prepared with their own in-house teams initially too.
I don’t know if your team has outsourced before, but many of our clients have as well and the results are always mixed. The best still looked to us in the end because our ability to scale and provide a bigger boost to their KPIs is always there, which is probably why they stay with us over the long term. Have you had a similar experience?”
This sets you up for the perfect talking point to continue the conversation. If they haven’t outsourced before you can talk about the extra value your clients received, as well as what they achieved with your support.
If they have then you can still link back to your strengths and the unique value you bring, which in our case is the quality of leads we provide our clients.
Even if the call starts off well, things can still go south quickly, and this could simply be down to external factors outside of your influence. A prospect may suddenly “need to go”, which may be down to them realising none of what you are offering is relevant, or pressing for them.
Regardless, rather than just accepting that the call has not worked out, approve and lead with what they have said. For example, if they say, “actually, I have to go into a meeting right now so I’d rather you just send me an email”, don’t follow up with resistance by saying, “wait, if I could just…” Instead, you could say:
“No problem at all, I don’t want to keep you. My account executive can show you more when you have time. In fact, I’m speaking to her this afternoon about your team. As you’re busy now, shall we just pencil in a better time for them to speak with you, say, next week?”
This won’t always lead to a close but the key is to walk the line between being persistent while also respecting their needs.
Although researching each prospect in great detail would be ideal, outbound sales is a numbers game at the end of the day. Only having the time to make 10 calls a day simply won’t be conducive to success.
However, it’s still important to understand and demonstrate your knowledge of your prospect’s basic buzzwords and job targets. For example, an international marketing manager is not likely to connect to the same language as a sales director.
Aim to tailor your language. For example, to the international marketing manager, you might say:
“In your role, is it right that your current main focus is elevating the company brand on a global scale? How would you say that relates to your KPIs and are you currently yielding a similar ROI from campaigns across Europe and Asia?”
Whereas with the sales director you might say:
“In your role, is it right that your current main focus is on converting new and existing business to bottom-line sales figures? I imagine qualification is particularly important to your team because it’s harder for your sales team to convert poor leads, right?”
In both cases, you’re driving the conversation to the same end but by using very different language and a specific focus in order to resonate with the prospect.
The most influential tool you have on the phone is your voice. Use different tones strategically over the course of the conversation to influence the prospect’s thinking. For example, when trying to convey expertise and confidence, speaking slowly and clearly in an authoritative tone is ideal.
Similarly, when you’re trying to generate more enthusiasm from the prospect or convince them to lend you their time, you might want to take a more relaxed, friendly tone that encourages them to continue the conversation.
It’s a fine line to walk that should also be informed by your prospect’s reception of the call, however, if leveraged correctly, tone is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
When you have the green light and the prospect agrees that your proposition is of interest to them and is worth a chat, close quickly. The more you prod and poke at that point, linger, or let silence stretch out too long, the more chance you’re allowing for the prospect to change their mind. Move the conversation quickly on to setting a date and time.
Unfortunately, there’s no secret phrase or script you can use. Instead, success can be found in understanding the general structure and strategies that work for your target market and how to tailor them to each prospect.
More importantly, remember that even with the tactics outlined above and all the best will in the world, not every conversation will go well, that’s just the nature of people.
Don’t let it affect you mentally, just keep going. The more calls you make using a strong strategy, the higher your margin of success will be and the more meetings you’ll book.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and that these tips help you shape your next outbound call strategy for success.
Mohan is a BDR at INFUSEmedia who is based in the UK, focusing primarily on the EMEA market. He takes a learn-by-doing approach when advising others, and believes in creativity, flexibility, and an ability to read people are crucial to success in sales. Outside of work, Mohan loves to cook, play football, and go for long walks!