Some quick thoughts about prospecting after being away from the phone..

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People are sick to death of hearing about 'improve your google results' 'get more sales and leads online'. You can hear the visceral disgust in the business owners voice if you even mention their website.

They get way too many calls about it and it's almost always positioned this way. Speaking about it like this may have worked like, ten years ago, but not anymore. Not at all. When I'm selling content I don't even mention their website, or Google, or anything related to internet marketing. The name has such a bad rep in the business community I won't even go there with people.

Another thing I've been doing is sending a cold email first before I call. Then I'm just 'following up on an email exchange i've been having with XYZ' according to the gatekeeper. Plus, it builds some form of relationship before you phone them, which makes the call warmer.

I usually send one email, phone, then send more info over before closing the deal over email again. Selling this way just makes sense to me.

Most of my time now is spent researching and gathering emails, and responding to clients who I've emailed. I suppose I'm being more strategic as opposed to tactical in how I approach things, and it's working for me. So I'm pleased.

Prospect selection really is most of selling, and I owe that insight (among others) to Claude Whitacre; one of the realest sales coaches I've learned from over all my years in selling.

So how are your calls going? Do people still come here for that stuff?
#phone #prospecting #quick #thoughts
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post


    Prospect selection really is most of selling, and I owe that insight (among others) to Claude Whitacre; one of the realest sales coaches I've learned from over all my years in selling.
    That caught me by surprise. Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post

    People are sick to death of hearing about 'improve your google results' 'get more sales and leads online'. You can hear the visceral disgust in the business owners voice if you even mention their website.

    if you want to generate business by networking (When not actively prospecting) ...or just meeting people anywhere....here is what I did that worked extremely well.

    I asked what they did, they would tell me. Then they asked what I did (this is when I was selling my local online marketing service) and I would say "I provide leads and sales to business owners who already have a website".

    Here's why I said that...
    1) if they weren't a prospect, it would just sound like a normal conversation. It didn't sound like a pitch. And they would just say "That's great" or change the subject. But they wouldn't ask another question about it.

    2) If they were a prospect, they would ask either "Why do I need to already have a website?" or "How do you do that?"

    Why did I include "Who already have a website"? Because that was the objection I heard all the time. I didn't want to hear..."We already have a website"....because now I'm chasing them...which I never want to do.

    So I would turn their reflexive objection into a condition they had to have to hire me.

    When I was selling vacuum cleaners in people's homes...they would ask "What do you do?"...I would say "I sell high end vacuum cleaners, but only to people who already have a vacuum cleaner".

    Why? Because I used to say "I sell high end vacuum cleaners" and they would automatically say "We already have a vacuum cleaner"...and it would end there.

    My statement was designed to sound like an actual conversation, and it prompted a question from them. It would take two or three questions (selling anything) before I would start saying anything besides answer their questions.

    Never bring up their defenses. Never sell by arguing.

    Anyway, I hope that helps someone. This method works very well in gatherings, especially events that people paid to attend. A three day marketing event would usually get me a few clients...just from these random conversations in the halls.
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    • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
      Just wanted to chime in to thank you for this. These few paragraphs feel more useful/actionable to me than than entire courses/books on the topic!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jamell
      Excellent analogy .I picked up on a few tips just by listening to your response
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Feldman
    To add an element to Matthew's information...Make sure you have a gameplan/checklist of what you want to convey to the person on the other end of the phone. As well as, make sure you get to your ultimate outcome for that call. ie do you want them to schedule follow-up call/s, do you want them to look at follow-up email/s you will be sending, etc.

    These 2 factors alone, when executed, will get you to your desired outcomes much quicker.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    A strategy I've used for many years to generate B2B leads is to attend business seminars and trade shows wearing media credentials. At first I made my own press credentials for my niche blogs, but as articles were published in relevant magazines I was able to get official press passes from event organizers. Companies attend at least partially for the publicity, so a good "journalist" can usually find out who all the major players are and their contact information.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    Thank you for sharing that, Claude. That is genius. I remember you sharing this awhile ago, must have forgotten it or didn't see how it could also be used over the phone. I'm going to use this in my prospecting calls and see how it goes!

    It could be the way I come across. Many business owners became hostile towards me when I mentioned a digital marketing service which usually never happens. It wasn't like that when I was selling websites over the phone six or seven years ago. Things have changed from my perspective.

    My guess is that so many salespeople have phoned them with the same pitch and positioned the product in the same exact way that people have developed a reflex to reject cold callers selling online marketing services.. One guy on the phone said something similar to this not too long ago: "Look, my ads are with Yellow and I know I'm probably being ripped off but I'm just sick of being called about this. Okay?!"

    On the other hand, I get no aggressive push back when selling my content writing service which I do through email and cold calling (I avoided wording it as "content marketing" deliberately). But this could be a matter of how the service is perceived as opposed to what it actually does.

    I'll also note here that there is very little selling involved when I offer content to businesses. It's partially a matter of who I'm targeting, certainly, but I do think that by not going down the Features Advantages Benefits route when talking about the offer that I actually make them more likely to buy. Again, these are educated prospects that already buy or have bought a considerable amount of content in the past. I just happen to be there and people seem to tolerate me. What I do do though, Claude, is listen and probe for that one reason for why they will buy from me and then show them how I can give them what they want. I don't remember when you first wrote that, (maybe it was in one of your books?), but since then I've become very aware of it and see it in almost every sale.

    Just yesterday for instance I phoned a prospect who was already working with a marketing agency. He mentioned briefly that he thought I could offer a more personalised service than his current supplier. That was his reason for buying. For the rest of the conversation I asked questions lke, "what would a personalised service look like to you?" and "why is that important to you?" expanding then demonstrating that I'm capable of doing just that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post

      Thank you for sharing that, Claude. That is genius. I remember you sharing this awhile ago, must have forgotten it or didn't see how it could also be used over the phone. I'm going to use this in my prospecting calls and see how it goes!

