There’s a lot of negativity around cold-calling, even though it’s one of the most powerful tools at your fingertips.
In this episode on INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is once again joined by SalesBuzz.com CEO and sales training expert Michael Pedone. Darryl and Michael continue where they left off in the previous episode, discussing the misinformation around cold-calling. They will also explore the 4 phases of the sales process as well as the 3 phases of qualifying, so that you’re well equipped the next time you pick up the phone.
Host: ...How are you doing today, folks? Of course, I always ask that, don't I? Welcome to the show. I'm so glad you're here. Listen, I'm not going to do my usual ramble where you... I know most of you fast forward over it anyway but hey, I would, too. Here's why I'm not going to do it. If you missed last week's episode, then you got to stop. Don't listen any more. Live a full stop because this week's episode is a continuation of the conversation I had with Michael Pedone last week, and I'm telling you, it's epic. So stop, go listen to that one. If you heard last week's episode, did the wait kill you to hear the second episode? Well, good, you're not going to be disappointed. Let's get the show underway. Back we go to the conversation now. We've done lots of content, folks, on the power of the referral, right, so use that. Recently I did a webinar with my good friend Ollie Whitfield, and it's called Simplifying Sales Emails. If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend you go back and hit it. But what we have there is, we have five different email templates that you would use to construct short, concise, impactful emails that generate results. We didn't author them. They're not ours, we just presented them. One of them is by Josh Braun and so his email structure, as we call it, the TTTT, the 4T email, and it's basically four paragraphs, four lines, four one- liners. The first line is a trigger, the second line is a third- party reference, which is what effectively Michael's doing with the competition. Your third party could be the competition, your third party could be a trusted industry influencer, et cetera, whom you revere, but it's third party. And then the third line is Teach Me, which is what Michael was just saying to you, which is saying, "I want to show you what I did for them. Do you have any interest?" So there's that, and that's what the TTTT is, trigger, what's the trigger? What's your third party? What's your Teach Me? What's your Tell Me? Now imagine you're going to do that voice mail combined with that email, because you see, one of the things you're going to learn about Michael that I respect so much about Michael, that he thinks maybe like me. Maybe that's why I respect him, or maybe you think we're both morons, and that's fair, too, because you probably wouldn't be wrong, is Michael consistently always ties what he's doing back to the steps. So any story starts at the beginning, and you heard him talk about the hot button, right? And then he brought it back to the hot button. He's always bringing it back to the hot button. That's one of the things you've got to remember, what you should always be doing, is following the steps. And your story needs to always bring it back to the key part. The key parts of those hot buttons are tied back to your ideal customer profile. You see what we're doing here? We're trying to give you the foundation, the building blocks, for you to be successful. And what you need to understand, so I'm going to build on the sports analogy, so Michael used a baseball analogy. I know all you non- sports fans hate it when we do this. I ask you to indulge me. It's a football analogy, okay, so the football analogy is, the last five minutes of the game you need a touchdown to win the game and come from behind. The odds are against us, and yeah, we can do the long bomb and try to throw 100- yard pass and hopefully we'll catch it. Chances are we won't. The odds are stacked against us immensely. They're going to blitz us, they're going to have all the receivers covered. Chances of you getting that are negligible, or you can just say, " I want 10 yards at a time, 10 yards, 10 yards, 10 yards. First down, first down, first down, first down." That eight, nine, 10 plays later, boom! You're in the end zone. You worked the clock and you just took little bits. That's the same thing as one base at a time. The phone is part of that play. It's a step. Any time you tell me that it doesn't work, that you just don't do it, no one's answering the phone, tells me you're not playing your playbook. You think those NFL coaches say, "You know guys, we're not going to do one step at a time because 50- 50 they're going to tackle us one of those times." That's not the way it works, all right, so that's what you want to do. You want a step at a time, step at a time, step at a time. Love the ICP, I love the persona, I love his templates.
