Sales candidates, types of sales jobs, cold calling is hard.
Matt's LinkedIn Posts Q4 2018
‘Twas the week before Christmas, without a sales rep on the floor.
No SDRs were stirring and the AEs were out the door.
The CRM was up-dated and pipelines were full.
The team was ready to head into next year like a bull.
But the sales managers yelled, make calls anyway.
Even if you feel like, it’s a big waste of your day.
Happy Holidays, Everybody!
If you’re starting out in sales, don’t feel like you need to have all the answers at the beginning. The best thing to do is focus on absorbing the information being thrown at you during training. Make sure to ask questions so you can develop a strong understanding of what you’re selling.
She picked up my cold call on two different occasions over the course of a year. She was the VP of Digital and her company was the perfect prospect. They were unaware of our technology and all I had to do was explain how it worked so she could understand the value, I failed both times.
In our first conversation, I was able to get past the brush off and explain there was an alternative technology available to her current process. She expressed pain points and said “call me back in 6 months, nothing can happen until then anyway.” I agreed.
Six months went by and I called her back, emailed her, no response.
I kept calling periodically, three months later she picked up.
She started by saying, “I appreciate what you’re trying to do Matthew but we really don’t need your services.”
I reminded her that she was unaware of our technology and that it could be a solution to the pain points she had previously mentioned.
Grudgingly, she again put me off for another few months.
I quit that job a month later (unrelated).
The technology I was selling would have saved this company thousands of dollars and a ton of time.
They may never know.
Stop stopping. Today’s outbound sales strategies are dominated by cadences that usually have one thing in common. They end.
Guess what? The decision makers you’re calling on know that too.
I believe cadences are fine as long as you follow these two rules:
1. The cadence only ends once contact is made.
2. Never harass people.
There are a lot of different sales positions out there. Just because you didn’t like one doesn’t mean you won’t thrive in another. I’ve dabbled in a few sales sectors (not all), here’s my unofficial guide:
Business-to-Consumer: B2C includes cars, real estate, home improvement, retail, technology, investments, etc. Selling to consumers has its up and downs but if you find something to sell that you’re passionate about you might find a great fit.
Business-to-Restaurant: B2R includes food & beverages, professional services, technology, etc. Selling to restaurants can be tough. In order to gain new customers you’ll typically need to get in front of owners and win with a pitch. Big personalities thrive in B2R.
Business-to-Doctor: B2D includes pharmaceutical, medical, technology, etc. I’ve never sold to Doctors but Duane Miller says “I love selling to medical groups, they need a lot of help and really appreciate when you help them and their patients”.
Business-to-Business: B2B includes professional services, goods, technology, etc. Selling B2B is complex because you’re navigating a company’s decision making process. The most successful reps are effective at identifying decision makers and conveying their company’s value.
When evaluating Sr. sales people I want to see at least one job in their work history that lasted longer than 3 years. Five or more years (or multiple extended stays) puts that person at the top of my list. Here’s what I don’t care about:
-If they’re unemployed.
-If they have a college degree.
-If they flew the coup on a few companies along the way.
-If they have industry experience.
-If they’re reentering the workforce.
-If they failed as an entrepreneur.
Most people underestimate how difficult it is to get a next step on a cold call. It’s the equivalent of hitting a 95 mph fastball.
Of course, for professional baseball players it becomes routine turning a blazing pitch into a frozen rope. Most of us would be lucky if we even made contact.
The same goes for professional cold callers. When you’re succeeding on the phone converting meetings can become a daily affair.
But there’s a learning curve for everything.
Much like a professional baseball player had to repeatedly practice to put wood on a 95 mph fastball, a sales person has to invest time in order to become a pro on the phone.
When you’re fighting for a big deal as a salesperson there’s no second place. It’s either sink or swim.
Right before you hear the final decision, the rush of excitement can be overwhelming.
After you get the deal that excited feeling usually doesn’t wear off until the following Monday.
For me this is what makes sales one of the most exhilarating professions that you can choose.
If you like working really hard and then being able to celebrate each victory for an undetermined amount of days.
Sales might be the profession for you.
Cold calling to the right level decision maker is serious business, suggesting that a rep needs to be smiling is counterproductive.
B2B sales people should be making targeted cold calls trying to communicate their company’s value information. When they can accomplish that, they should definitely smile.