      It could be the way I come across. Many business owners became hostile towards me when I mentioned a digital marketing service which usually never happens. It wasn't like that when I was selling websites over the phone six or seven years ago. Things have changed from my perspective.

      My guess is that so many salespeople have phoned them with the same pitch and positioned the product in the same exact way that people have developed a reflex to reject cold callers selling online marketing services.. One guy on the phone said something similar to this not too long ago: "Look, my ads are with Yellow and I know I'm probably being ripped off but I'm just sick of being called about this. Okay?!"
      Yup. I own a retail store, and every day I get between 10-15 (no exaggeration) calls about a website or promoting my business online. Most are Robo-calls. It's by far the most common offer.

      Your post contains a brilliant idea that many haven't considered.

      Sell what they are used to buying. If you are going to cold call them, make an offer that they re used to saying "Yes" to.

      And offering to build a website is an offer that every business owner is used to saying "No" to.

      I do have to say this....Cold calling is the hardest way to get new customers. It's the fastest way, when you're new...but it's also the hardest. You have soooo many hurdles to overcome.

      You seem to have some brains. My advice is to get interviewed. There are lots of podcasts for every niche. There are people on Youtube with lots of subscribers...that are desperate for the next person to interview. Those are the people I would call.

      Just Google Podcast lists. And do a Youtube search for a keyword in your niche. In a week, you could be talking to an audience of thousands. It's my main way of selling today.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
        Originally Posted by kelly jhowse View Post

        How do you find those emails from?
        I use two chrome extensions for finding emails. Hunter.io and Email Finder. I then match up who the marketing manager is using Linkedin from the email syntax i.e. name.lastname@company.com, or fullname@company.com - whatever it may be. Both tools crawl pages to find emails similar to how Google indexes the web.

        Once you have those emails, it pays to verify them with a tool such as this to reduce bounces.

        If you choose to cold email businesses, there are laws that you must abide to. In my country I can send unsolicited emails under an inferred consent clause, which basically says that I can email companies with an offer that is relevant to them, and that their email must be publicly available somewhere.

        The next step is to setup your domain. I recommend having a separate domain that's used for sending cold emails, because you don't want the address you use for communicating with customers to be put on a blacklist, which could happen if enough people report your messages. So you could register a domain with hosting such as yourname@yourbusiness.email, and use that.

        It pays to warm up the address first, slowly scaling up your volume, otherwise your messages won't go through, keep your messaging consistent. 10-15 a day is a good start, then 16 a day, 17 a day etc until you are emailing hundreds of people.

        I also recommend using a cloud tool such as Mailshake or Klenty for sending these campaigns. They give you analytics as well as automates follow up messages. It's basically a CRM for cold emails. Plus, once you are emailing a large list, you can then reach out to the people over the phone who have opened your messages or clicked links to resource pages or in your signature, so you can focus on the people who have engaged with your content first.

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Yup. I own a retail store, and every day I get between 10-15 (no exaggeration) calls about a website or promoting my business online. Most are Robo-calls. It's by far the most common offer.
        I figured as much! 10-15 calls a day, gosh.

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Your post contains a brilliant idea that many haven't considered.

        Sell what they are used to buying. If you are going to cold call them, make an offer that they re used to saying "Yes" to.

        And offering to build a website is an offer that every business owner is used to saying "No" to.
        I can say this is 100% true, which is why I scrape my list first with an in-house tool to find common blog directories such as /blog/ or /news/ before contacting them. List cleaning is a pain, but we've found ways to skip past rows in Excel that don't have a website listed, or the website is down, or redirects to another domain.

        I know for sure these people either spend money currently on content, have done in the past, or have done done it themselves. This helps immensely in terms of conversions.

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I do have to say this....Cold calling is the hardest way to get new customers. It's the fastest way, when you're new...but it's also the hardest. You have soooo many hurdles to overcome.

        You seem to have some brains. My advice is to get interviewed. There are lots of podcasts for every niche. There are people on Youtube with lots of subscribers...that are desperate for the next person to interview. Those are the people I would call.

        Just Google Podcast lists. And do a Youtube search for a keyword in your niche. In a week, you could be talking to an audience of thousands. It's my main way of selling today.
        I'll admit that I don't know any better in regards to generating new business. I've only ever called businesses, dropped into their premises (which I no longer do), or had the occasional referral.

        What I like about it is that you can scale it by simply sending more emails or making more calls, and you can do business with anyone in the English speaking world.

        Public speaking was something that I had considered doing years ago but never got around to doing. But I do definitely see the value in coming onto podcasts or Youtube videos, especially since those same videos can be used in our marketing.

        But then again public speaking scares me.
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  • Profile picture of the author JPs copy
    People hate prospecting, and honestly, so do I. But it's a necessary evil. You can't just sit and wait for business to come to you. It's like dating. You have to make the first move.
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by JPs copy View Post

      People hate prospecting, and honestly, so do I. But it's a necessary evil. You can't just sit and wait for business to come to you. It's like dating. You have to make the first move.
      Really? When dating do you cold call random women...?

      Though I do agree - prospecting is a lot like dating - similar principles...
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  • Profile picture of the author kelly jhowse
    How do you find those emails from?
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  • Profile picture of the author hsvdm
    Turn off the enthusiasm is a great way.
    Most salespeople have been taught to show lots of enthusiasm on the phone, but that approach will sabotage you right out the gate. Instead of laying it on thick with the enthusiasm, tone it down and try an approach that's genuine and relatable. Use a soft, quiet voice when you greet the prospect, and you'll start setting far more meetings.
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