Trying to sell to a prospect who doesn’t know you can be very intimidating… Fear of rejection or simply worry about disturbing? Today, I share with you the method to successfully approach a cold prospect:
- Grab attention from the introduction
- Qualify and warm up the prospect
- Drive your sales process
- Know how to respond to classic objections
Let’s be honest … No one likes to prospect and few people like to prospect.
In addition, when you are a marketer, you can consider that cold prospecting is not really necessary and that inbound lead generation is more effective.
But then why bother with cold prospecting?
Simply because there will always be highly qualified prospects on the market corresponding to your Persona and your marketing will not reach …
After 8 years of experience in entrepreneurship and BtoB business development in companies ranging from SMEs to multinationals … I can assure you if you do not include cold prospecting in your strategy, you risk spending next to a huge turnover potential.
And this, especially in the start-up phase…
During my career, I have sometimes had to approach prospects as cold as icebergs. What I learned is that with the right qualification reflexes and the right method, they can easily be transformed into customers, references or even ambassadors. For that, I invite you to read the following.
1. How do you capture the attention of a cold prospect and introduce yourself like a pro?
If you’ve correctly targeted the right person to prospect, chances are you have a list of canvassers in front of you.
It remains to be seen how you will arouse their interest…
The more important your prospects are within their organization, the more they will be solicited and the less time they will have to give you by email or by phone.
Whether you contact your prospect by email, phone or via social media, it is important to make sure to create a hooking element punchy.
How to build a catchy catchphrase?
Think about it, if you contact someone without knowing who they are, what their context looks like and what their plans are… Why should they care what you offer them?
It’s as if you want to seduce a person by only talking about yourself … It doesn’t work (or really when the other person is desperate).
Doing research on Google and LinkedIn now allows you to get key information for cold prospecting.
If you can’t find any information about the person, take a look at the target company’s website and their social media.
By investigating properly, you will find either:
- An ongoing project;
- An event or conference;
- Elements of business strategy.
Or another interesting topic in line with your value proposition to break the ice with your prospect.
Here is an example of a hook to start the conversation about an ongoing project:
Hello, I’m Damien from jeréalisevoscampagnespublicitaires.com, how are you?
I noticed on LinkedIn that you’re in the midst of launching a new feature for your XYZ product.
Are you the person responsible for this project? (qualify authority)
My mission is to help companies in the launching phase to meet communication challenges on social networks.
Have you planned a campaign for this project in the next quarter? …
This type of introduction makes the difference with all the other entrepreneurs who will contact this prospect without really being interested in him.
In addition, you make sure from your intro not to waste your time with a person who does not have a minimum of decision-making authority on the adoption of a new solution.
If you want to canvass through a branding prospecting email, I invite you to consult this article.
2- Qualify the prospect cold to be able to reheat it
Once you have made your first elevator pitch, you will have to ask a relevant and interesting question to start a conversation with your prospect.
Preferably an open question that makes him want to talk about challenges related to your solution.
What question to ask him?
Well, I advise you to put yourself in his place. The result of your research and your experience in your field should allow you to prepare the best question, the one that starts the conversation.
I advise you to prepare at least 3 open questions that you will test as you prospect.
The goal is for him to start talking. If you can do it, you’re on the right track.
He will have invested time in the conversation and you will be able to start your customer discovery and practice active prospecting listening.
This discovery phase is fundamental to avoid wasting time with a client who does not have the need or the budget or who would not adopt your solution in the defined future.
It allows you to qualify the prospect and to avoid driving what I call a dead commercial approach.
If the elements of the acronym BANT (Budget, authority, need, timeline) are not met, you can continue your prospection with another target.
You can also read my article here on the qualification of cold prospect.
Remember, you are an entrepreneur, your mission and to help people solve their challenges through the solutions you develop.
Your time is precious.
If your prospect is qualified
In this case, you will have to explain to him why you are intimately convinced of the potential of your collaboration.
Never interrupt him and take note of everything he says, as you will send him a courtesy email after this conversation.
Try to bounce back on what he says by summarizing the idea to broaden or deepen your understanding of its context and challenges.
The use of storytelling is very effective in this kind of situation to spice up the conversation. Also, if the context is suitable and you can humor, do not hesitate … This will make communication even more pleasant.
When the conversation seems to be softer and you have gathered as much information as possible, end the call.
Drive your sales process.
” You must strike the iron while it is hot.”
Remember to end the conversation the right way. It’s not just a matter of thanking him and sending him an email …
Ask yourself what will be the next logical step.
Personally, I often find myself faced with these two choices:
- Send a business proposal;
- Organize a meeting to personalize the proposal I have to send.
It all depends on the nature of the solution you offer as well as the size of your deals.
Keep in mind that anything you say during these early phases when you go to cold prospect can be held against you during the negotiation phases.
This is why it is better that you listen to twice as much as you speak.
Prepare the right answers to classic objections
For the objections of the prospect, either you go to talent or you go to talent + preparation.
I prefer the second option.
Knowing how to deal with objections is the key to successfully approaching a cold prospect. By answering the usual questions in a relevant way, you will position yourself as an expert in your field.
This is why I always recommend that my prospecting customers create an objection response script.
Here are some classic examples:
Objection 1 : I don’t have time, send me an email with your proposal
This objection is usually synonymous with “I don’t have time to talk to you and I’m not interested.”
In this case, respond appropriately and express your understanding of the situation by letting him know that you want to personalize the email you are going to send him to be relevant. Ask him an engaging question.
If he is relentless, ask him when you can call him back to discuss the teaser that you had prepared.
Objection 2: Send me your proposal and I will get back to you if there is interest
“I wish I could do that, but we don’t have a generic offer at the moment. This is why I would like to ask you the question XYZ in order to send you something relevant. ”
Another bolder answer is to make a physical appointment proposal directly at that time by proposing a calendar date.
You explain that your proposals are always made during meetings with clients.
You’ll catch your prospect off guard (it worked for me several times).
Objection 3: I already work with company EFG your competitor
“I know EFG very well, and that is exactly why I contacted you. I sincerely think that with our solution you will be able to save budget while improving the quality of service + engaging question. ”
And you ? What objections do you encounter when trying to cold-call a prospect? Post them in comments and we can complete this article with your experiences.