One of the greatest feelings for sales people is receiving an email from a prospect that confirms a meeting. This is especially true when a prospect from one of a sellers’ target accounts, ideal buyer personas, or just someone they’ve been trying to get in touch with for a while says something like:
“More than happy to talk, send an invite for Tuesday at 2.”
“I’m interested in what you have to say, does tomorrow work for you?”
The first instinct, especially for sellers earlier in their careers, is to send a calendar invite, enter the interaction into the CRM, and celebrate a win! While all of these actions are important, this misses a critical step that can significantly improve the chances of the meeting converting into an opportunity: calling the prospect immediately after receiving the email message.
Sales leaders may balk at this notion from an efficiency standpoint; after all, if your salesperson just got a calendar appointment with a prospect, why should they call them? It’s a waste of time, it might irritate the prospect I would rather have my sellers reaching out to another prospect!”
The answer is simple: information.
The more information a salesperson has on the prospect going into a sales call, the greater chances of success that call will have. No matter how adept a salesperson is at doing research online, they can’t figure everything out without asking questions. A one sentence response over an email from a prospect doesn’t provide much of anything – the only exception being at the top of this post.
The type of information you want to uncover when you speak to a prospect after they agree to meet varies on several factors like own industry and company, however, there are some best practices on the information salespeople should strive to gather.
On the phone, after confirming the date and time of the scheduled meeting with the prospect, sellers should ask them a series of three to five questions to better understand what they are trying to achieve on the call. The questions sellers create should be focused on what specifically from your solution they are interested in, what are they trying to fix, accomplish or avoid, and if they are in an active buying cycle or just curious in learning.
By uncovering this information, sellers can better prepare for their planned call, know exactly why the prospect took the meeting, provide better value, and convert opportunities at a higher rate than if they did not call them. The prospect may be surprised at first, but if your questions are insightful, they will ultimately appreciate that the seller is preparing for the call and will have more confidence that the seller won’t be wasting their time.
If the prospect doesn’t answer when you call them, no worries, send them your questions over email. Granted, not every time the prospect will respond to your questions, however, for the ones that do, success rates for those meetings will significantly improve and more than justify the effort.
Additionally, if the prospect does not show up to the call, the information gathered after the initial meeting was scheduled can be leveraged in them to get a meeting back on the books.
Tell your sellers: the next time they get a meeting through email, immediately pick up the phone and ask the prospect a few questions – you will be amazed at how much the meeting no-show rate will decrease and how many more of your teams’ meetings will convert into viable sales opportunities.
Want to train your team in proven prospecting techniques? Check out our comprehensive guide to sales prospecting, based on an analysis of 100,000 sales calls.