Tips for a Successful First Call with an Outbound Prospect
Cold outreach leads to calls with people who are interested in your product, company, services, or you. But too often, salespeople get onto that call, sales deck in hand, ready to pitch. That’s where things can go wrong.
In some ways, sales can be similar to recruitment. When you are applying for a new job, you never talk to the head honcho on the first call. You typically participate in a phone screening beforehand where you answer questions that determine whether you will be sent forward in the interview process.
Sales should be no different. You are deciding if an outbound prospect would make a good client - if you can meet their needs, if they fit into your ideal target audience, and if a partnership makes sense.
How to Effectively Run Cold Outreach
There are tons of different ways to approach your prospect on a first touch base. But a generally failsafe way to reach out is by asking to simply network and get to know each other. Since that first call should revolve around learning more about a person to see if everything would be a good fit, there is no harm in reaching out this way.
You can give them an overview of who you are professionally and what you do so that there is some context, but there is no need for mentioning numbers and pitching yourself.
You can also approach people by directly asking if they are interested in what you have to offer. Even so, you should lead that first call by getting to know each other. This will help build rapport and establish a bond that will make both parties more excited to chat again, whether it be in a week from now or months into the future.
Once you book a call with someone, you’ll want to have a loose plan for your first call. Not every call is the same, but when it comes to chatting with an outbound prospect, the process will be different than when you're chatting with an inbound prospect. Your goal should be to make relationships that will last without coming off as too pushy.
Don’t Plan on Presenting on your First Call
As mentioned above, when running cold outreach, there are many different ways to get calls booked. Sometimes, an outbound prospect will get on this first call thinking that it’s simply a getting-to-know-you thing or networking call - which is TRUE! You want to get to know them before you discuss the possibility of working together.
Tons of salespeople doing outbound prospecting are averse to reaching out to people with a networking approach. But if you think a person may be a great client, you’ll want to get to know them to double-check before you discuss paperwork. There’s nothing wrong with approaching this first call as a getting-to-know-you call. It’s actually what HyperSocial suggests you do.
Don’t Dodge your Outbound Prospect’s Questions
Do not avoid a question just because you didn’t plan on discussing it on this specific call. Although it’s best practice to get on this call and not run your pitch, if someone asks you about pricing, there is no need to avoid answering. If anything, not answering will make them more uncomfortable about the transparency of working with you.
Once you’re chatting and your business comes up, it’s only natural that the conversation may evolve from there. When pricing comes up, try starting a meaningful conversation about it, and take it as an opportunity to ask about their budget.
Cold Outreach, Warm Conversations
Just because your cold outreach led to this call does not mean that you should handle this as a cold call. Since the main goal of the call is to learn more about each other, all conversations should be managed kindly and with familiarity.
You should do research beforehand so it’s clear that you are educated on who they are while still wanting to learn more about them. Besides, every client you have now started as a stranger. Cold outbound prospects can very quickly be warmed up to become referrals or clients.
Listen, Listen, Listen!
Before you dive into any “salesy” things, you’ll want to listen to what your prospect has to say. Learn more about their company and their needs before diving into how your company may be able to help. Listening is so important because then you can react accordingly rather than waiting for your turn to talk.
If you have client success stories you want to share, there may be one that is very applicable to your outbound prospect’s needs. But if you don’t listen, you won’t be able to assess that.
Read the Room
To some, this will sound intimidating. To others, this will sound irresponsible. And to others, it will sound exciting. But this is a huge skill when it comes to that first call. The truth is that when you find yourself on a call with an outbound prospect, you have to remind yourself that you're having a conversation with a person.
If a prospect doesn’t fit the mold for a client right now, or if you don’t fit their needs right now, that’s okay! If you lead this conversation with the goal of getting to know each other and playing it by ear, you’ll likely end the call with, at the very least, a new business relationship.
The reason why we say "read the room" is that all people are different. You wouldn't conduct yourself in a conversation with a potential job employer the same way you would with your best friend. So reading the room will allow for the conversation to run its best course without anyone forcing anything.
When you are running cold outreach, your goal should not be to close deals on the first call. Your goal should be to meet new people who may be great clients. If they don’t become a client due to budget misalignment, a lack of needs, or just general pushback, you can still make great relationships and learn from the people you talk to.
That first call is the most important touch base because it will determine if there is a second call. Don’t approach things rigidly, and try your best to go with the flow. Each conversation will vary. But at the end of the day, it’s all about building relationships and going from there.
HyperSocial can Help you with All This and More
HyperSocial’s goal is to help B2B businesses to humanize their outreach while keeping a positive presence on LinkedIn.
Check out more about it here!
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