Although many have claimed cold calling is dead, the only thing that’s gone by the wayside in the sales department is the idea of single-channel prospecting. Today’s sales leaders know the importance of moving prospecting to multiple channels.

Establish a daily routine on social platforms to find, educate and  authentically engage buyers. 

This doesn’t mean your sales representatives should abandon their prospecting calls. Far from it. Instead, sales professionals should be encouraged to engage in these five behaviours before they pick up the phone.

1. Use Other Channels

A common mistake sales professionals make is to use the telephone as a first line of defense. While there’s something to be said for the cold call, the fact of the matter is it is increasingly difficult for sales people to get through to prospects using the phone.

Around 80 percent of calls go to voicemail, and a scant 10 percent of first-time voicemails are never returned. The vast majority of decision-makers say they don’t answer calls from sales people.

It’s a much better idea to warm up your sales leads before calling them. In fact, sales professionals who use a multi-touch approach achieve higher levels of success. The most common strategy is a combination of email, phone, and LinkedIn.

2. Use Video

In your multi-touch prospecting strategy, you have the ability to reach your prospects in new ways. Video is one of the best additions to any prospecting strategy. People are more inclined to look at graphic information. In fact, around 70 percent of buyers are watching video throughout the entire buying journey.

Around 60 percent of business respondents said they’ll watch video before reading text. Video in your social media strategy is also effective. Around 65 percent of those who watched a video will visit the business’s website.

3. Rehearse and Prepare

Sales professionals continue to struggle with prospecting calls, and one reason may be they’re just not prepared to make the call. Most sales professionals are unprepared for a call to go to voicemail, even though such a high percentage of calls end this way. The representative thus leaves a poorly thought-out message, and there’s no compelling reason for the decision-maker to call back.

Your sales representatives can avoid this common pitfall by preparing and rehearsing. They should employ some of the same techniques they use in conversation as well. They should be prepared to build value and create urgency. They should be aware of the prospect’s pain points as much as possible.

4. Personalize the Message

You’ve likely encouraged your team members to craft personalized sales emails and to curate content for individual prospects. Why aren’t they doing the same for their prospecting calls?

It’s important to have a formula for conversations and messages, but the content needs to be customized for each prospect. Otherwise, it’s likely the prospect won’t respond to the call, whether the sales representative leaves a message or engages them in conversation. “Ditching the script” will make sales representatives seem more human and relatable. It allows them to build value as they work with prospects one-on-one.

5. Make Use of Free Prospecting Tools

Technology has made multi-touch prospecting strategies possible. It’s also created a number of different tools to assist in the prospecting process for your sales teams. Many of these tools are also free.

While many prospecting tools are designed to help with email and social media sales outreach, you can make use of some of them for your prospecting calls. For example, some tools allow you to track who has stopped using your competitors. This is incredibly useful in ensuring you’re contacting the right people at the right time.

Overall, adopting a routine is one of the most important steps your sales teams can take. They should engage in social selling activities each and every day. Teaching them how to conduct prospecting calls more effectively, including using these pre-call behaviours, will help them on their road to sales success.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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