Blog/Preparation is key to effective calls with new clients

If you have any experience in sales, you must know that calls are a big part of this job. From all the daily activities a salesperson tends to, I’m always eager to run a call. I keep trying to master this art to perfection, since I believe it’s key if I want to succeed as a salesman.

Let me tell you about the crucial factors in transforming you into a demo call ninja. We’ll start with laying the foundation for your calls in cold-emails, before you even pick up the phone.

So you’re sending out a cold-email campaign, with a goal to schedule calls with prospects – which is a big challenge.

The foundation – scheduling calls with cold emails

At RightHello, we help our customers get more leads through email marketing campaigns, and that’s also the main channel for our own lead generation. Tons of cold-email campaigns taught me that I simply have to convert emails into calls.

From my experience, if you’ve exchanged over 6 emails and you’re still not on the phone – there’s a 95% chance of failure.

A lot of clients prefer to keep e-mailing, but this limitation only leads to both sides never fully understanding each other.

What usually happens is that you exchange a few messages and think it’s going in the right direction, but the clients enthusiasm dies out and, at some point, the conversation dies out as well.

It has probably happened to you before. It’s like trying to start a fire with a keyboard. You might get a few sparks, but not much more than that.

55698201

If you don’t want negotiations to get stuck, you need to suggest a demo call as soon as a prospect shows interest in your offering – it has to be a part of your routine.

Here’s what you can do:

1. End intro cold-emails with a CTA(Call-to-action)

Your introduction message should always end with an invitation to a Skype/phone call. Obviously for this to be effective, the entire structure of your mail needs to intrigue the recipient. That’s why you only highlight your offer as opposed to writing all the information. You’re planting seeds of interest, calling later on is like watering them.

Mention how much time you need to get your point across, it will make you look even better. So a simple CTA would look like this:

What do you say about a 15 minute call to check if we could help you?

2. Adding CTA’s to your follow-ups

I handle a lot of situations when, despite the CTA in the introduction, prospects want me to provide more information(about the process, pricing, etc.) via email. That’s cool, unless it lasts too long. If you’re facing such a situation, deliver what they want, but kindly imply that he would benefit more from a call:

Is there anything else I could clarify? Of course I kindly invite you for a Skype/phone call to talk about the details – please let me know if it’s possible.

3. Just pick up the phone and start dialing!

If nothing works and you’re spending half your day emailing one client, leaving others waiting in your CRM – find his number (email signature/website) and surprise him with with a call (don’t use Skype for this!). 

You might explain that you wanted to save his time – you need only 10-15 minutes and he’ll get his most important questions answered. 

When it works, it’s because everyone says they’re very busy (people tend to exaggerate, we all do it sometimes), so saying that you want to save them time makes this a win-win situation. If you pick the wrong time at first, just ask for a different time slot to call them.

4. Make use of Calendly (or a different appointment scheduling app)

It might turn out to be extremely helpful in setting-up meetings. You just neet to send over a link to your calendar, where prospects can write themselves into empty time slots during your week.

The majority of these tools automatically schedule a meeting in Google Calendars for all participants. We’ve been using Calendly for a while and I have to admit that it makes scheduling very efficient, I seriously recommend that you try it out.

Types of calls

I use a lot of different ways to connect with potential clients. A specific approach to different methods helps me engage prospects, regardless of which medium they prefer.

There are upsides and downsides to all of them:

Mobile phone

PHONE

Office phone

office phone

Skype/Hangouts

skype

**pro-tip: Chinese firewalls block screen-sharing. Some say Google Hangouts are better than Skype, it’s up to you – a plus is that Hangouts automatically generate a link when your meeting is scheduled via Google Calendar.

Other tools, similar to Skype and Hangouts:

  • GoToMeeting, WebEx, Join.me
  • helpful when organizing and managing your calls agenda
  • pretty decent but not as mainstream as Skype, your clients (especially in Europe) might not have a clue about using them
  • they are pretty common in the United States, so use them if that’s your target

How to prepare yourself before a call

Once your call is scheduled, you need to research the client you’re gonna call, to learn a bit about the person and the company.

