Sales prospecting can be challenging even for the most experienced salespeople, but that doesn’t have to stop you from making meaningful connections with potential clients. For Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), prospecting requires a lot of resilience and creativity. For sales leaders, you have to know how to empower your team to show up and perform efficiently.
When it comes to sales prospecting and leadership, confidence is key. Vendition brought together a panel of sales experts – Tyler Lindley, Brooke Bachesta, and Sean Pailhe – to share how they approach sales prospecting with confidence-building tips to heat up your outreach.
Read on to learn their top prospecting tips from our How to Prospect Like a Boss live event and watch the full replay for more!
Sales Tip #1. Face Your Fears and Start Cold Calling – It Gets Easier
Everyone who is new to sales prospecting and cold calling has fear, and that’s okay! Do it anyway. Our panelists admitted that when they started cold calling they had a variety of fears. Tyler was afraid someone would actually pick up the phone; Brooke was afraid her mind would go blank, while Sean was afraid he would be called out for not knowing the answer to a technical question.
This is all natural, and there are a few ways you can work to start overcoming those initial jitters.
Brooke suggests having a list of go-to questions on standby to turn to if you’re fumbling. Tyler suggests breathing and playing a hype song to get in the right mindset prior. Sean reminded us that, “Lots of our fears are unfounded. You never conquer your fears, but you learn how to manage and mitigate against things and that confidence goes a long way.”
Through consistent research, prepping, and practice, cold calling will become easier and more comfortable. Tyler says to build familiarity with the process by continuing to do it over and over again so that you get better at nailing that important cold call intro. In his words, “You do all this work to start a conversation. You better be ready to have it once you get your opportunity.”
Sales Tip #2. People Buy From People – Not Scripted Sales Robots
Ah, sales scripts. To use them or not to use them? Here’s the thing: Nobody wants to engage with a robot, and you’re more likely to resonate with prospects when you let your humanness shine through. Of course, it’s crucial to hit your key messaging, but don’t be so locked into a script that the conversation loses its flow. A script is best approached as a framework.
While all our panelists agree that having a basic understanding of what you’re going to say is good, there’s a few different approaches you can take depending on how you work best:
- If you struggle with the beginning of the call, create a script verbatim for the first 30 seconds of the call, complete with “ums” and “ahs” so you know what you’re going to say, then switch to your active listening skills to continue the conversation.
- If you want to make sure you don’t forget what you need to get across, try bullet-pointing the main ideas or concepts you want to cover.
- If your mind goes blank on what to ask, have a list of prepared questions on standby to keep the conversation going.
Brooke says it’s important to give people an example of what a great script looks like, but trying to box them into a word-by-word delivery isn’t going to result in an authentic human discussion. She adds that, “A good call typically has these components to it: Did you make an intro and let them know why you’re calling? Do you have at least two to three questions lined up and a follow up question? Do you have a story you can tell them and a clear close?”
Live Coaching Example: To see three different cold call opener strategies in action, head to the webinar recording at the end of this blog and tune into minute mark 33:00 where our panelists rise to the occasion with a fun roleplay on how they would pitch to our Vendition CEO if they worked at a swag company!
Sales Tip #3. To Get Noticed, Be Creative in Your Prospecting
Gone are the days when sending a few generic emails will get you the results you want. Don’t be afraid to try video messaging, SMS, or other creative avenues. Lean into different methods and focus on building consistency to learn what works best for you, then double down on that.
Our panelists shared a few suggestions to help get your creativity flowing when prospecting:
- Prepare to be yourself and bring your authentic energy, enthusiasm, and confidence into your role no matter which prospecting methods you practice. This cannot be automated. For example, if you’re a comedian, leaning into cheeky openers may resonate well in your cold outreach, whereas a non-comedian won’t find success copying your strategy.
- When video prospecting, do it in ONE take. Unlocking creativity is not about overthinking and recording the perfect video – it’s about having the courage to send imperfect videos and keep moving. Consistent practice is what builds confidence and ignites new ideas.
- Showcase that you’ve done your research beforehand by tying in relevant information from your prospect’s LinkedIn and making a connection to a common personal interest.
