As the saying goes, sometimes the heaviest thing in the office is the phone. I, like many other agency owners, am always looking for ways to find more business. The one thing we had never done consistently, or well, was prospect over the phone. The thought of calling a complete stranger and interrupting their day to tell them about our services was dreadful. This is when I decided to apply to HubSpot’s 8-week Sales Lion Bootcamp, with Dan Tyre. I knew there had to be a better way of going about this.
Now, having recently graduated from the program, my perception of prospecting has done a complete 180. The thought of picking up the phone and calling a stranger is no longer scary, it’s actually fun - and effective. Below is the framework I learned and have been working off of since completing Dan’s bootcamp:
My ‘Sales’ Experience
My first, and only, experience prospecting over the phone, or cold calling, was 18 years ago, in my first real job out of college. Each morning, I’d walk in to find a list of 125 companies, prepared by my manager, with the expectation that I’d call every single company - every day. That’s an expected 625 dials per week?!? I also had a script given to me on my first day, and it was expected that I’d follow this precisely. The calls were fast, unresearched and sloppy, resulting in frustrating conversations and poor results. I hated the script. It was as if my own voice, tone and personality were being micromanaged. It was awful. And, speaking of micromanaging, did I mention they tracked the number of times I picked my phone up, my average connect %, my average talk time, and the average % of my calls that resulted in a meeting. I literally had a report I had to sign off on at the end of each day confirming my numbers. Needless to say, it was a brutal experience and it forever tarnished the thought of cold calling in my mind.
Going into Dan’s bootcamp, I was reluctant. I couldn’t help but recall my previous cold calling experiences, and I was hoping this wasn’t going to be a repeat. I should have known better. No more than 10 minutes into Dan Tyre’s bootcamp, I realized this was going to be different. Dan had a framework that was logical, helpful and well-thought-out.
Rather than print a list of 125 companies to burn through, Dan’s framework starts by identifying the companies you want to prospect. I started with 25 high quality leads I wanted to connect or reconnect with. Some of the companies in my list were old leads that went cold or deals we lost.
Success is 99% Preparation, 1% Execution
Once I had a list of contacts identified, I would research each lead and company. I’d check out the contact's social profiles to see if we had anything in common. I’d run the website through HubSpot’s Website Grader tool, I’d use the Wappalyzer app to see what software they’re running, and I’d spend time on the site looking for opportunities to improve results. All of which would give me talking points or free advice to give. Doing this research ahead of time gave me a lot of confidence going into the call, and it showed the contact I wasn’t a typical salesman and this wasn’t another typical cold call. In fact, I had an important reason to call them. I had tangible research and advice to help their business, for free!
My call framework went something like this:
This is Matt Walde, the Founder and CEO of AdVision, a Denver-based growth agency.
[PAUSE X 5] - (it’s awkward, but so important, not to speak until they acknowledge you!)
Thanks for picking up the phone.
I’m on your site now and found a few opportunities I wanted to share that would increase the volume of leads you’re generating.
[PAUSE x 5] - resistance
Ugh, it doesn’t sound like you were expecting this call today. I can assure you, I’m no salesman. I’m simply calling to help. Would it be okay if I took a few minutes to share what I found?
[RESISTANCE - WHY?]
Positioning statement #1: We help (companies like yours) who have invested significant time and money in their web presence, but are frustrated by the lead generation and client acquisition metrics it’s producing.
More times than not, our partners have tried various tactics like Google Ads or SEO to raise awareness, but the minute they didn’t see results, they quit. Everyone wants a system that produces leads and sales. Everyone wants a competitive advantage, but most people just don’t know where to start.
Does this sound at all familiar to you?
If Yes - Tell me more?
If No, next positioning statement.
We also work with a lot of savvy SMB’s who have invested time, money, and effort to provide high quality leads for their sales team, but they don’t seem to close quickly enough.
Do you ever feel this way?
If Yes - Tell me more?
If No, next positioning statement.
Many of our Partners are motivated business owners like you who are frustrated that they can’t track the ROI of their sales and marketing activities and generally feel disappointed with the overall result.
Does this resonate with your situation?
If the person opens up - start a general business conversation:
- How do you typically generate leads today?
- How are your marketing and sales teams structured?
- How important is your website in your growth strategy?
It sounds like you may have a few challenges we can help with.
Can we schedule some time to dig a little deeper on these issues? I’m hearing that you may have some pain around lead generation and new customer acquisition. If we can fix these issues and help your sales team by generating more qualified leads, is this something you would consider?
When scheduling a meeting, I used to mention that I would get a meeting invite out immediately after the call. Now, I create and send the meeting with the contact on the phone to ensure they receive it. This new behavior has led to less confusion and more attended meetings. Once the initial meeting has been confirmed, I simply fall into our regular sales process.
Dan’s Sales Lion Bootcamp taught me prospecting can be fun. By researching your contacts ahead of time and finding opportunities that can help their business, you’ll gain the confidence to pick up the phone and call. After all, you’re calling with good news - you can help them. Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, initially, it always feels good to give someone free advice. At best, you schedule a meeting and open the door for a partnership opportunity. Worst case scenario, you don’t get the meeting, but you leave someone with valuable advice they didn’t have prior to your call. Either way, time well spent if you ask me.