Michael: So the thing is, there's a couple of things here. I'd be inaudible so you brought back what... I mentioned the example of the hop and how I had to go back. Do you know how many sales people, when they get a real inbound warm lead... By the way, so an inbound warm lead, fill out a form on the website and they ask for information and then they call them. Do you know how many sales reps don't even bother getting problem recognition or get finding the hot button first or really making sure that they have that inaudible? They just ask a couple of basic questions. " You're the decision- maker, right? Oh, let me do a demo." Then they try to go back and it's too late because they skipped steps. They tried to go from home play to second base. So with that being said, I just want to point that out. That's why it's so important. It doesn't matter, if you're making outbound calls, whether the leads are warm or cold, you have to follow the steps. You have to follow the process. And this is how you get rid of the fear of rejection. And by the way, listen, I got news for you. Sales is never going to be easy, okay? So if you're looking for easy, you need to get out, maybe go into customer service or something where you don't have that kind of pressure. Here's the bottom line is, when you're in sales, not only are you responsible for feeding your family, you're responsible for feeding all the other families of employees that work in that organization. There's a lot of pressure on business development reps, account executives, whatever you want to call them, SDRs, what have you, right? So you have to make things happen. It's never going to be easy. You're going to have to work, and if you're not hitting the numbers it's because you're not sharpening your skills or you're not doing the effort. It's one of those two things or a combination of those, so that's what you have to do. You have to put in effort. Now let's do this, to give some people some context because by the way, I heard some of the videos and I've watched some that you mentioned earlier, all great stuff, from some of your previous guests as well. Now the question is this. Okay, so I'm a sales rep, I know that I have to have an opening buy statement, I got to pique their interest. I have three different samples I can create. I'm going to have to out- work the problem, I'm going to have to make the calls. What do I do when I get them on the phone? This is the number one...
Host: Shit, it worked! Now they're on the phone.
Michael: Yeah, well, I have an eight- week program. It's one hour a week for eight weeks. It's just online they take it, soft pace, right? But here's the thing. I cannot tell you how many emails I get after a team will go through week one and the first session will go, " We're getting more people on the phone we ever had. We got more people in the last 24 hours we had last month. We don't know what to do next," right? So let me just help you out. Again, when you know the play, when you know the playbook, let's look at it this way. Another analogy is, you're in the middle of New York City and you got to get yourself to California. If you have no phone, no map, no GPS, no nothing, and no street signs, it's going to be really hard. But if somebody gives you a detailed GPS and a vehicle and all that, and you know exactly the best route to get there, chances are you're going to get there, right, in the best amount of time. Sales is a lot like that, so when you know the road map, when you know the playbook, one, it's just where the effort has to come in. When you call and you run over the right opening buy-in statement, you pique their interest, you gain permission to continue the call, which is a whole nother thing that we could talk about later. That can be a whole hour on the debates on that, but when you do that, you have to realize there's four phases to the sales cycle. Are you ready? There's your openers, there's qualifying, presenting and closing. That's it. Now a lot of times people, and this is my favorite thing, some people already know they're qualified. We're calling a targeted list. Okay, then you don't know what the definition of qualifying is. Okay, if you just think somebody has the right title and the right industry, and they meet your ICPs, you know they're qualified, no. Here's the thing. I'm going to help you out. There's three phases to qualifying. The first phase to qualifying is, do they have a problem that you can help them solve? They don't have to recognize the problem, right? That's what a warm lead is. That's why we love warm leads. They already got that first phase going where they recognize a problem. The problem with a warm lead is that you don't know if they're the decision- maker or an intern or anything in between. That's why you don't just assume that they're ready to place an order. But when you're qualifying somebody, which is after your opening value statement, you're in the qualifying zone, the first thing you have to establish is, is there a problem that they have that you can help them solve, and do they want that solved? And how do you blow that problem up? Especially when you're doing outbound cold calling, how do