Historically, the “ABCs” acronym of outbound telemarketing campaigns referred to an approach where the salesperson should Always Be Closing. This approach still applies in some settings, but in today’s market, the “ABC” approach adopted by most successful campaigns stands for Always Be Conversing.
The mantra of “Always Be Closing” taught sales representatives to do everything possible during interactions with one goal in mind: close the deal. In some settings, this tunnel-vision goal can backfire, resulting in overly pushy salespeople, unhappy customers, and lost revenue.
Today’s buyers don’t fall for the same old sales pitches. Potential customers receive more solicitation contacts now than ever since sellers have many contact channels at their disposal. Additionally, buyers have more available ways of purchasing than they did when the old “ABC” approach was the standard, and telephone and conventional mail were the normal selling channels. Buyers today prefer soft sales conversations, a chance to get to know the person selling to them while receiving details on the benefits of the products or services offered. A conversational selling approach is highly effective and provides the best ROI on your campaign. It is more about connections and conversations, not unrelenting sales pitches.
Conversational Selling Approach
A conversational sales approach should focus on discovering pain points, understanding challenges, defining obstacles, and identifying opportunities.
The traditional sales mindset is to deliver a strong sales pitch. There is a place and time for that approach, but it’s not recommended for the initial interaction. You want to present yourself and your offer effectively, but your first goal must be to learn more about the potential customer with whom you speak. Asking probing questions will help you discover the challenges they face, problems they want to solve, and reservations they may have about buying from you. A natural, two-way conversation without high pressure also allows for building credibility and talking about your company and offer without coming across too aggressively to improve lead generation.
Selling Without Harassing
When you use traditional sales language, prospects can’t help but think about the salesperson stereotype, making it much harder to establish a position of trust. And without trust, it is much harder for a prospect to believe your offer is the right fit for them. Shifting your mindset away from the “Always Be Closing” approach alleviates some of the pressure of the discovery-based initial contact, where buyers often feel there is a hidden sales agenda from moment one. When focused on learning about the company and buyer, you can present your offer as a way to help them solve an issue you’ve identified instead of pushing to close an unqualified sale. This soft sales approach typically results in prospects engaging in the buying process voluntarily, often answering questions you haven’t even asked instead of you trying to force them into providing details they don’t wish to share.
Building Relationships Pays Dividends
Most top-performing salespeople claim their sales style is “relationship-oriented” rather than “transaction-based.” Establishing rapport takes time, but the increased ROI is more than enough to make it worthwhile.
It helps to take the time needed to learn as much as possible about the customer you’re selling to, their buying process, needs, and pain points. When handled properly, there is a payout, but it might take a few interactions. For example, you might contact a prospect who isn’t quite ready to make a purchase when you first engage with them, but since you established a rapport, good results may still come to pass. By building a relationship with that person, your follow-up actions will be more warmly received and help your chances of achieving a sale. And if your solution isn’t the right fit, creating rapport can still be beneficial. Everyone knows how valuable references are. As a result of your friendly conversations, the person you spent time with is more likely to recommend you, thanks to your professional, soft sales approach.
Conversations vs. Interrogations: Successful Discovery Calls
So, what does a good sales conversation sound like? Gong.io, a B2B sales intelligence platform, analyzed more than half a million discovery-based call recordings to learn what differentiates successful salespeople from their less successful peers. Among the findings, Gong.io discovered the more times you “take turns” in the conversation while talking with a prospect, the higher your likelihood of success. In other words, the more that back-and-forth dialogue takes place, the better your odds. You always learn much more while listening, so remember the goal is dialogue, not a monologue. Also, this is where your active listening skills factor in, allowing you to piggyback additional prompting questions in the conversation because of what you hear.
The findings from the study show successful salespeople employ a conversational strategy, one in which the discovery calls feel like casual chats versus interrogations. They strategically present their questions throughout the entire conversation in a balanced, natural way instead of making it sound like they’re going through a checklist of questions. The data reflects that top-performing salespeople speak 25% less than under-performing peers. This outcome directly results from engaging buyers in conversation, listening more and talking less while they provide the details you seek, often without you even having to ask for them.
Quality Results and High ROI
In any business development role, you can expect better results by initiating non-threatening conversations where you identify buyers’ needs and present how your offer specifically addresses those needs.
The “ABCs” that Telecom, Inc. focuses on most are more in line with the “Always Be Conversing” or “Always Be Capturing (information)” approach than the “Always Be Closing” method of the past. Unless you are managing a transactional-based campaign consisting of low-price products, we recommend the soft sales course of building relationships with buyers through professional, engaging conversations designed to capture a buyer’s needs, intent and timing. When the time is suitable for a closing, sales-focused presentation, the best closers on the team can leverage the critical data we capture.
Learn More from Telecom, Inc.
Telecom’s diverse, seasoned, educated, and expertly trained staff, overseen by experienced managers, represents the foundation of our many successful business development campaigns. We have nearly 30 years of experience, and our staff is based entirely in the United States. We offer numerous outbound-focused service solutions, all custom-designed to achieve your campaign objectives. Contact us to learn more about how our approach will drive increased ROI for your next business development-based campaign.