I would start by exploring the prospect’s (and his company’s) website and social media profiles. You have to know the other person’s rank (can he/she make buying decisions?), plus if you find something you have in common in social media, you’ve got a great conversation starter. 

If you reach someone too low in the company, negotiating takes much longer and the final decision maker might not receive (or simply misunderstand) all the information about your offer.

Way too busy to prepare? You could use Charlie App (charlieapp.com). It’s integrated with Google Calendars, so whenever you have a meeting coming up, Charlie provides a briefing on the person you’re gonna connect with – basic Twitter and Linkedin info, recent updates, attended events.

Video Call tips&tricks

I already told you video calls are my favorite way to connect, and I have a lot of experience doing it. Here’s some helpful advice to make this method more effective, and give you more self-confidence.

  • Find a quiet spot – microphones in computers/mobile devices are usually very sensitive. You need silence so the other person won’t get distracted by noise. Distractions wreck your call flow, and when that happens it’s hard to get back on the right track.
  • Keep the camera on! Without it, there’s no difference between Skype and a mobile call, maybe except lower sound quality on Skype. Being the first to reveal your face will encourage other people to do the same.
  • Keep it presentable – We all allow ourselves to be a bit messy every now&then, but negotiating via a video call can’t be one of those times. Remember, you’re trying to make an impression, every little detail counts, so remember to clean up your surroundings. Think about putting up motivational posters on the wall behind you, we have some from StartupVitamins and a few created by ourselves, people see them and ask about them.

righthello.hackpad.com_CY0FEZj2GAq_p.246693_1436799063423_lio11

  • Outfit/good look – oh yes, this really matters. If you work at a start-up, you don’t have to wear an elegant suit on a daily basis, but a jacket or a shirt won’t kill you. Don’t worry about this if you look like Ryan Gosling, but most of us aren’t models since birth so make sure you dress well.
  • Brightness – we found that video-calling from a well-lit place makes a huge difference. Whenever you can, let the sunlight in because natural light works best, or just turn on the lights. You’ll look better and more trustworthy than with a shade covering half of your face. I just took 2 selfies using my laptop cam, which version of me would you trust more?

righthello.hackpad.com_CY0FEZj2GAq_p.246693_1436859500589_webcam-toy-foto5

righthello.hackpad.com_CY0FEZj2GAq_p.246693_1436859760008_webcam-toy-foto6

I know you like the second one better, where I opened the curtains and turned on the light. Lighting is crucial.
 
  • Tone of voice – some say it’s one of the most important weapons for salespeople – and I agree. You have to practice it all the time though. The basics of speaking to prospects are to make sure that people can hear you – ask for feedback and try to find a sweet spot where you’re not yelling or whispering. Moderate it, change it to match your stance on various subjects (excited about something? Let it show through the way you talk). Stop using filler words, even research says it’s bad for you. Additionaly, listening to top, fluent speakers and asking close ones to correct you are both great ways that have sped up my progress significantly.
  • Body Language – be focused on the prospect all the time, try to maintain natural eye-contact, maybe not like this…
 
overly_attached_computer
But look into your camera often, so the person feels like you’re looking them in the eye. Don’t look around or play with anything. Sit up straight on your chair, keep showing that you’re listening, and don’t forget to smile. 🙂
  • What do you do when the quality of the connection is going bad? – the most possible reason for that is an unstable internet set-up. Try to reconnect, if that doesn’t work you should probably turn off the camera. Using another device might be helpful as well (use your laptop, have your smartphone ready if there are any problems). If it’s still laggy and you run out of options (even rebooting your router doesn’t work), you’re gonna have to switch to a phone call.

Summary

We’ve covered preparing for calls, from the moment you add CTA’s to your cold emails to picking the best way to connect. Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions or comments.

 

This is the second part of my “Anatomy of a Sales Call” mini-series. You can check-out parts 2 and 3 here:
First sales call with new client
What new clients need after first sales call

Thanks for reading! Just want to let you know that you can now subscribe to RightHello’s first ever, 4-day email course –Hacking Business Growth