Over the last eight weeks, I’ve had the privilege of participating with six other companies in Dan Tyre’s “Pipeline Generation Bootcamp.”
It’s an advanced course offering for proven HubSpot partner agencies. Dan is a consummate and energetic sales professional, was employee No. 6 at HubSpot, and remains a key influencer in the world of inbound marketing.
Because I happen to love sales, I was excited to jump in. What I soon discovered was Dan would take me outside of my comfort zone, telling me I would need to conduct what he called “warm calls.” Warm calls sound so much better than cold calls, don’t they? Once I learned warm calls actually include calling people you don’t know, my first thought was this is some serious bull$#*t.
Cold calling flies in the face of everything I’ve learned about inbound marketing. Now a HubSpot OG was dishing me some kind of disguised terminology for what Xerox sales associates were practicing in the ‘80s. Really? We have email, and you know this Dan! Online forms, automated workflows, lead scoring, personalization… It’s everything HubSpot was built on Dan. WTF is going on here?
Note: While all of this is fresh in my head, I’m inviting anyone who is in sales or marketing to schedule a 15-minute call with me. This will be a time for me to listen, and perhaps share more about how HubSpot’s inbound marketing and sales methodologies might apply to growing your business. It will not be me pitching you on our services.
Great Salespeople Do What Others Know They Should Do, But Don’t
Turns out Dan’s a pretty sharp guy. And if I’m being honest, my visceral reaction to “warm calling” was more about the idea of disrupting my comfort zone behind the keyboard. Here’s what I actually learned about warm calls, how they are different from cold calls, and why you should care:
- It starts with research: When preparing to call a prospective customer, few salespeople will spend even a few minutes looking at a company website, LinkedIn profile of the person they are calling (if they call at all), company social networks, news and blog. This is the preparation for a warm call — actually doing a little research, with an expectation of discussing something highly relevant, and even of immediate value-based on your thoughtful observations.
The purpose for your call is establishing a connection, and determining if it makes sense to continue to connect. It is conversational communication that will break down resistance, not a pitch for your services.
- It commences with being authentically helpful: I’m not talking about the “helpful” features and benefits of what you are selling here. Instead, consider something of value you can share right away. This may be some recent research, a quick tip, an offer to conduct an evaluation that yields immediate value with no cost or commitments attached.
You may at first consider this approach of “building trust” to be perceived as an obvious sales gimmick. But here’s the lesson: being formulaic in approach does not mean being sacrificial in authenticity. Set your intent on helping, and that’s exactly what you’ll do.
Successfully helping includes listening to learn. Why? Because you are focusing on another person’s challenges, not what you are supposed to say next. Learning begins with the time spent preparing for the call. It continues through asking the right questions, and listening to identify what’s most important.
- It ends with scheduling another call: Well, not always — but the first conversation should build enough rapport for you to request scheduling a separate, exploratory call. This demonstrates your respect for their time (since you’re calling them out of the blue), and gives you more time to prepare for your next interaction, which is really where you have a chance to shine.
But Wait, There’s More!
The beauty of what I laid out above is that it’s actually just as relevant with other kinds of leads (inbound leads, referrals, previous opportunities and even existing customers). Clearly, you’ll make adjustments based on the relationship — but regularly picking up the phone after preparing for a helpful conversation sets you apart from others knocking on the door.
It’s no wonder my business partner has a sticky note on his monitor that reads, “pick up the phone.” The actual science behind that concept boils down to planning four separate attempts before you throw in the towel. More specifically, a single “attempt” constitutes one email and one phone call — in no specific order. Four attempts per contact over a 10-day period puts you in the prospecting driver’s seat. This is a people game… but it’s also a numbers game, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.
If this post has you thinking more about your own marketing and sales, but booking a time on my calendar feels weird, please consider getting in touch, to quickly share your challenges that I might help answer by email. .