you blow it up big enough to make them go, " We need to solve this. This wasn't even on my radar, and now it is, and now I want to know about a solution." That is when you are a top salesperson, when you can do that. That's what it means to be a real salesperson, by the way, when you can do something like that. So how do you accomplish that? Well one, you have to know that that's a step, because if you don't know that's a step, nothing else matters, so my process is pique interest, gain permission. Once I do that, I'm done with phase one. It's easy. Now I'm in phase two, qualifying, but I'm in the first phase of the three phases of qualifying and I have to get established problem recognition. How am I going to do that? It all starts with this, and this again goes back to why the training, the sales solutions that I come up with was successful for me no matter what industry I was in. Because no matter what industry I'm selling to or you're going to be selling to is when you pique interest, gain permission, and now you've got that permission, the first thing you have to do next is, ask what's called an engagement question. This is where everybody goes so wrong. They get people on the phone, they don't know what to do next, so what do they do? They do a mini data dump on what we offer. " Well, we provide blah, blah, blah," and then they hear, " Oh, sounds good. Send me some information." Then they never get them on the phone again most of the time, right? And by the way, this is the same thing on a warm lead. Even on an inbound lead. When I get people that are calling inbound say, " Hey, I'm interested in your services. What can you tell me about them?" It's like, " Great, may I ask whom I'm speaking with?" Get their name, whatever. I'll say this, " Do you mind if I ask you a few questions first to make sure what we offer would help you accomplish the objectives that you have?" Who the hell says no to that? Like, " Yeah, sure!" They give me permission so I still gain permission to continue the call, even though they called me. I do the same thing on the outbound calls. I start at that same spot on the qualifying. I'm going to ask something that's called an engagement question. The engagement question places their attention on an area you want them thinking about. You're not going to get problem recognition with one question. It's a series of questions, so you have to know, what is my objective when I first start a call, after I pique their interest, gain permission to continue the call, whether it's warm, inbound, outbound, whatever, what do I have to do next once I got that permission? I got to ask an engagement question because I have to find out if there's a problem. I cannot just tell them they have a problem because they're going to doubt it, right? So the best thing I've found is I got to ask a series of questions, and then based on their answers, they start to recognize there's a problem there. And then what is human nature when somebody recognizes that they have a problem? Most human nature is, they want to know how to solve it. And now they're asking you, " How can you help me solve this?" This is how you get rid of the fear of rejection, because when you master this process I'm telling you, one, you won't even care when you get rejected because you have a targeted list, you're getting 90% or better. The people, when you do get them on the phone will go, " Yeah, I got a second. Go ahead." So now you're not getting rejected all the time, and now you know that I got to ask an engagement question. And then what the other two or three questions are after that to determine if there's a problem there, and guess what? When there is a problem, they want to continue the conversation, and then you need to know what to do. Once you've got problem recognition, you have to move to the second phase of qualifying, which is identifying their role in the decision- making process. Here's why you can't assume somebody's a decision- maker based on their title. How many of your clients at VanillaSoft have... You have a certain vertical. Same industry, same employees, size, same annual revenue, and the person that has the title at that organization made the sole decision at that company, but that same type of company three blocks over, that person had the same title, they had three people that had to sign off on it. That's going to happen, right? They're not always going to be one title that can sign off on everything. Sure, you should know who the top two or three titles are to build your list, to start the conversation. But once you get problem recognition and you get that, now you have to move into the second phase of qualifying, which is identifying what their role is and who else might be involved in the decision- making process before you show your hand and give them a presentation. With me so far?
Host: You're on fire, dude. I don't think I've been as quiet on the podcast in a long time. I'm loving it.
Michael: Yeah, I tell you, I was knocking on my screen here like, " Did he inaudible?" All right, and I'm just going to give everybody the third because I'm not sure how much time we have, but I crosstalk
Host: No, we're fine. Go.
