Last week we kicked off the 12 Days of Christmas with some timeless cold calling wisdom. To recap, each day so far we focused on just one of the principles or strategies outlined below. They included:
- Master Your Mindset
- Focus on Inputs
- Be Cordial but Confident
- Build Relationships
- Don’t Pitch Anything but Time
- Sell to Your Buyer’s Wallet, Not Yours
And today I’m sharing six more hard-hitting strategies to put into practice. These run the gamut — from how to speak to prospects on the phone, to sales models, and even what to do with newfound success or crash-and-burn failure.
Let’s get started, continuing with Day 7.
Day 7: Talk Less, Listen More
Chances are you talk more than you should on your cold calls and/or in sales meetings. It’s only natural to start gabbing when the nerves hit. Plus, we can think our eloquence will win the deal. It won’t. Remember the 70/30 rule — you should LISTEN 70% of the time and talk only 30% of the time. Not speaking but listening gets your prospect to open up and share information, and information is intel. Let your prospect put their cards on the table. This is a top strategy in sales.
In the same vein, be sure to embrace silence. Let’s say you ask an insightful question and your prospect starts talking; now don’t go filling the silence when they pause. Let the prospect collect his thoughts and continue. A slow pace of conversation is actually a good thing, as most people don’t expect this from SDRs and salespeople. They expect us to talk fast and be pushy. So we flip the script and capitalize on the opportunity to hear our prospect spill their proverbial guts and tell us exactly what they want/need.
Day 8: It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re not educated enough, smart enough, or unable to effectively articulate your thoughts. This is sales! In sales (and in life) persuasion is all about tonality. It’s how you speak and the energy you transfer to your prospect that matters most. I’ve spent years working on my tonality, and today I’m able to play with rhythm, pitch, volume — you name it — to keep my prospect engaged and really along for the ride. A confident tone with a healthy dose of passion can warm the heart of just about anyone. And when you change hearts, you change minds.
Day 9: Put Prospects into a Sales Sequence
When you Google cold call conversion rates, chances are you read something like “only 1 in 100 cold calls are effective” (<1% conversion rate). Well that’s because most SDRs dial once and give up! And news flash — the one-and-done cold call doesn’t work. After all, studies have shown that it takes an average of eight touches before you can even have a conversation with a prospect. That’s where the sales sequence comes in. You can schedule an eight-touch sales sequence so that every few days you reach your hottest prospects. I recently wrote a full post on how to build a multi-channel sales sequence. Highly recommended reading! This is what separates the wannabe salespeople from the pros.
Day 10: Track and Measure Everything
How many calls did you make last month? How does that compare to the calls you made the previous month? How many conversations did you have yesterday? What is your set rate (meetings set)? What does the pipeline look like today? Look — if you want to improve, you have to track and measure your key metrics. By doing so, you’ll identify your strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this knowledge, you can train the “muscles” that need to be trained so you become well-rounded in all areas of outbound sales. Far too many salespeople skip leg day, and it shows.
Day 11: Never Celebrate Early
You’ve seen videos where a runner or cyclist is about to cross the finish line and they slow down in celebration of their victory. In the last second a competitor swoops in to claim the prize. When you celebrate too early in sales, you risk letting the deal slip away. But let’s say you do close a big deal, is it time to take a trip to the Bahamas? I argue NO. It’s time to stay hungry. Celebrating spontaneously breaks your rhythm, kills momentum, distorts your long-term vision, and allows for your competition to gain ground on you. That’s why I’m a big advocate of pre-planned celebrations twice per year.
Day 12: Learn to Fail Forward
Even the best cold callers in the world don’t make 100% of the shots they take. And the average salesperson “fails” more often than they succeed. Failure is part of the sales process — there’s no getting around it. But it’s how you interpret the failure and move forward that makes you great at sales. When you get hung up on, when all you’re hearing is “No”, and when you can’t seem to fill the pipeline with qualified leads, do the following to fail forward in sales:
- Identify the main problem/obstacle
- Learn your weaknesses and identify blind spots
- Create a simple action plan to overcome the obstacle
- Implement your plan with consistency
- And once you’re doing the above, give yourself grace (nobody’s perfect)
The new year is right around the corner, and it’s up to us whether we’ll charge into Q1 like a lion on the loose, or cower in like a frightened gazelle. As for me and my team, we’ll be gunning for the top of the food chain. It’s how we’ve wired our minds.
So what do you want next year to look like? I can almost guarantee that if you follow these 12 cold calling principles and strategies, you’ll outperform every salesperson on your team and potentially the industry. You’ll make a real impact on your bottom line and the world as a whole. Just remember, mastering your mindset is the first item on the list for a reason. Focus on building a winning mindset and everything else will start to fall into place.
Until next time…