Here is a common self-sabotaging lead generation behavior that you can stop immediately.
Do not evah (as we say in in Boston) refer to mailing, Emailing or sending something to a prospect when you get them to finally pick up the phone.
This is a great example of a sales behavior that at first glance looks like a reasonable sales practice. But, with a modicum of thought or analysis, is revealed to be a suicidal practice among sales representatives.
So let’s set up the scenario. You are calling a decision-maker within a targeted company because they fit squarely within a group that you know based on research is highly probable to contain future buyers that look like current accounts you wish to clone.
For some unknown reason you have determined it is a good idea to send something in advance of the call. A letter, a package, an email, whatever.
You call call call and finally get Mr. or Ms. Top Dog to pick up the phone. Someone who can authorize a check within a company you have determined has a high probability of buying what you offer, changing vendors or hiring you within the next 3 – 15 months picks up the phone and says “Hello.”
You start by mentioning your name and company and that you are following up on something sent.
There are only two sales lead scenarios here.
1. They remember getting your little “touch.” Or, 2. They don’t.
Let me share my reasoning when I called and what I preach in my training and why.
Scenario #1: If Your Lead Generation “Enhancing” Touch is remembered…
… how does it help you by mentioning it? If by some miracle they remember getting what you sent, how does it add to their knowledge of why they should meet with you by mentioning it again? And mentioning it upfront in your pitch during the most important few seconds of the conversation you have worked so hard to get?
If they got it, and remember it, they already know it, so you mentioning it again adds nothing to their knowledge about you and why they should meet. You are better off saying things that increase the odds that they will agree to meet with you.
Scenario #2: Your “prior to the Call” Sales Lead Touch is not Remembered…
… so mentioning it up front invites the very behavior you seek to avoid. A call that is cut short and goes nowhere. What do you hear when they don’t remember getting your pre-call touch? “Didn’t get it. Don’t remember it. Didn’t read it. So send it again.”
Here is Appointment Setting B2B Reality
99+% of the time that pre-call touch is not remembered and your call is immediately derailed. Rather than relating credibility and benefits and reasons to meet to someone you have determined has check writing authority within a high probability prospect company, you are verbally wrestling about sending it again, what is was and trying to get a call back on track that you, by your sales behavior and sales script choices, have caused to go off the rails.
But what about the very few that do remember getting your little love note? Isn’t it a good idea to mention it, to remind them of the inside sales love you have sent?
No it isn’t. Think about it. If they already know it, you burning up precious seconds to remind them of something they already know doesn’t help you.
Let’s assume another lead generation miracle.
Not only do they remember getting your appointment setting love note, it actually pre-disposed them of thinking positively of you. Whoa.
If that is the case, you increase the odds of achieving your business objective, scheduling a meeting, by giving them additional reasons to meet. Lay on the credibility, the benefits, the what they will get/learn if they meet with you even if they don’t buy stuff. Those things will help you. Burning precious seconds of time on things they already know doesn’t help you.
What if a decision maker within a high probability sales prospect company says “I think I got something from you.” Or “Didn’t you send me something?” What is the best response?
The best response is to deflect. You say “Probably did” or “Ya, we send some stuff out.” And then go right back to your plan of giving them more information that would enable them to conclude that you are worth their time right now.
I have never seen a pre-call touch lift b2b appointment setting call response.
I set more than 2,000 C-Level sales appointments. I have been teaching sales representatives to set sales appointments for 20 years. I have tested everything. I have seen it all. The good, the bad and they very ugly. I have known many many companies and individuals that sent out mail or emails prior to a call with the hope that it would lift appointment setting call response. I have never evah (as we say in Boston) seen a pre-call touch deliver better appointment setting results than just calling. Never evah.
Some believe that by sending a letter, a postcard or an email, that a cold call is now magically transformed into a warm call, and that it changes everything. That makes absolutely no sense to me. 99+% don’t remember getting it and the few that do barely remember it. It does not substantively change your situation. You are still calling a stranger.
PS: Please don’t think that the above means that I am against using direct marketing techniques to generate qualified sales leads. I am not. In fact, I believe strongly that you should test every avenue of cost effectively generating leads and should have multiple sales lead generation streams going for you. Using mail, email or other marketing tools to generate a qualified lead is very very different from what I speak about above. For example, many seem to think “mail is dead.” I don’t. Used correctly it can be a very important cog in your qualified lead generation engine.