Lessons from the Sales Trenches
In today’s blog I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned in my two months on the job:
The Initial Call
Always check someone’s LinkedIn before you call them. The things you look for are (in order of importance):
a) Mutual connections
c) Work History
Try to find some sort of common ground between you and the person calling. If you have a mutual connection, that’s a perfect ice breaker when and if you do get them on the phone:
“Hi my name is Darcy Carroll from Ward Technology Talent, how are you doing today?”
“Pretty good, yourself?”
“Good! Hey I noticed on Linkedin you’re connected with Allan Smith, how do you guys know each other?”
You have no idea how successful that little exchange can be. The person will be much more receptive to working with you if you share some sort of connection.
Ultimately, the goal of a cold call is to get the person talking. Information is gold in sales. Because even if you don’t get a job order/meeting right away, knowing a lot about the particular person or company will help tremendously when you follow up with them in 3-4 weeks. If you don’t have any mutual connections, then look at the person’s education, as going to the same university or high school also acts as a good opener.
Being a salesperson is all about developing relationships with your clients. That’s why you’re initial exchange is so important. It is planting the seed [insert Seth Rogen’s ’40 year old Virgin’ joke here] of, hopefully, a prosperous business relationship.
The Importance of Saying the Right Thing
Choosing the right word, or the right combination of words can be the difference between generating the sales lead or hearing the click on the end of the line.
Always try to keep your questions open-ended. This is especially true if the person you’re talking to doesn’t seem that engaged with the conversation. If you give them a question that they can answer with Yes or No, they will definitely say no. But if you ask them a question that’s more open-ended, the person will usually give you some good information. Again, information is golden. Here’s an example of the difference:
“Are you guys having any difficulties with hiring?”
“What’s your biggest pain point for recruiting?”
“Oh well, we’ve had a really tough time finding an Android developer.”
It’s only a subtle difference, and both questions are asking the same thing, but the second approach gives you something to work with. So, as a general lesson, use the words how and what in your questions, as it gets the person talking.
This should be obvious, but getting people to laugh on the phone or in a meeting significantly increases your chances of success. I have never met someone who doesn’t like to laugh. Here’s an example of me using humor as an opener on a cold call:
“Hi my name is Brad Pitt from Ward Tech Talent, how are you doing today?”
“Hi! Is your name really Brad Pitt?”
“Yeah! After World War Z, I thought the next logical step in my career was working for an IT
From there, the person usually puts their guard down, and it is much easier to ask them what you really want to know.
Even though my position is that of a sales guy, I think these lessons can be applied to multiple different scenarios in a wide range of jobs. On that note, thus endeth today’s blog. I don’t think I’m a sales expert by any means, but I hope you can take something away from my experiences. And as always… thanks for reading!
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