Here at Method, as a growth agency, we all have to wear several different hats. As the founder, I probably have them all: from beanies through to trilbies! I have to handle our lead generation, staff management, plumbing, job management, sales and Friday flapjacks.
For the purpose of this post, I’m going to be wearing just the one hat, and that’s my sales sombrero. Without sales, you don’t have a business. You could have all the leads in the world, but without a clear sales pipeline, your business just won’t last.
As a HubSpot partner, we had the opportunity to take part in Dan Tyres Pipeline Generation Boot Camp. We should never be complacent, and as such I dived in, happy to learn and improve our sales pipeline with Dan. If I’m truly honest, I wasn’t sure how much I would learn, but “oh baby” was I wrong!
After an intensive 8 weeks of amazing sales strategy, I wanted to share my top 7 tips and how you can improve your sales pipeline today!
Tip #1 - Stand Up and Smile
When speaking to anyone on the phone, standing up and smiling can make those first impressions count.
When we smile, we don’t sound like a traditional sales agent. The automaton-sounding robotic voice disappears and we sound like an old friend - someone you want to talk to. Don’t believe me? Test drive it on a colleague: get them to close their eyes and say to them - “Hello, would you like a coffee?“ - once with no smile, then with a smile. You’ll be able to hear the difference immediately! Even if you will then be on your way to the hot drinks machine.
And - try standing up. It not only increases your step count for the day, but you will talk with more enthusiasm and this all helps to build rapport.
Tip #2 - Pause
Your prospect has a lizard brain: put yourself in their shoes. You have just got off the phone, you’re finishing off an email that needs to be sent by 10am, Steve from accounts wants to have a word before you leave for lunch, emails are pinging and desktop alerts are going off. There is a lot going on. You are phoning and breaking their concentration. The least you can do is not throw a ton of information at them at 100 miles per hour!
Start with, “Hi John, this is James from Method,” then pause (up to 20 seconds - it’s not easy!) allowing them to Rolodex you. Their mind has to put the brakes on what they were doing and take a moment to remember who you are. It might be they know your company, or you from LinkedIn; whatever it is, give them a second - or 20.
Tip #3 - Help
This is key to connecting with your prospect, and the goal to opening up. You're not calling to sell - we are better than that, we are calling to help! You should know your buyer persona, so in turn, we should know what trouble they are having. We are trying to solve this prospect's problems.
Tip #4 - Don’t cold call
Cold calls don’t work. We have all had them, and we know within the first 5 seconds that we are on one. They make us cold. Remember we are here to help, so first, research your lead and make sure you can actually help them, not bother them. Find out where they are from, their job title, maybe their last photo on LinkedIn, and look around the company website. When you can connect to your prospect and relate to the problems they might be happening, they will listen.
Read more on cold calling in Paul’s blog - Everyone Hates a Sales Cold Call
Tip #5 - Practise
During the course, we had to make over a 100 calls in 8 weeks. After that many calls, you start to learn what you're doing right (or wrong), but you also learn that with the right research, and when you position yourself to help, people will talk to you.
Start by saying your opening line, “Hello, I’m James from Method" [pause], 100 times. By the time you finish, you will know how to say it in a way that feels right, and you will be confident in your delivery.
Tip #6 - Actively Listen
I found this hard at first, as I wanted to dive in and solve the problems, but the key is to keep asking ‘why’ and let them open up. This lets you get you to the root of the problems by finding the prospect’s pain points and opening up how you can help them remove them. Feedback lines like, “Can I just confirm I understand what you are saying…” not only helps you fully understand but also reassures your prospect that you are listening and you get it.
Tip #7 - Call Back Lost Deals
Here is the icing on the cake. The one that could get you a deal in the next 24 hours.
How often do you call back qualified sales leads that you didn’t win the business from? My guess, never. This is crazy: these companies were happy to work with you, and you had qualified them as a good fit. So give them a friendly call! See how they are getting on with the project, or check in to see how they are. You will be surprised how many new opportunities you can get from this simple tactic.
Before you forget, jump into your calendar now and pop two recurring events, one every 3 months, to phone closed lost leads. And another every 6 months for current customers who have been quiet.
Then find a suitable time for you on my calendar, so we can have a chat. We love to help with your digital marketing, and now you have your sales team hyped up and ready to roll, let’s improve your lead generation!
Look forward to talking soon!