Welcome to this week’s recipe for Sales Development Success!
In case you missed it, last week I shared my three key ingredients for a tasty sales call, check it out here…
But it’s important to also understand how to handle a call that doesn’t secure a meeting.
Because – let’s face it – this is going to happen the majority of the time! Between gatekeepers, voicemails and prospects that simply don’t have the time to speak, the chances are, you won’t secure a meeting every time you dial, no matter how engaging you are.
1. A SPRINKLE OF VALUABLE CONVERSATION
Sales Development Rep (SDR) conversations are often so focused on the outcome of the call that the caller forgets to listen to the prospect. There is such a heavy focus on booking a meeting that gathering as much information as possible from the prospect becomes overlooked. However, this actually limits you from securing a meeting with this person in the future, or even better, a meeting with their colleague now!
From a combination of listening effectively and asking the correct questions you can draw other insights from a prospect conversation, regardless of the outcome. Some of these include:
- Learning the decision makers’ schedule/ upcoming holiday
- Obtaining a new decision makers’ name
- Getting a better number to call back on in the future
- Understanding the challenges and potential for future opportunities
- Obtaining valuable information you can leverage with other contacts
- Disqualifying an account or contact
2. ADD SOME FRESH FOLLOW UP
You may be thinking “getting this information might be a pat on the back for the value of my performance in a conversation, but how does that help me now? I have to book meetings to hit my targets!”
Well, as mentioned, you’re not going to schedule a meeting with every decision maker you speak to. But, it is still important not to throw in the towel on the conversation because you lose faith in securing a booking. Whilst there may not be an opportunity with this specific person, there are other contacts in an organisation who are a potential opportunity. Take a pause and consider further lines of questioning and methods of maintaining the conversation.
The only way to find an alternative opportunity in a conversation is to arm yourself with knowledge. How do you do that? By letting the prospect speak and asking questions such as:
- What are your business priorities?
- What’s the best alternative contact you could speak to, and what’s their direct number? (ask politely if they could check that person’s signature for a number if they say they don’t know)
- Why isn’t this important to you right now? (it may be in the future)
TASTY TIP: Questions involving the word ‘you’ are more likely to keep the audience engaged and responsive, even if the question isn’t about them e.g. “Who would you recommend I get in touch with to continue the conversation?”
3. SERVE UP THE NEXT STEPS
You’ve had the call, learnt some information, but you were unsuccessful in booking a meeting, what comes next? Use the information you’ve learned to start conversations with other stakeholders.
It becomes significantly easier to schedule a meeting with the second, third or fourth decision maker you engage with at an account because now you’ve started to really build up a picture of their current situation and their business goals.
However, don’t forget that it’s best practice to make your next steps clear to the person you’ve had a conversation with, as it sets the scene and justifies any follow-up actions. The most obvious example of a next step is sending across a meeting invite, but don’t ignore other valuable next actions:
- Sending across an introductory email
- Sending over a relevant piece of content
- Looping in their colleagues
- Reaching out to their colleagues instead
- Proposing a call back date (ensure the call back date you suggest is nice and early, worst case scenario is that the prospect pushes it back)
And there you have it, my best advice on how to get value out of a sales development conversation, no matter the outcome. If you would like more information on how to be insight led before you pick up a phone, then join us next time for Kitchen’s Tuesday Takeaways!