Michael: I don't want to leave them hanging because I know I said there's three phases of qualifying. First phase, you got to get problem recognition. You have to know how to do that. Second, you have to identify their role in the decision- making role. There's five roles, by the way, right? You have to be able to identify which role they are and what to do if they're not one of the roles that you need. And then, once you get that done, the last thing is... This is so controversial because I grew up being in the cold call era in the'80s and '90s and all that stuff, and I think every sales manager I ever had told me never to bring price up until after the presentation. To me that is such bad advice, because here's why. When you do that, first of all, if you're giving a presentation and you keep delaying the pricing or what your pricing structure looks like, right, and you're giving a presentation, what do you think the prospect is thinking about at least half the time during that presentation? They want to know if they can afford this, right, so they're half listening. So if you wait to the end you give them the pricing, a lot of times they can go, " Well, we don't have that in the budget." Now, there's two things when you get that objection. They're either lying or telling the truth. That's it, right? And so here's the thing. If they're lying, it's going to be really hard to uncover that at that point. If they're telling the truth, you just wasted a bunch of time. So when you pique interest, inaudible call, you ask your engagement question, then you follow the rest of the process I have, the problem recognition. Once you got problem recognition, you smoothly transition to identifying their role to make sure which one of the five roles they are and if they're the right one. Then you move on into qualifying them on pricing. So one of the ways I do it is very simple and it's worked no matter what industry I'm in. I give a price range. If you're that far into the sales conversation, right, before you're about to do the demo, and you ask the right questions, you qualify them on the problem, you identify their role, you should have a really good idea on a low- end to high- end of what they're going to fall between. So if I call somebody and they have 10 sales reps, for example. I go, " Listen, you only have 10 sales reps. You're going to be anywhere between say, three grand, five grand, depending on a few things, for me to train your entire team. So if you really like what we have to offer, is that doable for you?" It's either going to be yes, no, or maybe. If it's yes, okay cool. I move on, I go to the presentation. When I go for the close, guess what I'm not going to hear? " We don't have it in the budget." They already said that they have it within that price. You're laughing. They have that within that price range. Now, I would never do that if we back up two steps. Remember, I said there's five roles in the decision- making process. I would have never gone to qualify them on pricing if they weren't one of the right roles in that, because then I'm asking somebody that can't answer that question. You understand? That's why it's so important. That's why I gave you the example of the road map. You drop in New York City, you got to get to California. Dude, I'm giving you a GPS, I'm giving you the vehicle and all the gas that you need to get there, and you just got to follow the path. And then, as you get to certain detours, you'll know what to do. Most sales people make it like a inaudible, they just get dropped. They don't even have a compass, right? And this is why they don't want to pick up the phone, because they've been taught to pick up the phone and to their credit, they were never properly trained right. They didn't take it upon themselves or the companies that they worked for didn't take it upon themselves, or they didn't get the right type of training that they needed. And they kept trying and they kept trying and they kept failing and running into dead ends. And anybody's going to not want to do something if it keeps failing over and over. And this is why you got to sharpen your skills so fine and you got to increase your critical thinking skills to find the right solution that makes the most sense for you to sharpen your skills to be successful. And when you do that and then you segment your list, like you mentioned, then you just got to put the work in. It's never going to be easy, but you can make it easier and more profitable, but you got to fix the other things. You got to fix your sales skills. crosstalk
