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5 Rules To Go By When Reaching Out To A Prospect For The First Time

Margarita Yepes

Whether it’s an inbound lead thrown your way from the marketing team,  someone you’ve identified as a potential prospect, or a new account you’ve been introduced to, there comes a time for you to make that first phone call.

Just as “you only get one chance to make a first impression”, your first interaction with prospects is key - you’ll need to establish trust, provide value, gather insights and secure a follow-up call or meeting.

Taking on that initial conversation without being too “salesy” is no easy feat.  Here are 5 rules we ride and die by for building a great rapport from the first conversation. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of them - these rules help us build B2B prospecting call campaigns for our clients and are all inspired from our favorite High-Profit Prospecting!


1- Your prospects don’t care about you!

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We’ve all been there - it’s time for your first phone call. You quickly do a spot of research and prepare some talking points. And yet,  right when the prospect picks up, you jump into talking about yourself and how wonderful your company and product are.

Don’t fall into this trap! Your prospects didn’t ask you to call them and interrupt them with a sales pitch.

Get right to the point of why you and your prospect need to connect on a quick call. Put prospects at ease by showing interest in them and their needs, and finding a way to provide value. Focus on their needs first, it will help you solve your needs in the long-run.


2- Your initial contact must be beneficial - to the prospect!

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The first interaction with prospects should be all about them, not about what you want to sell. Typically prospects just want to know the benefits, cost, and what the caller needs. They want a short and productive call — and so do you.

Be brief. Explain how your solution can specifically help the prospect, use benefit words and metrics that quantifies the benefit. Can you give them a special offer, or introduce them to an expert to help them solve their particular pain point? See this as an investment in building a long-term relationship.


3- Don’t data dump!

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While it’s impressive that you can articulate and explain all 120 features of your product, it serves no purpose in the first conversation with a lead.

To avoid data dumping, master the following:

  • GET information before you GIVE it
  • Use need development questions to check a prospect’s level of interest
  • Use trial closes likes “how valuable would that be for you?” 

4- Your goal is a first date

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When you make contact with a lead, you want to accomplish two things 1) Find out at least one piece of information about them and 2) build trust that can be leveraged into a second call or meeting.

Here are 3 ways to help you get that first date:

  • Referral/connection: name dropping (well-known company, competitor) to peak the lead’s interest

“Hello Paul, this is Mark from Acme. [Your competitor] doubled their conversion rate with the call prospecting campaigns we built into their sales strategy program. Would you be available for a brief call so I can show you how they achieved this?”

  • Key insight/information: share data or insights that could impact or interest your lead  

“Hello Paul, this is Mark from Acme. I have the new POS regulations and how they will specifically impact your company.”

  • Value statement: make a power statement about something, and ask for their input.

“Hello Paul, this is Mark from Acme. Companies like yours are growing sales by automating the call channel together with the marketing channels they’re currently using. How is your company doing this and has it been fruitful?”

No matter how they respond, be prepared to capture something -  a call back date, insight into their team structure, or a pain point that you can use as the foundation for your next touchpoint.

Test each of these techniques until you get comfortable with all three, and figure out which one gives you the best results.


5- Keep yourself accountable with CRM

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Research shows the top sources of new business are organic search, SEM/PPC advertising, and word of mouth referrals. That means that 80% of your business depends on your sales reps’ ability to connect with prospects and secure meetings.

To improve your sales team’s accountability, leverage CRM reports to track all interactions with prospects: the message, the number of times they’ve been contacted, the channel used, and the number of sales opportunities generated.

Even better, integrate your sales call channel into your marketing workflows to trigger calls automatically every time a prospect interacts with your website or your content, with all call notes and data logged and viewable from within your CRM.

Now that you have made your first contact, don’t forget to follow-up!

 

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