Freshly fallen snow on a breath-catching slope, a just-cracked can of something fizzy, blood-pumping cryotherapy: plenty of great things are cold.
So let’s lose the idea that “cold calling” or “cold outreach” is the worst.
Your reps just don’t have the tools they need to succeed.
At least, that’s what we typically find.
Sales prospecting is a powerful way to build a business, and it’s a cornerstone task of sales reps everywhere. They won’t be successful if they aren’t equipped and empowered to get out there in the world and make connections.
And, yes, many times those will start off cold.
So let’s learn how to not be afraid and to be effective.
1. Stop Making it About You/Your Process
Reps are taught how to do cold outreach a specific way because standardization is scalable. Which is great. And important. You can’t run an enterprise sales department without it.
But it’s also important that reps are taught the underlying philosophies of a sales method.
Ticking boxes is what you get at 5pm from the world’s most annoying call center employee. It’s formulaic and most unwelcome.
Blindly following a sequence of scripted or even suggested rhetoric isn’t the key to successful cold outreach.
It’s about reps pulling out of their own perspective and thinking like the prospect:
What’s on that individual’s whiteboard?
By which we mean, what’s important to them?
If, within the first 10 seconds of a cold call, a rep can make a meaningful reference and engage the prospect, they’ve got attention. This attention is rewarded by the Reticular Activation System (RAS) which filters out stuff that doesn’t matter and pulls focus to what does. If they can move forward with putting forth an Other Centered™ Position for why the prospect should continue talking to them, they’re well on their way.
It’s about moving from pushiness to service, an ideological shift that has vast tactical implications.
2. No Templates, More Tailoring
The aforementioned box-ticking is an example of cold calling gone wrong, but a similar dynamic comes in outreach emails and direct messages. Templating is fast. Templating is easy. Templating means you swap out the prospect’s names and rack up a volume play.
But it’s so obvious. And the wiser people get to it, the less tolerant they are of it. Which means it simply doesn’t work.
Just as much care and effort needs to be invested in digital communication as it would a phone call. A rep wouldn’t dare dial up a prospect without knowing a few key points of information (name, title, etc.). They shouldn’t fire off emails, DMs, or video messages without context either.
Stay away from templates and move toward tailoring. Have reps write every email using a simple framework or outline. Even if it says largely the same thing, it will force the brain to say things differently, or at least think through what is being relayed.
Hyper-personalization is so very accessible with the advent of new technologies. To go in cold AND get personal details wrong or ever-so-slightly off has become an unpardonable sin. And online, people don’t serve up a lot of second chances. So train reps to take the time to make it about the prospect… and clearly to the prospect.
Quick poll: do you care if someone misspells your name? We discuss on this episode of the Sales With ASLAN podcast.
3. Be Human
This one goes out to all you robots out there.
When people say “be human,” they obviously don’t mean, “be a human being.” They mean, “be authentic.”
And this is increasingly important in both B2B and B2C contexts. New stakeholders are entering the ring. Generations Y and Z place a higher importance on authenticity and want to have personal connections in business contexts.
Reps need to be willing to build relationships, relating on a human to human level even as they determine whether there is an opportunity.
Transforming a prospect into a lead means a rep has meaningfully connected the dots between what this prospect needs and what the company offers.
When it’s compelling enough, that connection supports further conversations.
The rep has to know what this person cares about and communicate how they would want to be communicated with. It’s not about hammering phones. It’s about igniting a spark that can be fanned into a useful conversation.
Nothing about this is particularly revolutionary, but it’s worth mentioning for one big reason: sales is in a weird season. People don’t like reps much anymore. They’re skeptical. They can do a lot of research on their own. The ability to convey value and be REAL are vitally important traits of a high-performing sales rep. It’s a trait that starts showing from that first call or email, and one that must carry through as the relationship builds.
Cold to Warm: Access™ by ASLAN
These were three quick tips we think are easy to use with reps right away. But, of course, brilliant prospectors have a whole suite of skills that help them forge new relationships.
At ASLAN, we believe prospecting is all about gaining Access, and we have a whole course for it. If you realize that your reps don’t have great prospects to talk with, if your pipeline is lean and your processes are dry, it’s time to dive deep into this. We can help you.
Check out our prospecting training course here: Access™ Delivers Prospects & Opportunities.