Host: Okay, this has been a master class. I'm laughing. You busted me, you said" You're laughing." The reason I'm laughing, I mean, you guys wouldn't know this but this is my process, right? When I interview incredible people like Michael, whose mind you can see. You can see, it's just like" Oh, it's firing." The neurons are going and I'm just trying to hold on for dear life to keep up. I take notes and so if you ever hear typing in the background that's what it is and I apologize. I know Daniel, my producer, yells at me" Enough, stop!" But Daniel, it is what it is, man. And so I'm right now, I mean the qualification, you got engagement questions, phase one, phase two, phase three. And as soon as you did phase one you said problem recognition is a series of questions, right? inaudible you're doing your thing. I made a note here. I said, " That starts setting value and expectations for pricing." You get to phase three, where you say, " Now you're going to qualify them on pricing." Remember that? " I'll start it back in phase one," and I'm like, " Yes!" I was laughing because I could see that coming a mile away, but that's exactly what you were doing. It was very much guided. Now, what I loved about this, I mean, is this not a great episode, folks? Where you talked about qualification, the biggest change when I came on board as its Chief Revenue Officer, that I endeavored to implement and met much resistance, because people don't like to change. I get it. I'm not judging you. People are creatures of habit and I was disrupting their flow. As I said, " I don't want to see a single fricking demo ever fricking happen without qualifying them first." I said, " You're wasting your time when you could be prospecting. You need to qualify them out," so the only way to do that is by doing what you're doing here, which goes back to the importance of having a sales methodology and framework that does all this, which we've talked about before in past episodes, folks. So may I ask you this question? Do you truly, deeply, intrinsically know your sales methodology while you do it? This just in. It's not because your management thinks you need to do that, it's just the process and you don't believe in it. This is why you have it, and I love what you said. I mean, there's so much you've said here. You talked about that there are five roles. I agree, there's five roles, all right? And that's why often a buying committee will be five to 10 people and often you'll have people having multiple roles or multiple people in the same roles, whatever, you get the idea. But what's important that we don't talk about often is what Michael talked about, which was so subtle, so fast. He said, " If they're not the right role, this person ain't going to be buying what you want to sell," which is another whole conversation we're not going to have today, which is how do you transition into finding out who the right people are? And we talked about that on a very recent episode where I referenced a line from Luigi Prestinenzi, and there's lots of lines. I'm sure Michael's got his own line too. He simply said, " When you've made a purchase like this before in the past, who's typically involved and how did that process go?" which is not threatening at all. It's just saying, " Historically, what was it like last time?" All right? Therefore, you don't have to worry about offending anybody. That way you can start identifying all the other buyers in process and then reach out to them. So I love this, so let's kind of recap a little bit here, because we have so much going on here. It's been crazy. We talked about this whole thing folks, this whole conversation Michael talked about how there's a lot of misinformation what a cold call is, which bridged into why you need to do it right, which is, it's part of an omni- channel outreach and that a phone call is a touch. But you don't want to take shortcuts. You need to do all the steps because they all build up on aggregate to making an impression and get a meeting with them, which is the ultimate goal. Do not rely on just email. To do that, you need to know the top two to three pain points your audience is going to have if they're interested in your solution, which means you need to know the ideal customer profile and the personas. You need to hyper- segment your list so that you have a nice cold- calling plan so you can really personalize your messaging as opposed to being generic, all right? So those are some of the examples. You talked about the biggest thing about cold- calling is when people answer the phone, they don't know what to say or do. And there's a time constraint on that, and Michael walked you all through that. We talked about that opening salvo, the pique their interest. We talked about three different templates. inaudible the straight up pitch, the competition, or the referral. Lots of great stuff here. And then he said, " Once you're there, now you're moving into the qualification," which all starts with an engagement question. So phase one is problem recognition, which is a series of questions, which goes back to your sales methodology. You should have that all documented, tied to your ICP and your persona, which goes back to phase two, which is identifying their role in the decision- making process. There's five different roles, which I'm not going to tell you what they are. You're going to reach out to Michael directly and say, " Michael, what are those five different people? I want to know." Then phase three is, you're going to qualify them on a pricing because you want to set their expectations up front and early so when it gets to... Remember he talked about the four stages of buying? When you get into the actual negotiation stage, you want to resolve this here in the qualification stage. So you're setting up expectations early on. You're establishing your value, which all went back to the engagement question. It sounds so simple when Michael says it.