Sean suggests that being creative can also extend to outside the box methods like sending somebody a Cameo, which is a personalized paid video featuring a celebrity or public figure.
Consider this: If you are having trouble reaching the prospect, but you learn on their LinkedIn that they are a big fan of a certain sports team, perhaps they’d respond to a video from a key player on that team saying ‘Hey, call Sean back!’ This creative method clearly requires a budget that not everyone has, but can be extra useful when strategically targeting a large enterprise.
Sales Tip #4. If It’s Not Relevant, It’s Not Worth it
Go beyond personalization and make sure that your content is relevant to your prospect’s specific needs and interests. How many times have you gotten an email you ignored because someone pitched you on something that had nothing to do with your role or interests?
It happens every day. But it shouldn’t. Tyler says, “It’s easy to be personalized. I could come up with 100 things to personalize. But can you make it relevant to something the prospect will care about? Make it about them. Make it through the lens of something they might care about, because that’s what is likely going to start the conversation. If it’s not relevant, it’s not worth it.”
All to say, people aren’t going to take a meeting because you regurgitated something basic from their company website or name dropped a competitor in your outreach; they’ll take the meeting if you showcase that you understand their business, what they currently do in their role, and care about their actual challenges. You can create a sense of familiarity by sprinkling in relevant information in a more nuanced way throughout and finding a through line to continue the chat.
Sean says, “A creative way of prospecting is to start out by giving information to them that you know is relevant, and not ask for anything in return. On a second, third, fourth step, maybe you ask for a meeting, maybe you ask for an interaction or answer to a question, but if somebody starts providing you value, that’s pretty cool if it’s relevant to you.”
Sales Tip #5. “I Don’t Know” is a Valid Response
It’s important to understand that you won’t know the answer to everything as a sales rep, and that is perfectly fine. Sean says, “100 percent hard and fast rule – don’t try and answer something you don’t know the answer to. Don’t give a false answer because that does do damage to your credibility.”
The key is to get a sense for why the prospect is asking a certain question, and to assure them that you can point them in the right direction to get that question answered. By asking clarifying questions, you can get extra fodder to understand what is actually important to this prospect.
When asked something technical you don’t know the answer to, buy yourself a few seconds while you’re freaking out internally to say something like, “I’m so glad you asked about that. I’ve been doing some digging into that myself,” while your mind works. If you blank, the momentum is gone. Acknowledging the question is important in keeping the flow.
Live Coaching Example: To see this in action, head to the webinar recording at the end of this blog and tune into minute mark 49:15 where Tyler participates in an on-the-spot roleplay of how to respond to being asked a question you don’t know the answer to! Spoiler Alert: He knocks it outta the park.
Sales Tip #6. Take Care of Yourself – Time Management Matters
It’s all too easy for salespeople to be busy but not productive, making time blocking effectively an important element of being successful. This doesn’t mean pushing yourself to meet an expectation of peak performance around the clock, but rather recognizing when it’s time to walk away from a task and return with a mindset that will work for you, not against you.
Our panelists shared some great ideas for how to build time into your schedule for self care and prioritizing your mental health:
- Start your day successfully by doing whatever you do that gets you ready to rock-n-roll before you’re on the clock so that when you hit the desk, you’re firing on all cylinders. This could mean drinking coffee, exercising, reading the news, whatever works for you.
- Schedule time on your calendar with specific activities and goals in mind – and include notes so you know the purpose. Having visual time blocks can be useful not only for tasks like research, writing, and calling, but for taking a quick walk to re-up your energy.
- Identify the toughest tasks for you to complete, like prospecting, and do them earlier in the day when you’re fresh. As one of our panelists shared, from the words of Mark Twain, “If you have to eat a live frog, do it first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”
Tyler says that after you’ve put in the hard work, “Take it easy. Eat the candy. Do that hobby. Hang out with your family or friends. A lot of people would never do that 8 hours of work and that’s why you get paid well if you can do it well. Reward yourself and schedule your time to make sure you’re taking care of yourself on an emotional and personal level.”
Watch the Full Sales Prospecting Session for More Sales Tips
Our prospecting panel discussion recording is packed with so much incredible information on all these tips and more. Watch the replay below to soak up this knowledge and start crushing your quota!
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