Episode 71: Running Your First “Sales” Call
The Social Sales Link team ventures into the process of how you should run your first sales call. Listen as Brynne Tillman and Bob Woods help you navigate through setting up that much-awaited call with your prospect and how it’s going to be different from the usual calls people are accustomed to (and tired of) having.
Here you’ll learn about what the team refers to as the “insights” call, which is the call where you’ll be offering insights specific to your prospect’s situation, with a goal of bringing value so you can effectively transition into a potential prospecting call without making it feel like a “bait and switch” situation.
Bob Woods 00:00
Kaboom! Greetings, and welcome to Making Sales Social Live! My name is Bob Woods, I am the LinkedIn Sherpa, and I’m joined by the LinkedIn Whisperer, Brynne Tillman.
Brynne Tillman 00:12
Hello! Hey, Bob.
Bob Woods 00:13
How are you doing Brynne?
Brynne Tillman 00:14
Good. How are you?
Bob Woods 00:15
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training, strategies and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Bill McCormick, BrynneTillman, and me, Bob Woods every week. Making Sales Social Live.
Bob Woods 00”37
So in this show, and quite frankly, with what we do in our normal business, we talk a lot about LinkedIn and how to use it, and social selling strategies to start sales conversations. Usually, though, people ask, well, you know, “What happens when you’ve booked that first conversation?” Well, we got your back. Today, we’re going to start by discussing the process where you ask for the call with your prospect. Now, of course, this all starts out on LinkedIn, but then we treat the actual call a little differently. It’s not really a traditional discovery call and it’s certainly not a sales pitch. Instead, we have what we call “insights” calls. This is where you’re going to be offering insights on your prospect’s solution, which gets, on your prospect’s situation, I should say, which gets to one of my favorite quotes that we use around here, “Stop talking about how you help people and just help people.” And then the close is, of course, you’re going to ask for that actual sales call. So that’s the proverbial 30,000-foot view of all this. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of it. Now, Brynne,
Brynne Tillman 01:44
I love this. So as you said, let’s start with talking about how we’re setting up calls. Most of the calls that we are setting up on LinkedIn, are not people that raise their hand and say to you, “Tell me all about your stuff.” Right? Often, it’s around networking, engaging, you connected maybe through a shared connection, or through engagement and so the first call we like to offer is an insights call. A lot of people will say, “Hey, let’s network, let’s get on and talk about how we can help one another.” And that’s fine but that does not lead to business as much as an insights call might. So based on how you’ve developed this relationship, so let’s say you’ve engaged on content together, and you’ve had a couple of exchanges where you’ve shared additional content and now you learn a little bit about what matters to them and maybe you even share your own checklist or ebook or content that is valuable to them that’s leading to your solution. At this point, you might say, “Hey, if you’re finding value in this, I’m happy to share additional insights specific to your situation. Even if we never work together, I believe 15 minutes will bring you great value,” And when we establish a call like that, recognize it’s not that we said “Hey, let’s get on a call so I can do discovery on you, I can learn about your needs and sell you.” We have to respect how we’ve actually established this phone call, which is I’m going to bring you value. Okay. So that’s number one and we have to make sure that we bring that value, bring more value. We actually, I’m gonna back up for one second. One of the things that we talked about, is mastering the ask-offer ratio. This is, “I ask you for your time in exchange for content, for value.” We have to make sure that we’re mastering that every time. If we get on a call right now and we talk about what we do immediately, right? So Bob said very clearly, at the very beginning, stop telling people how you can help them and help them. So if you start by saying this is how we help people, it’s a pitch too early and you lose that ask-offer ratio, you lose in that game. There’s neutral where I don’t bring a whole lot of value, and then there’s when we master that we’re creating compelling moments that get them to want to take another step. So that in mind, and Bob, thanks for letting me rant on this because I love this subject.
Bob Woods 04:31
It’s a great subject and it’s one that we that we don’t talk enough about, I think because we’re so catch right on good call. It’s like now we got to talk about what happens when you actually get the dang call.
