Episode Forty-four

How the Phone Can Be Your Winning Secret for Prospecting

Guest: Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter

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About This Episode

Everywhere you look, there’s new advice on how to sell. But what if success is really just getting back to the basics? In this episode of The Sales Engagement podcast, Mark Hunter, AKA The Sales Hunter, joins us to chat about the sometimes overlooked sales tactics that can lead you to tremendous success.

Communication is Key

Sales begins with a conversation. As Mark said, “If I earn the honor and respect to meet with you again, I get to move you further along.”

And further along doesn’t just apply to the sales funnel. It means building that trust and authenticity with your prospects. When you take the time to engage with another person you create the opportunity to see where they are at in their life and how you can best help them.

And to get to that level of authenticity in terms of prospecting, it’s all about getting that conversation.

Most sales folks are taught to stick to a script when having conversations; there’s been a lot of talk on whether this is still good practice.

Mark equated the practice of the script to a Broadway play. When the actors come in to audition, they first read from a script, but by the time the curtain goes up, it’s so natural.

Mark explained, “My whole objective is to get you on the phone, engage you, and get a meeting set up. In our conversation, I’m going to learn something about you. I then have ‘playback’ information about you.”

How does “Playback” Work?

The key to playback is simple. Once the follow-up meeting is set, Mark responds with an email reiterating the details that were shared with him. Thus, expressing interest again in learning more about what the prospect has to say.

What does this do?

It shows:

  • He’s actually interested in what they have to say
  • They value what he has said
  • They then become easier to follow up and engage

This automatically creates a connection!

Mark Hunter Phone Prospecting

Another example is Steve Jobs. When Jobs came out with the iPhone, little did we realize that we needed music and a phone all in one device. How did he turn our perceptions around? He had to educate us, engage us, and educate and engage us again.

That’s what the sales process is.

In the end, he got us to realize that we needed to get rid of our flip phone and get an iPhone. This is sales. Educating a customer so they realize that you can solve their problem.

How Do You Turn a Script into a Conversation That Flows?

Mark Hunter Phone Prospecting Sales Engagement

Authenticity comes through when you are able to have a regular conversation.

“When you are yourself, you hear and listen a lot better,” exclaimed Mark. Remember, your prospect can see through the fact that you’re trying to use fancy words and sound smart. Again, take it back to the basics. Picture it like you’re talking to a friend. If you really believe that you can help that person, it will show through.

Building a Social Footprint

There are two sides to this:

One, you have to earn social capital to have the right to ask someone a question.

Two, if you can’t ask questions, you don’t really know how you can help someone.

How do you meld the two? By building a social footprint. Your message impact will be different depending on the messenger. And this is created by your social footprint. How that footprint is built is different depending on the role.

If you’re a sales person in a big company, you probably don’t have time to create a lot of good content. That’s what marketing is for. But what you can do is take 10 minutes to comment on that good content. Now if you’re a solo-preneur, you can put your own content out there. In addition, you still should share and comment on existing content.

As Mark sums it up, “Every minute you spend on social media, it has to earn it’s way.”

Don’t Rely on Social Media Exclusively

It’s fun, easy and cool to push out a post or a tweet. But you’d be doing yourself and your teams a disservice if that’s the main way you’re prospecting.

The reason people love social is that many times they are afraid to pick up the phone and talk. As Mark explained, “I want to create an online presence to get to the offline conversation.”

Creating a solid footprint will build authority and reputation so that prospects will feel comfortable doing business with you.

So how does Mark order the importance for how much time is spent where?

“Hands down #1 is the telephone. #2 is email and #3 is social. What I see sales folks doing is social first and then they miss the best 2 hours a day to make their calls. They then go to email and realize that the day is over,” he explained.  

This made us wonder about the ever popular social selling. Mark was very clear on this tactic,  “I hate it. Just because I’m connected to you does not give me the right to automatically start selling to you.” How many times do you connect with someone on LinkedIn and immediately they send you a message trying to sell you something?

You get this little annoying feeling. So as Mark told us, just don’t do it. “It’s social first, education second and then selling third, once you’ve owned the right,” he explained.

What Are We Left With?

The takeaways here are simple.

  1. Make it a point to get on the phone and have conversations.
  2. Be authentic, not scripted when talking to folks. Goal is to flow like a Broadway play.
  3. Build a social footprint, but don’t rely on social media as your one and only prospecting tactic.

Remember, if you’re in sales, you HAVE to talk to people. Don’t be afraid of the phone.

This blog is from an interview with Mark Hunter. Find it engaging? Subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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