Michael: It is. It's so simple to me, right? But I've been a straight commission sales rep forever and every mistake every salesperson's ever made, I've already made. At one time I started working it backwards. And I would spend money on myself, others, trainers and I would take the little things here and there and I'd fine tune it, but then I just worked it out towards this process. But it's like if you're going to learn how to play guitar, the blues scale is very straightforward, very easy, but you can't just watch it once unless you're just born with that gift, your hands are touched by God or something. But you're going to have to practice it over and over again. You have to go back and you have to go back and you have to go back and you have to re- watch it. And that's why what I've found is, since as sales people we have the attention span of a squirrel, I created a bunch of short, little videos all on demand, so when somebody signs up they just go and they can just re- watch it and then go on the phones. And they can go back and re- watch it and go on the phones, because you really need that repetition to really sink it through and really learn. But then that's why also, we give you assignments to use for your individual sales teams to work together on these things, because iron sharpens iron and listen, I think I've said this on this podcast before. The only thing sales people hate more than cold- calling is role- playing, but iron sharpens iron but you have to learn the right thing. This is where your critical thinking skills are going to have to come in. You have to learn what is really the right thing for me to learn to make the most money on the phones? And when you find that, whether it's me, anybody else, you have to put the work in. I mean, you have to practice it. We'll leave it with this. I have a daughter that's an actress. I see her practicing all the time before she goes on set. I got another one who's played at an extremely high level of hockey and nobody's seen the amount of hours at 5:00 a. m. every day, getting up, hitting the ice before school and then eventually going to school to play for it, right? You got to put that stuff and sales is the same way. I mean, as a straight commission sales rep, when I first got into it and really started to thrive as an inside sales rep, I was up early. I was popping in sales tapes into a VCR. Half your audience isn't even going to know what a VCR is. I was popping that stuff and eating my breakfast, watching some of these sales videos, and then listening to yes, tapes, books on tape like cassette tapes, on my way to work. Listening, feeding that stuff, so you have to constantly be feeding yourself. Sales is the only profession that I know is that you can live like a rock star without having to sell albums. The better you get at selling, the more money you can earn, the more freedom you have. It's just a great scenario, but on the flip side, it's tough, man. It's tough, so the better you are and the more organized you are, the better success you'll have or you're not going to be happy. With that being said, next time I'll show you what my number one, best- performing cadence was. Once you have all the sales skills, how do you put it in action? We'll talk about that next time. How does that sound?
Host: That's next time. That's a teaser. I love that. He left you waiting. Look at that, you're going to come back, right? Now, he made a guitar reference there, for those of you who don't know, a little- known tidbit about Michael. He's an acclaimed, self- declared'80s guitar shredder, so check that out. Michael, one of the things you made mention here is something I keep on saying to my audience over and over again. You need to invest in yourself. Learning is earning, I like to say, and too many people are reticent to invest in themselves and that's a mistake. crosstalk And you talked about it. You talked about how you did it yourself and that's how you learn. You took bits and pieces of it, that's how you learned. So let's talk about that. They want to learn from you. I've heard you talk about some of your self- training courses. I've heard you talk about videos, I'm sorry, talk about an eight- week training course. If they want to learn more about the options that you provide for training, because they've been blown away with you on this session today, what's the best way to do that?
Michael: They just go to SalesBuzz. com, fill out a quote, you'll get the information you need if you sign up right online. If you're a larger team, five or more, you should call us or fill out the quote and we'll call you, whatever. That's fine. Also, our blog post has a lot of this stuff but there's YouTube out there. Just keep feeding yourself, right? Just keep feeding yourself information. You've had lots of guests on here that I've listened to that had some really good advice. But the point is, use your critical thinking skills, but if you're not succeeding... Too many sales reps are looking for that shortcut, and I'm telling you, it can be easier, but it's never going to be easy. And if it was, you wouldn't be getting paid the commission you would be, right, so you've got to learn to really focus on what the steps are and become the best at it, and then you're going to start making more money. It really is that simple.
Host: Bringing it back to today's hot button because we always go back to the starting point. We started talking about the misinformation of what a real cold call is, and why you need to do it, and then we just went with it from there. That's where we began, that's where we're going to end it up. It's been a fantastic conversation, folks. If you loved this show, if you thought this was dynamite, share this with your friends and your colleagues. Follow us, subscribe, get the news out there. Get this content with Michael in the hands of your teammates. Share it! And then have a book report where you all kind of pitch in what you thought. Was he right? Was he wrong? I'm telling you, there's so much to unravel here, but most importantly, go to SalesBuzz. com. Michael, as always, I'm thrilled you're here. Thank you, my friend. Folks, we're out of time! It's crazy nuts that way, isn't it? But don't worry, we'll be back next week. In the meantime, you take care. And you can be guaranteed. Next time we meet, I'm going to ask you how you're doing, so send me those emails as I asked you to at the start of this whole show, on one word describing how you're doing. My name is Darryl Praill. I'm with VanillaSoft, and this my friends is the INSIDE Inside Sales Show. Take care. Bye- bye.