Brynne Tillman 04:42
Right! Right. So I love that. So now we get on this call. They’re interested because we brought them enough value. We mastered the first level of the ask-offer ratio where they say, “Hey, I got so much value from my online exchange, that it’s worth taking this offline” or I say offline, but now all the calls are Zoom, which are still online, but you take it from LinkedIn to person to person. So now we get on a call and the very first thing I think that’s important to do is we establish what matters to them. Right? So the first thing is, “Bob, when you accepted this call, or when you scheduled this call that happens to be… was there anything specific you were hoping you were getting gained from today, or you were gonna walk away with?” And we got to ask that question, because if we’re not asking that question, we are potentially missing opportunities. Occasionally, someone will say, “You know, I’m really interested in what you do. We’re currently shopping this, you had great timing.” and we need to know that early on so if we don’t ask them their agenda, and we just hop into our agenda, we can miss a lot. So I want to make sure that that’s the first thing that we ask. And by the way, see, that’s the first thing. There’s some rapport building up front as well. So you know, maybe you noticed what school they went to, or you had something in common, or you refer back to content that you’ve exchanged already, then you ask what you know what their agenda is, and nine times out of 10, (I just made that stat up) Most of the time they’re gonna say, “Oh no! You know, I’m just getting on a call with you, right? You know, just hopping on a call, you asked to talk, I found a lot of interesting things in what you were discussing.” So now I’m going to go into my promise and my promise is, this is a call that I’m going to bring you value, even if we never work together, that you’re going to walk away today with implementable insights, tactics, strategies that get you thinking differently about your current situation. Even if you never talk to me again. It was worth your time, right? So yeah, so now I have to deliver on that promise. So let’s say “Hey, Bob, I know I promised to bring you some really great insights around…” (in our case, LinkedIn, and social selling, and whatever it is that you do, that’s what you’re doing, right?) “So you know, before I kind of go into some tips or strategies, is it okay, if I ask you a couple of questions so that when I do give you these insights, they’re specific to your situation, and they can really be implemented? Sound good?” (Bob: Very good.) So now, this is the formula, I asked a question, I get an answer. I provide an insight. I ask a question, I get an answer, I provide an insight. Most of the time your insights are very similar. Rarely is it ever going to go off the charts and something that you wouldn’t know how to provide insights based on an answer that someone might give you. So based on that, we do that two to three times and once we’ve provided value, now, we need to bridge it from this insights call to moving it into a potential prospecting call if you’ve uncovered through the question and answer insight, that there is an opportunity here. And if you think, “Boy, I really could help this person,” we need to bridge it without them feeling like it was a “bait and switch.”
So I’m going to recap and I’m going to say so here are the three insights, the three strategies, tactics, things that you’re going to go do, they have homework now, right? And they’re grateful, because you gave them such value. And then you say, you know, “Bob, this, this reminds me a lot of a client that I worked with a few months back, and I have three or four case stories in my pocket that almost always fit someone that I’m talking to.” So I’ll say, “Bob, I have you know, this reminds me a lot of a client I work with a few months back, would it be okay, if I share that story?” And you get permission to share a case story. So I talk about this was their challenge sounds a lot like Bob’s challenge, right? These are the things that were getting in the way, this is how we helped them. And then at the end of that, we can go in a couple of directions but the way I typically go is you know, “By any chance, would you like to explore how we might be able to help you the same way we were that other client?” And if they are, now we can meet, we can schedule a sales call and then you’ve got their permission. The whole thing is permission based, by the way. So what are your thoughts around that?
Bob Woods 09:21
Yeah, so one of the big reasons why I like this so much actually speaks to who you are during this call. And actually, the feelings that you’re hopefully bringing to the person to whom you’re speaking while you’re doing it, because while you’re doing all this stuff, A, you’re showing that you care, because you do care, you’re being genuine and authentic. You’re not pitching anyone, which anyone who gets on these calls is gonna expect to be pitched, it’s just the way it is now. So by doing this, you’re already standing out from the crowd because you’re not pitching. You’re also bringing tremendous value that is very specific to their situation, which they’re going to think so much more of you because of that, you’re also as Brynne said, you’re also starting to get them thinking a little bit differently about their situation. It’s been my experience that when you get people thinking differently about their situation, that’s when that they are open to potentially changing something, potentially adding something, whatever it is you do, so that they will be more apt to listen to you and what you’re saying even though it’s out of what they’re doing right now. I think that that’s very important too.
And then the other thing is just from a personal branding standpoint, you are obviously building yourself, at that point, as the subject matter expert, as a thought leader, you know, whatever, you want to label yourself in that point, because quite frankly, you know, you are your subject matter experts. So just demonstrating that and demonstrating to the person on this call that you know what you’re talking about, only helps you out and you know, as opposed to the typical discovery call or dreaded sales pitch call, someone is going to come out of this looking at you like the expert and hopefully somebody that they need to work with because you have all these insights. And you know what you’re talking about.
