When you buy a hammer, do you throw out your saw? Of course not!
You need to use every tool in your arsenal if you want to succeed — especially in sales.
That’s why phone prospecting isn’t dead just because you have some fancy new AI-powered tool.
In this Takeover episode, host Sanjana Murali from Hippo Video speaks with Tibor Shanto, Chief Value Officer at Renbor Sales Solutions, about why phone prospecting is still the most vital tool for any successful salesperson.
You can pry this phone from my cold, dead hands
Okay, maybe that’s an aggressive subheading, but there is a reason.
For Tibor, the only time a salesperson should stop cold-calling is when they are dead.
Or…if they no longer want to work in sales.
“When do you stop cold-calling? When you want to lose your job as a salesperson.”
And he has a point.
The value of the cold-call
At a high level, you should never stop cold-calling because the phone will not stop being an effective tool for communication — which means it can be used to find prospects, have conversations, and, ultimately, get sales.
That’s not to say it’s the only way.
As we covered in the intro, the most effective salesperson is the one who uses all the tools at their disposal.
So, by all means, use video. Use email. Use high-tech sales robots whenever they get released.
But don’t abandon the phone.
Contacting prospects on the phone has benefits that aren’t always available in other media.
On the phone, you can interact in real-time with your prospects. You can use more than just language to communicate — tone, demeanor, inflection — to widen your palate of communication.
Phone prospecting still works. And it works well.
Who called you Tuesday afternoon?
You don’t remember, do you?
Yeah. Unless it’s a phone call with the worst or best news imaginable, most of us don’t remember.
That’s why, at a more granular level, you shouldn’t be afraid to keep cold-calling a prospect.
Persistence is key to sales success.
Often though, sales professionals worry that they are harassing their prospects when they try them on the phone repeatedly.
But, chances are, the prospects aren’t keeping track with anywhere near the level that you are.
Yes, there is a fine line between harassment and persistence, but you’re often a lot further away from it than you think.
Salespeople: professional interrupters
So, maybe you’re convinced that the phone does work and now you are worried about the knee-jerk objections you’ll face when someone does answer.
Well, you shouldn’t be.
But you should be prepared for them.
And that starts by understanding what your job is on a more philosophical level.
Your business card may read “salesperson,” but, really, you’re a professional interrupter.
Understanding yourself this way is really the key to getting ahead — otherwise, you are going to be losing a lot of sales.
As a professional interrupter, you need to understand that when you call someone, their immediate reaction has nothing to do with you.
“If you’re cold calling, you’re interrupting somebody in the middle of their day. That first reaction isn’t about your message, it’s about the fact they want to get back to work.”
And, particularly in B2B sales, it’s a conditioned response — one that you can’t take personally.
How many cold-calls do you need to get before you become a professional objector?
Well, chances are, your prospects get enough that they went pro long before they ever answered your call.
But their initial reaction is just a response to being interrupted. Your job is to justify the interruption.
That just takes some empathy.
If someone interrupts you, what would make you care about what they had to say?
Figuring that out is how you can start to have a productive conversation.
Avoid wasting anyone’s time
Objections are part of your job. You have to deal with them more often than not.
But you can’t overcome every objection — sometimes, the sale is impossible.
And if you keep trying to sell to someone who will never be interested, you are just wasting their time and, more importantly, your own.
There’s an opportunity cost to wasting time on lost causes.
Still, you don’t want to back out before you’re sure. So what do you do?
You don’t need to — in fact, you absolutely shouldn’t — repeatedly ask “so, you gonna buy? Are you? Buy? Now?”
But you can find other ways to ask:
“Is this conversation continuing to make sense?”
Too often, salespeople corner their prospects and make them feel uncomfortable saying no — but if they aren’t going to buy, that’s just setting fire to the most valuable asset you have…
Leave your product in the car
As we’ve gone over, to overcome those initial objections and move into a productive conversation, you need to justify the interruption.
And so many salespeople get this wrong.
When trying to grab your prospect’s attention in the first 15 seconds of a call, there are a few things you definitely don’t want to do.
- Don’t talk about yourself.
- Don’t talk about your company.
- Don’t talk about your product.
In fact, leave your product in the car.
“In sales, you need to leave your product in the car and go in there with a blank canvas.”
Instead, talk about where you think they want to be in 12 months.
You need to understand their goals and objectives and communicate efficiently how you can help them get there.
It’s not about you, it’s about them.
Every sales conversation you have is a blank canvas.
Leave your product in the car and go in with some paints and some brushes and find out what you and your prospect can paint together.
And if you’ve successfully made the conversation about their needs, every painting will be different, because every partner is different.
But if you go in with a picture of the conversation already pre-painted, then you’ve pre-painted your fate.