The B2B sales industry can be tricky, particularly in B2B appointment setting services. To be successful, it’s crucial to understand social cues and know how to read someone by the sound of their voice. If you don’t know how to read social cues through a phone, you risk losing sales and potential leads.
Here are four of the most common B2B sales mistakes made by sales professionals and how to avoid them in your business practices:
Prospects know the difference between when a sales development representative (SDR) reads a script and when they’re talking from the heart. To set appointments that have meaning to both the company and the generated lead, conversations with SDRs and key decision makers (KDM) need to be genuine and less structured.
- Understand the industry you’re calling on: The better an SDR understands the industry, the more comfortable they are talking with KDMs about their particular situation.
- Assume the decision maker knows what they’re talking about: There’s no reason to explain simple industry concepts to the industry experts. Unless they ask questions, assume they understand what you’re expressing.
- Ask open-ended questions: Asking open-ended questions encourages KDMs to talk more to get the information you need. This minimizes the need for a list of questions you are required to ask them.
Studies show that top-closing sales professionals speak only 43% of the conversation; prospects should be speaking 57% of the time. Your company’s sales development representatives are conversation starters and love talking to anyone and everyone. However, it’s important to understand when it’s an appropriate time to talk and when it’s time to sit back and listen to what the prospect has to say.
When salespeople are passionate about what they’re promoting, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and talk the prospect’s ear off. However, not everyone will be as passionate about the subject matter as they are. When talking with potential customers, it’s as important to listen to them and their insight as it is to promote your company’s product or service.
Active listening enables your sales team to understand the prospect’s needs better and customize their pitch based on what they’re looking for in a product or service. In addition, it allows the potential customer to feel wanted and like their concerns are heard.
Active listening is a great skill to obtain for both your personal and professional lives. Not everyone acquires this skill, but it can be learned through practice and repetition in your daily interactions. Here are six steps to work towards becoming an active listener:
- Approach conversations with a goal in mind: Ask yourself, “What can I learn from what the speaker is saying?”
- Focus on what they’re trying to express: When the speaker is talking, don’t think about how you’re going to respond. Be present and in the moment with them.
- Open and guide dialogue: Open-ended questions rather than yes-no questions encourage an efficient conversation flow and lead to new ideas.
- Summarize the discussion: To ensure your understanding of the discussion, summarize what the speaker just said to you and speak it back to them.
- Encourage positive feedback: If you see the speaker is having trouble with what they are trying to express, positive verbal feedback makes them feel like they are getting their point across.
- Acknowledge your responses: The way you respond to what a speaker is saying is a part of the dialogue. Be mindful of what you say and make sure it’s relevant to everything they just expressed to you.
Objections are never easy to encounter, and no one likes getting them, especially salespeople. Getting prospects to say “yes” is what makes outbound sales professionals successful in their roles. Although nobody likes being told “no,” it does have its benefits; when you get told “no” so many times, it gives the “yes” so much more value.
Sales objections are common, and not every prospect is going to give you a “yes.” Here are four ways to help you overcome sales objections:
- Listen to the complete objection before responding: Resist jumping in to respond to your defense. Reacting defensively can negatively impact the company’s reputation and eliminate the possibility of a partnership in the future.
- Understand the objection: Often, the prospect’s first objection to your pitch isn’t their true objection. It’s crucial to learn more about the objection the KDM told you to uncover their reasoning for not wanting a partnership.
- Respond professionally and adequately: A proper response to objections includes addressing the most crucial objection first. Once you acknowledge the potential buyer’s most significant concern, you can address how you can overcome it, and all the other objections seem less problematic.
- Confirm the objection: Last, confirm all the objections with the potential buyer to ensure they don’t want to partner with your company at the moment. If they’re not ready, don’t force a commitment they don’t want. Sales are primarily about timing, so there is still an opportunity to become a customer in the future.
Business operations require many moving parts, so getting your appointment setters in touch with the right decision makers can be difficult if you’re calling a big corporation. Depending on the industry you’re calling, it can be challenging to identify who the key decision maker is.
For most companies, business owners and CEOs will almost always be the final KDMs. However, they may not know a lot about your industry, so they’re not always the best point of contact. It’s crucial to get in touch with a key decision maker who knows the industry you’re calling about and who can make financial decisions.
In addition to identifying the best KDM to contact, it’s crucial to get in touch with them. Here are some ways to get in touch with the right decision makers:
- Know who you’re speaking with: Research goes a long way when figuring out who you should be talking with. Before calling on a prospect, research the company on Google and LinkedIn to make sure the company is still in business and the person you want to get in touch with is still employed with the company.
- Plan your approach to get in touch with the KDM: Before calling, plan your approach and give the KDM a reason to want to talk to you. If the KDM suspects it’s a sales call, they’ll tell the gatekeeper to send you to their voicemail.
- Don’t fear the gatekeeper: Gatekeepers can be intimidating to salespeople; however, they’re just doing the job assigned to them. When talking with a gatekeeper, be personable and prepare for them to ask you questions about your intention for calling.
- Leave high-quality voicemails: Leaving voicemails can be effective if done correctly. If you leave your name and the company you’re calling with on their voicemail, they’ll know it’s a sales call. It’s essential to give them a reason to call you back.
- Know when to relinquish contact: After several dodged phone calls and unresponsive voicemails, you should consider eliminating them from your sales pipeline. If they still don’t respond after you’ve done everything you can, maybe your partnership is not a fit. It’s more beneficial to put that effort towards a more qualified lead.