There are two approaches you can take in B2B sales.
The first approach is to show up with an air of authority and confidence. You know your value and your time is just as important as your prospect’s time. So when you make that cold call or join the sales meeting, you typically aren’t willing to budge — and you certainly won’t be giving things away for free. This approach works, depending on the industry and the offer.
The second approach is to show up with more humility, and with something to give to your prospect, while asking for nothing in return. You should still have confidence, but this approach requires you to check your bravado at the door (which can be hard for salespeople!). Only once you disarm your prospect with benevolence can you begin to gain their trust and make the sale.
This second approach is what I’m covering today. But don’t get me wrong, 8-figure sales organizations have been built off the back of the first approach (the hard nosed bravado approach). It’s just that the C-suite is getting tired of being steamrolled by entitled and egotistic salespeople. Yes, they want you to be an authority in their space, but they also want you to treat them with respect and even show that respect — or prove that respect — in tangible ways.
Brass Tacks: What This Looks Like in the Real World
Imagine that you’re making 1,000 cold calls this week, or sending 1,000 cold emails.
For the first 500 prospects, you say something like, “Hi Mr. prospect, my name is Matt and I’m calling from X organization. You don’t know me yet, but I understand that you’re the CTO of your company. Look – I have a solution that can put your company on the map. Have a few minutes?”
Nothing about this approach is terrible. You may even ink some meetings on your calendar. But notice how it’s a salesperson-centric approach, and not a client-centric approach. “My name is… you don’t know me yet… I understand… I have a solution…” Also, with this approach you’re competing with thousands of salespeople for your prospect’s time and attention. It’s not optimal.
Now, for the next 500 prospects, you say something like, “Hi Mrs. prospect, my name is Matt with X organization. How are you today?” She might reply in a skeptical tone, “Gooooood, what can I do for you?” And you follow-up, “Great, glad to hear. Well I understand your time is valuable. So I just wanted to introduce myself and leave you with a pretty eye-opening industry report that I put together for you. Can I send that to you? Don’t worry, it’s free, and I’m not asking for anything in return today.”
Chances are she’ll humor you and accept the gift. And that seemingly small gift, which I’ll discuss more below, is your inroad into the relationship. It’s like the trojan horse of the sales world. Only you’re not looking to conquer your prospect, you’re looking to help him or her achieve their wildest dreams… or at least solve a pressing problem in their organization.
Keep in mind that this approach works for all outbound sales activities — whether it’s cold calling, cold emailing, cold DM’ing, you name it. After all, sales is all about breaking down walls and sparking dialogue. In most cases, you simply want your prospect to give you the time of day! And the best way to do that is to offer a gift without asking for anything in return.
Here are some gift ideas:
- Industry report
- Case study
- Website audit
- Video audit
Notice that most of these gifts are digital products. You create it once, and you have it for years to give away. So it’s scalable and repeatable. One and done.
Your prospect may or may not read it. You can’t control that. But you’ve made the gesture. You’ve introduced yourself. You gave them a gift. And you’ve begun to build that relationship. So the next time you talk, it won’t be so cold. And if your gift truly provides value, Mr. prospect is warmed up and ready to go.
You’ve heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Or, in other words, nothing in life is free. And it’s true, to a point. Nothing in sales or business comes with zero strings attached. But look, if your prospect takes the gift and never speaks to you again — that’s fine. You tried to help them, and that’s a deposit into your goodwill and benevolence account. You won’t move every prospect down the funnel. But trust me, your conversion rate will be much higher compared to typical cold outreach.
Works Best in Cold Email
Keep in mind that this approach performs best in cold email. Why? Because when you cold call, and you have your prospect on the phone, it’s often best to book the sales meeting while you’re speaking with them. C-level executives are busy people, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be available to talk again. However, with cold email, you haven’t yet spoken with your prospect, and it’s simple to send an email attachment as a digital gift.
Why This Approach Works:
- Positions you as an authority in their industry
- Gives you a reason to follow-up
- Prospect feels more obliged to have that second conversation
- They get something out of the relationship up front
- Gets your prospect to say their first “Yes,” making way for future “Yesses”
- Everyone loves getting something for free
- Make your gift quick and easy to read in a matter of minutes
- When done right, video can perform better than written materials
- Personalize it as much as possible (just don’t go overboard)
- Follow-up with your prospect within three days
- Engage with them about the gift; remind them you sent it
I’m a big proponent of continually learning and testing in sales to see what works and what doesn’t. And since you’re still reading this, I can almost guarantee you’re like me in this regard. So test this trojan-horse approach and see how it works to increase your sales numbers.
If you’re able to increase your meetings-booked rate from 2% to 20% — or even just 10% — it will totally transform your career and life. These are the gains we need to capitalize on as top-performers in the world of sales.
Now it’s time to get out there and make it happen.
Until next time…