The unexpected sales calls you make to buyers as a part of your job are not the same as the annoying calls you get at home.
Most sellers try to relate to what the buyer may be feeling about their call. But it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Unexpected Sales Calls: Misconceptions
1. We’re Just Like Robo-Callers and Telemarketers
From our own experiences, we liken the unanticipated sales calls we make to the ones we receive at home from auto-dialers and telemarketers with highly generic offerings. Those are interruptions that provide little or no value because they’re irrelevant to what we do and not connected to what we're thinking about or working on when the call comes.
This is not a valid comparison. In B2B selling, the people we're calling are engaged in work that's directly related to what we have to offer. They’re already thinking about and interested in what we can provide. The problems we can solve for them are problems they need and want to solve.
The buyer’s sentiment toward your call -- cold or warm -- depends on whether you:
- Come prepared with relevant information
- Avoid reading from a cookie-cutter script
- Use context
- Ask quality questions
When we come prepared with relevant information, we provide value. When we ask purposeful questions, we create value by making people think and assess their situation. When we keep our focus on our buyers’ needs, we become valued partners in helping them solve problems.
2. We’re Invading Their Space
Calling people is rude or pushy -- right?
Sure, if you're unprepared or conducting irrelevant fishing expeditions, that's not very considerate. But if you can help someone, it would be rude NOT to call. If you have a solution to a problem they want to solve, calling until you get through and get a chance to demonstrate your solution is the right thing to do.
It's not pushy unless it's unwanted. Buyers want real and relevant solutions. So make it real and relevant!
In our research with buyers, we get an earful about the behaviors buyers want to see more of from sellers and the behaviors they resist. Buyers don't use words like "pushy" or "rude" when sellers engage in ways that bring value. Instead, they use words like "trust," "partner," and "resource" when sellers call with stimulating questions, a desire to help and relevant information.
3. We’re Just Going to End Up in Voicemail, So Why Bother?
Some will say that leaving messages is a waste of time. I don’t agree.
Each touch with a buyer is a reminder that you are thinking of them and interested in doing business together. People want to connect with others who extend themselves to demonstrate commitment and interest. Voicemails can do this.
Recently, a coaching client vented about a buyer who felt shortchanged by the service she was receiving. In the buyer’s mind, the seller didn’t call often enough to check on her satisfaction and additional needs. My client’s response was to defensively say “I call her every week, but she never answers the phone!” Soon, it became apparent that he seldom left messages. So how was she supposed to know he was calling?
It’s no different with prospects. At any stage of the buying cycle, voicemails let people know you care.
Be the Value Your Buyer Needs
The best advice I can offer? Understand the value of YOU. Value doesn't come from your product or company alone. YOU are the ultimate value.
Inbound or outbound, when you connect with buyers, you can create value out of thin air. Doing that requires focusing on the buyer and what they need. Aiming to discover and deliver what's of value to them will make your call one they appreciate.
To Create Value, Stop Selling & Start Leading®
There’s a gap. Sellers behave one way. They behave the way they think they have to if they are to make a sale. But buyers would prefer that sellers behave differently. Buyers want sellers to shift away from stereotypical sales behaviors. They want us to more frequently display leadership behaviors.
These behaviors, all based on research with buyers and research about effective leadership, are what make you most valuable to buyers. These behaviors are what make your unexpected sales calls worth taking. To differentiate yourself and create value out of thin air, be sure to use a behavioral blueprint for sellers based on buyer desires.