Brynne Tillman 11:19
Love that! And what do we have here, Steve Farber, “Create compelling moments.” That’s it, man! That’s what we need to do in so many places on LinkedIn. We need to convert lurkers into engagers. Compelling moments, it means that they take the next step, they like something, they accept your connection request. And in this case, when you create a compelling moment, even in a conversation, wherever it is, you’re moving it forward, you know, and so yep. Great, great comment.
Bob Woods 11:55
And during that conversation, those compelling moments, I think, are going to have the most impact as well, because it’s a one to one conversation, whether it’s Zoom, whether it’s you know, whatever, hopefully you’re looking at them one to one and just creating just having those compelling moments communicated to them personally, is basically like a mic drop.
Brynne Tillman 12:18
I love that. So Steven asked, “What if you don’t have case studies?” and that is a great question. So the first thing I would say, let’s say, I don’t think that in this case, but many cases, you’re a new sales rep at a company and you haven’t sold anything yet, or you’re new into an organization, whatever it may be, completely new into an industry, case studies don’t have to be necessarily what you did with a client. It’s what it could be other people inside the company, it’s the solution itself. So finding case stories around the solution doesn’t necessarily mean that you created that success story but the product or service is that success story. Anyone else that’s delivering what you’re delivering that sold what you’re selling, find their case stories. And you can use the word “we” as a company, or, you know, “we’ve done this…” so works really, really well.
Bob Woods 13:26
And actually, if you’re in a company, and you’re just starting, and there are other salespeople there, like whenever I started a company, as a salesperson, one of the first things I always requested was to either talk with other salespeople, or actually go out on calls or whatever with other salespeople to pick up those stories in a natural way. Because hopefully, they’re going to be telling stories, you can then incorporate that into your own words in your own way without having to, you know, read through boring case studies or whatever.
Brynne Tillman 13:58
I love that. And you know, the other thing in today’s world, similar to what you’re saying is we can interview them on Zoom and just have it recorded.
Bob Woods 14:05
Absolutely. That’s a great, great point. Yep!
Brynne Tillman 14:09
So Edie says, “I would also make sure to send them something helpful in writing, like a report or a checklist or a blog post.” So we are big fans of continuing to send value for sure. The other thing is, you want to make sure that if there is an opportunity there and they’re open, you’re scheduling the next step. So in this case, you know, he said, “This cements your positioning and helps attract them even more, and wanting to meet again 100% agree it solidifies. I would do my best in that call to set up the next call.” For sure.
Bob Woods 14:43
Yep. Yeah, so Gunner said, oh, do we have it up there? Hey, yes, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done that here. “Request to help create equal business stature of being perceived as a salesperson.” That’s exactly what I was talking about before, in terms of becoming that thought leader. When you’re a thought leader, you’re no longer a salesperson and that’s huge. Meredith, I think she was referring to a point earlier when it came to scoring or working for a startup. So when you’re working for a startup, you’re probably still talking with people who are maybe beta testing your product or interacting with it or something like that. You can even take those stories and use those, you don’t have to necessarily be starting or have a product ready to go. So I do think that you can tell stories with startups as well.
Brynne Tillman 15:34
Yeah. And you know, when I first started, in the very beginning, I did free workshop — and this is nine years ago — I would do free workshops at chambers of commerce. And you know, and so I could get stories under my belt initially. Now, I’m not saying give it all away for free but if you can help a few people, even, I had a couple of barter relationships in the very beginning. So I was able to create stories even before I had a paid client. And so that was helpful, too.
Bob Woods 16:07
And then JB said, really quick, he got a call during this. Well, we have a replay. I’m going to get into exactly how all that works in just a second but JB, I just wanted to let you know that that was coming, essentially, and that we did see this. Yes, So obviously, you’re on LinkedIn Live with us right now, if you’re with us live right now, we do this every week. So keep an eye out for our live sessions and if you’re listening to us on our podcast, or in JB’s case, if you want to like go and listen to this, again, we invite you to, to hit the like or subscribe button. If you’re listening to us as a podcast. If you’re listening to us LIVE but you want to hear us as a podcast, just go to socialsaleslink.com/podcast. Again, that’s socialsaleslink.com/podcast. And of course, if you’re listening to us on a podcast already, just be sure to hit the subscribe or follow button. And if you could drop a like or a rating we would definitely appreciate that as well.
Brynne Tillman 17:06
Another fun one, Bob.
Bob Woods 17:08
Yeah, another great one. I love it. Absolutely love it. So when you are out and about let’s try this again, Brynne, at the same time when you’re out and about, make sure that you’re making your sales social.
Bob Woods 17:24
We’re getting better everybody Yeah. All right, everybody, we appreciate it. Bye-bye.
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