Grab the phone book, start at A and end with Z, cold calling everyone until you land a sale.

That still works, right?

Believe it or not, this old school fire hose approach to outbound sales calls doesn’t work in 2017 (not that it ever worked well anyway!)

Take a moment to think about the last time you received a cold sales call. We are all immediately turned off and disengage from a conversation when we get interrupted with a “sales pitch” that doesn’t think about our unique situation.

The reality is that people don’t want to be sold. We operate in a buyer’s market, where people want to come to their own conclusions. They are more aware of their problems and don’t need to be told about them on a phone call.

So, should we just stop making sales calls all together then?

The short answer is no, but it’s complicated…

Outbound sales calls are still an extremely effective way of helping prospects overcome their challenges and get closer to a purchase decision, but not all calls are created equal.

In fact, there are 5 levels of outbound calls, all of which offer varying opportunities to be accepted by the customer and also take more effort from the sales rep.

The 5 Levels of Outbound Sales Calls

  • Level 1 – The cold call. You’ve essentially been given a list of names, a phone, and a sales pitch.
  • Level 2 – Armed with problem information. On top of your pitch, phone number and a phone, you have a bit of research about the problem your business solves.
  • Level 3 – They have taken action. The prospect has taken an action that indicates in some way that they are ready for a call.
  • Level 4 – Relevance is established. Calling someone at the right moment, based on their behaviour.
  • Level 5 – They’ve had a previous engagement. This is the ultimate level of outbound sales calling, because the prospect has reached out to you.

So when it comes to an outbound sales call, Level 1 is totally ineffective. It’s the old school cold call approach. But from Level 2 to Level 5, there CAN be effective methods of filling your sales pipeline – but you need to turn these cold calls into WARM calls.

WARM calling – the new approach to outbound sales calls

The key to using these levels of outbound sales calls to your advantage is to create what is called a WARM call.

  • W: What’s In It for Me (WIIFM)? Address the customer’s confusion by telling them who you are, why you are calling, and most importantly what’s in it for them.

“Hi my name is Andy, I’m calling from Acme Incorporated. The reason for my call is that we have been working with businesses in your industry, like ABC Ltd to improve their sales efficiencies. Is that something you are working on?”

  • A: Ask questions with context, instead of pitching. The context proves that you have done your research.

“I noticed online that you have 6 salespeople, is that correct?”

  • R: Establish relevance. Ensure all of your questions are absolutely relevant to the prospect. With the information available online today there is no excuse for asking irrelevant questions.

“When working with Jo, the marketing manager at ABC Ltd, she mentioned she struggled with lead generation. Does that resonate with you?

  • M: Make it happen for the customer. Provide value to the prospect, and ensure you are making their life easier with additional information and next steps.

“Would you be interested to learn more about how they were able to increase their sales efficiency?”

The aim of this initial engagement is to start a dialogue, not to sell on the spot.

Wrapping up

If you adopt these WARM outbound calling principles with calls from level 2 to level 5, you will significantly impact your prospecting activity and ensure you are genuinely having relevant conversations more often.

This approach to outbound sales calls is customer-centric. It’s an approach that thinks about their problems and asks questions that are relevant to those problems. This is an approach that inevitably delivers you better conversations and more sales.

So, how is this framework going to impact your next sales call?

About the author: Andy Farquharson

Andy is a sales guru with an ocean of experience behind him. He’s worn the hat of an entrepreneur, a Chief Operations Officer and a marketing and sales executive. His advice is not to be taken lightly! 

Find out more about Andy here

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