In 2016, I made over 2500 targeted cold calls to high level decision makers at major corporations. During the 2nd half of the year I became efficient at getting decision makers to understand the value behind the technology I was selling. Very rarely did I have a smile on my face.
I wasn’t smiling because my concentration level was as high as it could possibly go. In order to accomplish my goal, I needed to hear every word they said and how they were saying it. After they spoke, I needed to be razor sharp with my reply so they would have confidence in what I said.
When people say you should smile because it shows through your voice, my response is simple. All the executives I spoke with a few years ago, couldn’t have cared less if I was smiling. They wanted to know why I was calling, right now.
In sales, it’s usually just a short statement that will capture the interest of a decision maker. Of course, different prospects may require different statements. Once a sales person understands the reasoning behind these statements, they’re well on their way to becoming a great rep for their company.
Simply put, the reasoning behind the statements is the foundation of what makes your company special. It’s all those things that at the end of the day force decision makers to continually choose you.
Cramming that into a statement is not easy but it should always focus on the prospect’s needs. i.e. “My product will provide you with a significant cost savings because…” “Our technology will improve your company’s communication with customers by…” “My company’s service will increase your revenue by…”
If you don’t know these statements for your company, it’s probably not your fault.
But it’s time to find out by asking some questions. I’d start with the company’s best reps.
It’s time, time to roll up the sleeves and make some cold calls. It’s that part of the day where you’re probably going to feel a little uncomfortable.
Nobody would describe cold calling as a glamorous part of sales. Most sales people don’t look forward to it, including those who’re really good. It’s probably the hardest part of our job and a majority of the time it’s disappointing. But it’s still worth it.
Not just because of the meetings and demos that you set. It’s worth it because you get a chance to tell prospects what your company can do for them. You actually get an opportunity to SELL.
No misinterpretations, just good old fashioned conversations.
Pick up the phone.
You don’t have to smile.
8 reasons why you should never hire your buddy.
1. There’s a really good chance they’ll be terrible.
2. After they ride in on their high horse, they’ll likely clash with others and subsequently treat everyone like crap.
3. Since they think you’re BFFs, they may feel untouchable and provide little effort.
4. How they act around you is how they’ll act at work.
5. Any sign of catering to your best bud/new hire and you could lose the respect of your team.
6. Eventually they’ll be reported to HR and you’ll have to explain why you hired a person with an irrelevant background.
7. They might fail the drug test.
8. In the end, you’ll probably lose a friend or maybe even your job.
I’m preparing myself to make cold calls for my new company, Subroot. The technology isn’t quite ready but I’m practicing my opening statement over and over so I can be ready the day we launch.
Practice to cold calling is what practice is to basketball, public speaking, painting, badminton, development, gaming, soccer, accounting, hula hooping, ice skating, snowboarding, cooking, carpentry, hang gliding, bowling, break dancing, gardening, ghost busting, acting, negotiating, taking selfies, etc, etc.
If you want to be REALLY GOOD at something then you must practice. Cold calling is definitely NOT the exception.
Here are some ways to practice:
1. Repetitive script practice.
2. Mock cold calls using REAL objections.
3. Live cold calls.
Keep learning and calling, it will get better.
Dear Sales Candidate:
There are two reasons why a company hires a new sales person.
1. They’re growing. 2. They’re dying. Try to pick the first one.
Some companies hire sales people because they have to fill a territory or vacancy. It’s always a good idea to try and find out why the previous person left but don’t let that be the deciding factor. There’s a good chance you’re better than them.
Some companies hire sales people because they acquired capital and now they’re supposed to grow. Most funded startups don’t meet expectations but that shouldn’t affect your individual performance or income. If you believe in the product/service and the leaders, don’t be afraid to ride the funded startup train at least a few times. It might just take one.
Some companies hire sales people because their current sales team can’t keep up with all the opportunity. You should take this job and ask them if you can start tomorrow.
Thanks for reading, please share!
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About the Author
Matt Wanty is the Founder of Subroot and the Author of The Lost Art of Cold Calling. Recently launched Subroot is the latest sales tool to help reps reach more prospects and build a bigger sales funnel. In addition to writing a book on cold calling, Matt regularly shares posts on Linkedin, His sales content on cold calling, sales career, SDRs and more has been read by millions of sales people around the world. Sign up below to receive Matt’s content directly to your inbox.