As sales reps, we need meetings in order to sell and close deals – and there’s nothing worse than not being able to win meetings in the first place. For some, it’s a numbers game. The more prospects contacted, the more meetings you’ll secure. But we think there’s a lot more to it. It’s about relationship building and timing; thought leadership and smart productivity methods.
Excellent communication skills and knowledge of strategic communication is a bonus when it comes to handling clients. Having a degree in strategic communication leadership is a bonus because it makes you a great storyteller and helps you gain an edge over your competitors.
By following the seven tips below, you’ll give yourself the best chance of not only securing the meeting, but building up a relationship from your first point of contact, that will lead to your prospective customer eventually signing on the dotted line.
1. Build Prospect Lists Based on Actions, Not Just Persona/ICP Characteristics
The art of closing is all about pouncing at the very moment you know your lead is ready to buy. Of course, most potential customers are not poised to buy around the clock. For many, a nurturing campaign will be needed to get them to the point of sale. Others will be waiting for their budget to be released, or their boss to sign off. For a few, you may just need to catch them in a good mood. Whatever the situation with your potential customer, it’s vital that you know the signs that that person is ready to sign on the dotted line. How? While personas and ideal client profile information are important in the journey to closing a deal, you should also take the time to look at buyer intent signals. Combining all this information will make your bid to win a meeting all the more powerful. With this in mind, build a prospect list based on persona and ICP information, and then use buyer intent signals to let you know when to reach out. For this approach to be successful, it’s vital to keep the top of your sales pipeline full at all times, so you have plenty of prospects to choose from.
2. Focus on Relationships First (and Second, and Third…)
If there’s one thing sales reps know, it’s that people do not like to be sold to. That can make our job challenging at times. Business owners in particular can be skeptical of pitches from agencies and consultants – after all, they get approached a lot. It’s understandable, therefore, that they would only work with a credible and effective agency and consultant. Of course, it takes some time to convince them your business falls into this category – and often business owners are time poor. This means that, in many situations, you’ve got to be willing to play the long game. Instead of positioning your relationship as selling to them, go down the consultancy route. Transform yourself into a reliable, useful resource your prospects can turn to when they have questions or need advice within your area of expertise. If you get this right, when they finally are ready to buy, you’ll be their number one choice. Pro Tip: if you can graduate to text message based communication with your prospect, it’s going to rapidly accelerate the pace at which you form a high quality relationship with them. However, a common problem is that many salespeople would rather not give out their personal phone number to prospects. One clever way to maintain separation of church and state when it comes to personal vs. business communication, would be leveraging a virtual phone system in order to create a new business phone number purely for texting your prospects. This is a slick way to avoid sloshing business with personal lanes of communication.
As per Matt Janaway of MarketingLabs, "Building relationships with prospects can help set you apart from other potential businesses and allow you to showcase the value you can offer. Offering advice, consultations, helpful resources and relevant updates will show that you care about their success more than making a sale. This will help you in building a solid foundation that can help you turn prospects into happy clients."
3. Build Credibility in Your Niche on Social Media
It’s not enough to simply build credibility within your relationships with prospective customers, however. For best results, build on this success by building public credibility within the industry. These days, this is easier than ever to achieve thanks to the combination of video marketing strategies and social media networks – LinkedIn in particular. Share valuable, unique thoughts on social media, and post links to recent articles that will be of interest to your audience. We’ve all seen uninspiring boilerplate posts on LinkedIn: they all say the same things in the same way. This won’t help you to stand out from the competition. Ensure that what you’re sharing is unique and relevant to your niche or addressing common industry pain points. Think about how you can present the information in a new and interesting way too. Where you have a particularly important point to make, why not try blogging about it? In order to achieve social media success, you should also maintain an optimized social profile.
4. Use Templates and Scripts
If your goal is to win more meetings, you’re going to need to reach out to more prospects. This can be an incredibly time consuming task, especially if you work in an industry with a low hit rate. Make smart decisions about this process and you’ll see your productivity rocket. For instance, avoid starting from scratch every time you write an email or call a prospect by creating cold calling scripts and email templates. Not only will this save you time, but they will help you to be more confident and effective during your pitch. Your success rate should escalate over time, as you gradually see which parts of your template or script work, and which don’t, and can hone them in line with your findings. This will free you up to focus on relationship building with potential customers, and for further prospecting.
5. A/B Test Outreach Copy
Once you’ve established your email templates, it’s time to test them. Use A/B testing to deduce which parts of your messaging hit home, and which need to be axed from the copy. This is yet another benefit of the template approach: it helps you to more easily test your messaging. This should be considered instrumental to building a successful outreach strategy fit for the long term. After all, you never know which angle will be most effective when it comes to piquing prospects’ interest until you’ve got some cold hard data to back up – or dismantle – your hypotheses. What best practices should you follow when A/B testing?Firstly, don’t dismiss qualitative data. Take the content of replies into account, as well as the rate of reply. Next, try out different elements of personalization. It’s widely accepted that personalization boosts reply rates – but which forms of personalization work best for your audience? For a speedy A/B test, write your “B” email after you’ve tested your “A.” This allows you to incorporate your findings much more quickly, and check that your analysis of the responses to email A were correct.
6. Keep Your CTA Focused and Clear
There’s no point in jumping into a prospecting outreach campaign without having a single, crystal clear goal. Many might assume this goal would simply be “make the sale,” but in most cases, this would be getting ahead of yourself. Instead, in most instances, the goal is going to be “set a meeting.” Every single piece of copy you write, every cold email you send, every cold call you dial should be done with this goal in mind. Make sure that your goal is clear, not just to you but to the recipient of your outreach. Focus all your energy on accomplishing your goal, and then concern yourself with shunting your prospect onto the next step once you’ve secured that meeting. Using a tool like Meetfox can help you reduce friction with easy scheduling.
7. Block Time off for Specific Prospecting Tasks
Remember cramming for exams back in college? How did you approach this? Did you try to fit your revision in around your lectures and seminars while out and about? Or did you block out a big chunk of time and pull an all-nighter or two? It’s just like with sales prospecting. You’re going to see the best results when you’re utterly focused on the task at hand. As sales people, there is always something else we could be doing; our to-do lists are never-ending. It can be difficult to force yourself to sit down, block out the noise, and just get on with prospecting. This is why it’s so important to go for time blocking. Align your prospecting blocks with when your customers are going to be available – and remember, if you’re not putting in the hours, you won’t see the results.
So there you have it.
There’s no magic bullet for winning meetings, but if you put in the work, you’ll find more and more meetings come your way. Once you’ve mastered prospecting, then switch your focus to ensuring those meetings are as successful as possible. Sign up to Meetfox today to ensure you monetize your time with online meetings by using their online video calls feature, and secure client payments with invoicing.
About The Author
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit, and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.