Remember in part 1 we looked at the buyer-seller dance in action that resulted in you hitting a vacuum between your point of entry and their boss or CFO? We're answering the questions:
- Why do my sales stall when they have to be referred up to the boss or CFO?
- My “Client” Wants to Buy But Has To Convince His Boss. What Should I Do?
One of my favourite philosophers, Bruce Lee was asked “What's the best way to avoid a punch?”
He replied, “Be somewhere else!”
How To Avoid the Buyer-Seller Dance
Your first word on your first call will trap you into the buyer-seller dance. Gatekeepers have a finely tuned “sales call filter”.
“ABC company. Betty speaking.”
“Er! Hello. May I speak to …...”
It's already over. You're toast! She has the cut of your gib and she's about to hit you with the 4 most powerful questions in her arsenal.
- “May I take your name?”
- “Which company are you from?”
- “What's the call about?”
- “Is he expecting your call?”
Pooof! If you get asked these questions, you're vanishing in a puff of smoke but it's still recoverable. But if you answer these questions you're dead meat. You've just hit the runway with your nose. In fact, you blew up in a flash of grinding, crunching metal and probably will never recover.
Isn't it obvious? Whoever is asking the question is in control, aren't they?
Think back to your last 3 phone prospecting calls (if you're anything like me and feel the same way I do about cold calling you probably haven't made 3 in as far back as you can remember, but try. Imagine what it would be like being asked those questions, matter of factly by a persistent and slightly scary executive assistant if you have no real-life frame of reference!)
Didn't your mother often tell you to “Answer my question!”.
Revelation 1: The gatekeeper is not your mother.
Ergo, you don't have to answer her question.
We teach our clients when cold calling to ask questions of the gatekeeper using the voice of authority. It results in about a 60-80% “get past the gatekeeper rate” on a first cold call.
No, I'm not actually going to tell you for free what I charge thousands of pounds to pass on to my clients, but I am going to give you a couple of pointers so maybe you can work out your own strategy. Naturally, I'm hoping you get frustrated enough by not quite making the grade on these calls to reach out and ask me for help. Obviously it'll cost you money. Typically it's going to a lot more than you ever considered investing in yourself, especially for sales training.
Chance to Win a Place at My Cold Call Bootcamp Worth £697+VAT
Taken by an urge to test game theory as a marketing tool, if you are the first person to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the correct structure of the technique I intentionally employed in the last paragraph, you can come on my cold call bootcamp as my guest. All you have to do is make your way to my office on the agreed date and play nicely with the other boys and girls.
We teach our clients to do a “voicemail flirt”. Specifically structured voicemail messages left over a 10 day period which also achieve a callback ratio of 80%. In fact one of Sandler's clients used this so successfully they managed to meet the CFOs of over 40 of the Fortune 500 and all their partners cashed out after selling to Accenture.
So again, ask yourself, how can you use a structured approach that is tailored to your prospects real-world needs using targeted, systematic voicemail to earn you an inbound call from the CEO or most senior decision maker where they are calling you on your terms and complying with your system?
Revelation 2: All prospects eat, go to the toilet, eventually die and turn to dust. No one is impossible to reach. No prospect is on a pedestal.
Take a moment to see their world through your customers' eyes. Take you, your company, your need to sell and pay the bills out of the equation. You are NOT the issue in the sale. Your prospect is.
Who am I trying to sell to?
What keeps them awake at night?
Where do they experience stress?
I like using the acronym PESTLE as a starting point.
L egal & Regulatory
What are they likely to be struggling to overcome or achieve when you explore their lives in these 6 categories. I also like to run them past the high level filter Paul Stolz describes in his excellent book The Adversity Quotient, CORE.
C ontrol – What do they control? What's beyond their control? What excuses do they make? What excuses do they accept from their people? Their suppliers? Their partners? Their bosses? Their customers?
O wnership – What part of the problem do they own? And the solution? Who owns what? Are they being served by the rightful owners or are they being dumped or delegated on
R each – How much ability do they have to respond? Do they only have the reach to address issues immediate to them? Or far away? Who do they have power over? Influence over? No influence over? Where are they powerful? Where are they impotent to control their outcomes or surroundings
E ndurance – What's their tolerance level for their current circumstance? How long can they survive before cracking or complying? Do they have resilience? Do they bounce back? Have they lost their risk appetite from bad experience or do they bounce back like Tigger and keep taking chances?
When you have painted a rich picture of your prospect, his or her life, their days at work, the pressure they are under, the tug of war on their time, the people and departments they interact with and where they face structural or personal tension, the interruptions, meetings, reporting, compliance, compelling events etc you have the basic building blocks for building a buying experience that feels familiar and helps reduce anxiety about man's number 1 universal fear.
So here's the $60,000 question.
Why would a busy CEO or CFO invite you in?
And the $1,000,000 question is what do you have to do to get him to invite you in and stay in his office throughout the sales cycle so he buys without getting shunted to Siberia and getting frozen out?