How To Start Calls During COVID-19 With Lauren
Lauren Bailey is president and founder of Factor Eight, The Sales Bar and Girls Club. She is Top 25 Most Influential Leaders in Inside Sales, Top 25 Sales Coaches, Top 35 Most Influential Women in Sales, and Top 50 Keynote Presenters” this year. She is on a mission to help more people feel confident and successful at work.
How should you start a sales call?
This COVID19 pandemic made a huge change in every business. When it comes to sales, some of your prospects might hang up on your sales calls. Lauren has shared with us a few quick tips on how to make an opening call and engage a prospect.
A swift intro always helps!
A great introduction is always short. Our introductions need to answer who we are, what do we want and why should they care? But right now selling during the pandemic, we have to add an important point. Why should they care right now? Why should they take your call right now? One of the biggest mistakes that we see in sales called introductions is that people immediately are leading with a pitch.
The swift intro is all about adding value in those first couple seconds of the intro and we start with their names, then our name in an abbreviated version because we need to fit this in 10 seconds or less.
Ask these 3 questions right after your intro
Three swift questions should be asked followed by swift intro. The questions should be connected to each other to engage prospects and to show real care toward them. In this pandemic, the question should be like:
- Is everybody’s still working from home?
- How many folks in your team?
- How’s that been going?
Nail that sales pitch
The next step is to concentrate on the third goal which is the sales pitch. 1st goal is to introduce yourself and 2nd goal is to establish a human connection by asking the follow-up questions. That is a tremendous opportunity. Finally, the third goal is to pitch based on the scenario. It slows down your sales cycle, but it will work better if we keep it focused on the goal of building a relationship.
To build a good relationship, don’t go for formal talk, share something personal with your prospects and allow them to feel comfortable to be open up. But most of the salespeople don’t do that. That is why Lauren teaches how to reframe the pitch to create empathy in this situation. She conducts the team engagement and development program.
3 punches of team engagement & development (Meeting, training, call coaching)
She adopts three punches for this program. Generally, if a leader wants to re-strategize the outreach, it’s going to start with a meeting. But Lauren gives less emphasis on this part. She emphasizes training than a meeting. Training takes three or four times longer than just a meeting. It allows people to dig in and share their experiences, get their hands dirty or roll up their sleeves with the content they might role-play.
A meeting is one way. Training is always two way. Now the third step of the three punches is to do some focused call coaching on these messages for the period after the training. This is where they engage their managers to follow up, to listen to calls, to give feedback along the way.
AMA with Lauren Bailey
The following is excerpts from the AMA session with Lauren.
How do you respond to “we’ll get back to you later”?
A: “So the best thing we can do to overcome this brush off is to reengage the contact. We want to get them talking so that we can learn about what’s happening and have a chance at least to sell. So the idea of getting over a brush off is to pivot and get them to start talking.
Any tips on how to start small talk if you are speaking to CTO or CEO, what topics one can talk about without sounding casual?
When you’re dealing with a high-level decision-maker, the last thing they want to hear about is your product features and benefits. What they are willing to talk about is their business, their strategy, and industry trends. It’s one of the best things ever to do during any time to talk with a decision-maker about industry trends and how it’s affecting them. That helps you sound knowledgeable and it’s a conversation they’re willing to have.
How do you go about making sales calls when most people are not ready to buy in this situation?
The first tip is to segment your list. Let’s be smart about who we call, who’s getting busier right now, who might need your product and services, and be ruthless with yourself. Come up with three lists. These people, they’re in trouble. They don’t want to hear from me right now. Respect that these people might need more. Then when we are doing the outreach to them, set a different goal.
How do you handle a call when the audience has no questions and there is almost zero response?
If we’re doing a one to many, like a webinar or a demo or something like that and you say, any questions? It’s the worst thing in the world to hear crickets. Don’t talk for 30 minutes straight and then ask for questions because people probably have tuned out when you’re trying to engage people, you need the interaction throughout.
So set the expectation upfront. Hey, I’m going to be asking people to come off mute. Hey, I’m going to be asking you to chat in along the way. Let’s say now after you’ve talked for five or six minutes, you pause and say, okay, everybody, here’s a question. Start with an easy closed question and have them chat or respond to it.