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Many of today’s sales leaders developed their careers before the digital era and therefore lead their teams with traditional methods that are not relevant to the modern buyer.
In this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast, my guest, Tony Morris, shares three prospecting tips that sales leaders can teach their salespeople to engage with today's tech-savvy buyer.
Tony Morris is an International sales speaker, best-selling author of 5 books and MD of an International sales training company. Tony and his team have helped develop over 30,000 sales professionals across 62 industries to perform at the top of their game.
On his podcast, Confessions of a Serial Seller, Tony has interviewed the top 100 sales performers from around the world, to learn what they do differently to give themselves an unfair advantage over their competitors.
Listen to this episode to discover the importance of researching prospects, using technology, and building rapport.
Here are Tony’s top three sales prospecting tips.1. Research Each Sales Prospect Before Reaching Out
According to Tony, the number one challenge for today’s sellers is that they are not well trained and fall into the trap of believing sales is a numbers game. They dial as many numbers as they can hoping to find gold someday.
Instead, sales leaders should teach their sales reps the right sales prospecting process, which includes conducting research before the outreach.
"That way, it turns into a quality game and not a numbers game," Tony says. "Conversions and sales will increase."
If your sellers take a step back and make fewer calls to the right people with the right message at the right time, they’ll be more likely to get the right outcome.
It takes seconds to look up people on LinkedIn. Find something in common and get a hook.
When a sales rep does his homework and knows who the customer is and the company they represent, they can know the pain or the goals they might have. Your solution should help solve that pain or reach that business goal, so the rep must be prepared to tell a success story during the call of who you have helped.
“Your message should not be what you do,” Tony says, “but what you've done successfully with people like them, how you solve a problem they might have or how you helped a similar company with a goal they might be striving for.”
Research may show they are in the market for your product or service, or that they have a challenge you can solve. Or perhaps you know their industry so well that the sales rep can speak to their goals.
Tony says sellers should always do their homework about the decision-makers before interrupting them, so they can have a sensible conversation.
At Vengreso, we call this the 3 by 3, three things in three minutes. Sellers just need to look at the prospect’s LinkedIn Profile and see their activity to find out three things about them: interests, places they’ve worked at, or mutual connections.
Even if they have nothing on social media, sellers can look at information about the company and mention their findings during the prospecting call.
Another quick sales prospecting tip from Tony: Set up Google Alerts with your prospect’s company names to be in the know of what happens with them in the news. That way you'll have something to talk about that is recent and relevant, like a merger or acquisition, or changes in leadership.
Unfortunately, most BDRs today are measured by how many calls they made and not the actual result, which is how many sales conversations they had.
Many leaders think doing research is not scalable and prefer to have their reps do a hundred prospecting calls so they can make three appointments.
Tony says that it is in fact scalable, even though it takes time and effort. Here’s what he recommends:
- Focus on the same industry for a day, so the pitch or message is the same for the same people in the same type of companies.
- Ask your sellers to find the decision-makers at those companies using LinkedIn and get their contact info with data intelligence tools. That way they'll only need to make 30 calls and not 100, because they'll be targeting the decision-makers and not just calling random people at the companies.
- Knowing the industry well allows your team to craft an appropriate message that will result in sales conversations and appointments. As a result, the call activity will go down but the output will be better.
Tony also suggests that every sales leader should create the A to Z of Success and provide it to each member of the sales team. Every letter of the alphabet should be an industry your company has helped.
Here’s an example from Tony’s company:
- Column A (Industry): Banking
- Column B (Clients): Merryl Lynch
- Column C (Service Offered): Training Programs
- Column D (Success): Increased conversion rates
Every time a seller contacts a prospect in the banking industry, he or she has a relevant success story to share. Still, they need to do their prep about the person they will be talking to.
That previous research also serves to warm up the call, by interacting with the prospect’s LinkedIn posts (liking and commenting), so they are aware of the seller even before the call.3. Use Video to Prospect in Seconds
Tony’s team sends personalized videos to everyone they reach out to. These are 30-second videos with an elevator pitch, sent by email (they use BombBomb) and finish up with “I’ll be in touch in a couple of days to see where we might be aligned and where we can best serve you.”
They would send 30 of those videos and then do the 30 follow-up calls two days later.
If it’s a big opportunity or prospect, Tony says, he would send a video business card with the company’s information before the phone call, with a personalized letter.
“I like to warm up the prospect because I think that’s the best way to prospect in today’s world,” Tony says. “Cold calling is dead, smart calling is much alive.”
Tony also uses what he calls the GAP during his sales prospecting calls.
- G stands for Goal. What is the goal of the call?
- A stands for Approach. For example, talk about a success story.
- P stands for Prep Work. Have I done the research?
Whether cold calling, sending prospecting emails or engaging on social media, every sales professional must build rapport with the potential customer.
Here are Tony’s three golden rules for building rapport:1. Don’t be interesting, be interested
Turn the Always Be Closing into Always Be Curious and make prospects feel that they could be your biggest customer ever.2. Treat people how they would like to be treated.
We are all different, so speak their language, not yours. If you see the world through their eyes, they’ll be more likely to buy from you.3. People buy from people like them
The job of a professional salesperson is to mirror their prospects, to be a chameleon, and adapt very quickly to the person they are talking to.
The objective is to identify their behavior quickly, how do they respond and react to you, and what questions they ask.
Listen to this episode to learn more about prospecting from Tony Morris.
As a gift to our listeners, Tony will send you a free e-copy of his book, Coffee’s for Closers if you email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Outline of this Episode
- [3:00] About Tony Morris: From Selling Encyclopedias and Software to Sales Trainer
- [15:45] The number one challenge sellers face
- [21:30] Scaling quality calls
- [28:30] How to prospect in seconds
- [35:00] How to build rapport with a prospect
- Follow Tony on LinkedIn
- Follow Tony on Twitter: @Tony_Talks_Int
- Tony’s website
- Tony’s book Coffee’s for Closers
- Favorite movies: Goonies and Glengarry Glen Ross