Imagine sitting at your desk and the phone rings from a number in your area. You answer, the caller on the other end has the green light and starts their script by butchering your name. Your immediate reaction? Hang up or ask to be removed from the list. Buyers have evolved to know the signs of a cold call and aren’t buying it anymore. What’s crazy is buyers used to listen to these sales pitches! Why? Because they didn’t know any better.
The seller used to hold all of the power and had the choice between being fair or a swindler. That’s not the case anymore. Buyers now hold the informational power and salespeople beware: you must adapt or you won’t be successful.
Yes, you read that right. You must adapt and accept the fact you don’t have all of the information anymore. Your buyer is just as informed as you are so they don’t need you to exactly sell them, but they are still coming to you for one thing: help.
Helping your buyer is the start of taking sales from robotic to human.
The rise of technology was both revolutionary and detrimental to sales. The ease of accessing buyers’ information opened the line for cold calling with generic scripts by pushy salespeople. The problem behind this? Cold calling is ineffective when your lead knows you have no idea who they are and what they need.
How do we terminate this ideology of robotic sales so many of us live and unfortunately operate in so we can transform into the helpful humans our buyers desire?
Factors For Change
Social media and consumer research are just some of the driving forces that can help salespeople evolve back into humans. There is power in information. Thanks to technology, salespeople now have access to consumer data to assist their prospects anywhere in their buyer’s journey.
The idea of helping is a bit easier to grasp in marketing because marketing has evolved with the consumer. Think about the development of email and social campaigns. When it comes to sales, it’s been a bit of a challenge. Black Tie’s prospects generally come to us with one question: “How much do your services cost?”
For me, as an Executive Assistant without any interest in sales, I never really understood a way to answer that question in a helpful way, until eight weeks ago. Helping is second nature to me and when asked to take part in HubSpot’s Pipeline Generation Bootcamp, I must admit I was not looking forward to it.
How my attitude and mindset have changed in just eight weeks! I freaking love it! It has been instrumental in our adaption of how we sell our services and taught us how to be truly helpful during the sales process. I now know how to answer that main question without disrupting the buyer’s journey.
My main takeaways:
Research Your Sales Prospect
Stand, Smile, and Pause
Be Human and Helpful
Research Your Sales Prospect
Your buyers are doing research on you, so why aren’t you doing the same? It’s a good question that HubSpot focuses on in this eight-week course. Coming to a meeting prepared with a bank of knowledge builds a solid foundation of mutuality and trust between a salesperson and prospect.
You can build mutuality and trust in the era of robo-calls in two ways:
- Traditional: Website, phone, referral or Word of Mouth/Networking
- Modern: Prospecting companies you want to work with
The traditional way of leads entering your CRM is easiest because you can help them immediately. We recommend spending about five minutes on research. Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time, but that research will allow you to ask an open-ended question and gain more insight straight from the prospect.
We always say, “Preparation Communicates Value.”
This is particularly true when it comes to prospecting. No, you’re not really digging for gold, but you are looking for that “golden opportunity” in a company to do business with.
The modern way of gaining buyers into your CRM is through prospecting, which is essentially glorified stalking. You’re researching all you can on a company and looking for that person who can get your foot in the door.
In your research, find a reason to make the “warm call”. You can build rapport with a prospect using data you find in your research, whether it be a television show, a baseball team, or a college connection. Warm calls are better received because you’ve done your research and have a legitimate reason to make the connection.
Stand, Smile, and Pause
Standing, smiling and pausing exudes confidence even over the phone. Your posture and facial features have a huge effect on how your voice comes across and what attitude you have. If you’re standing and smiling then you’ll be the friendliest version of yourself.
Pausing allows you to actually hear the prospect and determine if your company can help them achieve their goals. Scripts are extremely helpful, however, we recommend not making it too detailed. Allow for open-ended questions for you to pause and let the prospect talk.
If you’re asking the right open-ended questions in the four-stage sales process and pausing after each question, it makes for a beautiful, natural conversation. This way of selling allows you to actively listen to your prospects while you are given the opportunity to align your solutions to their problems.
The four stages in the sales process allow for a bare-boned script to ensure you ask the right questions:
- Identify: You’re identifying if your prospect would benefit from your business.
- Connect: Connect with your contact and position yourself to align their plan toward their goal or challenge.
- Explore: Ask all of the right questions based on their goal or challenge to determine if they’re in need of your product or service.
- Advise: Offer your unique solution to their challenge.
Be Human and Helpful
You’ve got the first step down already since you’re not a robot. But, the tricky part is where you have to join the two into one harmonious relationship. Being helpful can take a nasty turn if you don’t have the right attitude behind your helpfulness.
In our case, if a prospect doesn’t have a modern or updated website and could benefit from our custom website design, we’re not going to say in our initial connect call, “Your website is ugly! Let us help you!”
We’ll be human and helpful in asking the right open-ended questions and will ultimately advise them on either: our services (if they’re an ideal client) or our recommendations to help in the meantime (if they’re not an ideal client).
Ultimately, the eight-week HubSpot Pipeline Generation Bootcamp has changed Black Tie and me for the better. In the past eight weeks alone, our entire process has changed, evolved and adapted to be there for our buyers. I’ve heard the cry to stop robotic sales and now I offer the same challenge to you: Salespeople, your buyers are crying out for you to change! It’s up to you if you’re going to listen and adapt to help them on their journey.
The next time you have a lead and you’re about to pick up the phone, ask yourself, “Do I know who I’m going to be talking to?” If the answer is “no” then I’m sorry, but you’re leaning towards cold calling and not adapting. Allow us to help you find some warmth in your sales approach.