Lead Generation: In 20+ years and over 950,000 telemarketing calls along the way, I have uncovered strategies that increase my productivity in B2B lead generation. Of all of these, there are several key concepts to keep in mind that will improve your return of investment (ROI).
The point of telemarketing is to sort the qualified from unqualified and schedule follow-up to those in between, to generate sales. If, when someone asks you what it is you sell, it takes you five minutes to get your point across, you are a likely candidate for the method I will describe in this article. Condensing your explanation into short but compelling sentences in small doses helps hold your audience’s attention. If you can’t get all what you want to say out in six seconds or less, the reality is that selling your product or service will take time. Think of how much time it will take if you have a five-minute presentation and you can only delivery it in six- to 30-second intervals?
The difference between a concept and a widget sale
A widget is a product or service that requires no explanation as to what it is. Examples include a copier or a cleaning service for the office. A concept is a product or service that often requires follow-up explanation for the prospect to understand what it is you are offering. These days that might include cloud infrastructure (which is off-site, virtual data storage), or in some remote areas, the business of “Groupon” (an online company that serves as a buying hub for discounted tickets on various goods and services).
When I make a cold call to a business to generate sales, I know that I have about six seconds to get my point across and solicit an action from my prospect. Especially with the added explanation required in a concept sale it is often difficult to get the point of your concept across in this short amount of time. Many salespeople make the mistake of pushing through a call with their agenda items, not leaving room for feedback from the prospect, much less give the impression a of low pressure approach. Widgets, however, can often be delivered in this amount of time on the phone, as there is no added time needed to offer explanation to generate sales. For this reason, stay simple. Don’t try to put all of your offerings into your sales pitch. A prospect is already distracted when taking your unexpected call. Keep your offering simple by keeping it to one or two items. If you are unsure which ones to pick, follow two rules:
- Lead Generation with the offerings that have the highest probability of the most demand. Once you get in the door to speak with them about one item, you’ll have more time to offer other options.
- Utilize offerings that are in alignment with rapport. If you just met someone, would you ask to borrow their car? Obviously no, but many times people doing B2B lead generation make the mistake of adding in a call to action that far exceeds the trust level established on an initial call. One recent example that came across my desk was a client that wanted me to offer a free, independent scan onto a company’s computer network, which would generate a report for potentially harmful viruses and bugs. Trying to put myself into this scenario as the receiver of the call, I knew that there was no way I would let some random firm who was calling me have access of my network to run a report that I am not even sure is valid. As an appointment setter, building rapport and credibility are keys to success in moving a prospect through your sales funnel—to generate sales. I shared with my client that unless there is an obvious, immediate need initial call offerings and subsequently the prospect call to action should start out conservative and build as the trust increases. Example of conservative first steps are an option to:
- Read through material with follow-up from a sales rep.
- A scheduled phone appointment for a presentation.
- Asking the prospect if there is a perceived fit with your offering and their need either now or sometime in the future.
As you build your connection, you will be better able to assess further commitment, rapport and ability for action from your prospect.
So what do you do when you have a lot to say and don’t have the time to get your point across? The answer is to dissect your sales delivery into easy-to-understand, digestible bites. Instead of a one-time call to qualify, your offering may take an initial call, an email follow up with materials, and then a follow-up call after they have had a chance to review your data. That’s B2B lead generation.
As you construct your sentences, try to keep in mind human nature when called upon to make a quick decision when hurried or distracted. When pressed for time (as we often are) quick assessments and judgments become a tool that we utilize to cut through the clutter. If too much information is laden onto an already overloaded brain, many of us will just shut down and or remove ourselves from the situation. In the case of your prospect this might make sounds like, “I’m not interested,” and a hang-up.
I use the above client example to give you good structure to follow is a three-piece script of only one or two short sentences each:
Script Part 1: Introduction
Hello, I’m Lisa from ABC Company here in Portland.
(Pause–wait for acknowledgement from the prospect.)
We work with companies like _______ and ______ to conduct independent network vulnerability assessments.
Notice that I put the words “pause after the first opening sentence.” Here, I recommend that you resist the temptation to ask, “How are you today?” Even if you were genuinely interested, most people regard this as an insincere, “salesy” start, which might create distance between you and your client. Avoid that split-second judgment altogether and wait the one or two seconds for the prospect to acknowledge you, which implies respect. Silence is not always a bad thing. In this case your prospect is mostly likely trying to shift gears from whatever they were doing to talking with you on the telephone.
Script Part 2: Features and Benefits
We’re best known for our value in offering a comprehensive and nonbiased view of potential liabilities so that you can affirm the effectiveness of your security or take action as needed.
In B2B lead generation, keep features and benefits to one sentence. Any more than this, and your prospect will likely have trouble being able grasp what you are saying, shut down, and just say “not interested.” Remember, your audience is distracted by other things in their working environment, and now you have unexpectedly asked for still more of their time. Your goal is to have them make sense of why you are calling, give them enough to consider, and optimally provide feedback that drives your effort to generate sales.
Part 3: Call to Action
The intent of my call is to see if there might be a fit with our expertise and your needs.
(Be silent now and let the prospect reply.)
At the end of the call to action, be silent and give your prospect a chance to process your delivery. Talking here may create distraction, so just give them time. If they really don’t understand what you are saying, consider sending collateral for them to review and offer to follow up in a week. Do not rely on the prospect to follow up with you, as they still are in a stage of being unaware that they need your product or service.
Read your script aloud
Once you have established what you would like to say, read it out loud, get feedback from others, or record your presentation and listen to the playback. The written word and spoken word come across very differently.
Don’t use industry specific language
Make sure that you speak the same language as your prospects. Be careful to not use words or acronyms that might be only understood in a limited number of industries.
Don’t try to force-feed your prospect
While the ultimate goal is to get your prospect to buy your product or service, you need to take it in steps. Many people go right for the appointment close. Sure that is you trying to get your foot in the door with the decision maker, but everyone else does it this way, too. Remember your distracted prospect? If he or she is fielding calls like this all day, when an appointment comes up at the end of the pitch, they just say no because too many people ask. If you ease into that question first with asking if there might be a fit between your product or service and their needs either now or sometime in the future, you open dialogue. You can gauge if now is a good time for an appointment and ask for one (avoiding finding out there are no needs during an appointment), you might have an opportunity to ask what they are currently using to manage their need. You might get redirected to someone else. The point is to ease into your conversations, not trying to shove all of your agenda items into one or two calls. It takes time for people to know who you are and what you have to offer—they are more likely to accept and engage you in a lower pressure interaction, rather than being force-fed or drinking from a fire hose of information.
At Lead Savvy we offer a compelling delivery of your message: Communicating a new idea or product in the time constraints of a cold call can be challenging in B2B lead generation. Education, awareness and rapport building are all necessary prospecting components to generate sales. Lead Savvy, LLC can identify where a sales cycle begins and where follow up is necessary with each unique company. As appointment setters, we crystallize the succinct details needed to make cold calls, coordinate email campaigns and set appointments.