There’s no sugarcoating it — prospecting calls can suck. No matter how much research you do or how warm the lead is, you can’t control your prospect’s mood, schedule, or level of interest when you call, and the most promising call can quickly go bad if the circumstances aren’t right.
But ExecVision founder Steve Richard has a secret weapon that can make even the worst sales meeting worthwhile to you.
Richard hosts a monthly Call Camp with a rotating crew of sales experts. This past Tuesday, Richard and inside sales evangelist Trish Bertuzzi reviewed five user-submitted voicemails and offered tips on leaving a great voicemail.
At the end of the webinar, Richard shared some of the insights he’s gained from listening to his sales development reps’ recorded calls. He found that some of his SDR’s calls weren’t going that well — the prospects were busy, seemed uninterested, and were generally not open to talking.
In sales, it’s important to take “no” for an answer, when an objection is legitimate. But just because a prospect doesn’t buy from you doesn’t mean they can’t still be valuable to your company as a whole.
That’s why Richard encourages all his reps to ask one simple question when wrapping up a conversation with a prospect who isn’t interested in buying:
What about [our product/my pitch/this call] didn’t resonate with you?
According to Richard, your prospect will respond in one of two ways:
1) Your prospect will tell you exactly what they didn’t find compelling about your pitch.
This is valuable information — maybe one of the central pillars of your value proposition is falling flat with multiple prospects, or maybe you’re just not matching the right value proposition to the specific buyer you’re talking to. Either way, you can take this information back to your team, share trends and patterns, and adjust your pitch accordingly.
2) You’ll get a meeting out of it.
The other possible response is that your prospect will say something like “Actually, the pitch is compelling, but you interrupted me in the middle of my day and I’m not able to focus on this right now.”
Many prospects try to end calls by saying they’re not interested just because they’re pressured for time and they assume you’ll call back. If this is the case, simply let them know you don’t want to interrupt their day but would like to set up a future call so you can be assured you’re calling at a good time. Voila — booked sales meeting.
The takeaway for salespeople is that what might seem like a failure at first can still be a valuable resource to learn and improve. If you listen to the prospects who reject you and give their opinions as much weight as the ones who do buy, you’ll be able to constantly iterate on your sales process and gain a huge competitive advantage.
Have you used Richard’s question in sales calls before? Did you find it helpful? Let us know in the comments below.