This past weekend I completed my first ever Tough Mudder event, “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet.” It is described as a 10-12 mile mud run straight up the face of Mount Snow in Vermont, complete with 26 obstacles designed by British Special Forces, and meant to test each Mudder on strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. For me, it was more like 10 miles of vertical Hell flavored with 26 twisted obstacles, each meant to test my preparation (or lack thereof), tact, and ever-pressing urge to push my limits.
Whilst waddling into work on Monday, sore in places I didn’t know I could work out, I thought about how my Tough Mudder experience could help in my day-to-day teleprospecting efforts. The parallel seems a little ridiculous, but the truth is, the main reasons I was able to get through last Saturday’s event are the same reasons I’ve been successful teleprospecting.
1. Preparing for every dial you make is crucial to your success.
To start, I’d like to acknowledge the importance of preparation. In the days leading up to Tough Mudder, I began to panic a little that the half-ass jogs I had been taking my dog Rondo on after work weren’t going to prepare me enough for Tough Mudder. Standing at the bottom of every climb throughout the course, I cursed myself for not running more, not hiking enough, not preparing properly. The same goes for my teleprospecting dials. In the minutes leading up to a scheduled call, or when a prospect unexpectedly answers my 10th call, if I haven’t prepared enough, I begin to panic. More often than not, I’ll hang up the phone and think of all the different ways I could have handled their objections or all of the more relevant questions I could have asked them. The fact of the matter is, whether you’re training to become the Toughest Mudder out there, or getting ready for your 75th dial of day, preparation is crucial to your success.
2. Qualifying leads is not a trick but a skill.
The beauty of Tough Mudder is that it’s not a race, but a challenge. In the same way, qualifying leads is not a trick, but a skill. Sometimes I’ll overhear one of the newer BDR’s try out the trick-line, “Sure, I’d be happy to send you some more information. Would it be okay if I have my colleague follow up next week to answer any questions you may have?” Tricking someone into a phone call is not qualifying leads, it’s appointment setting. That’s why here at AG we strive to qualify every prospect on 5 points – Current Technology/Strategy, Pains/Needs, Timeframe, Decision Making Process, and Budget. By doing so, we can deliver fully qualified opportunities to our sales reps, not just set up appointments for them. It’s not about how many leads you can pass. It’s about how many quality opportunities you can add to your client’s pipeline.
3. No matter how well prepared you are for each dial, every prospect will present different obstacles.
Finally, the most important thing that Tough Mudder helped me realize was that there is no way to prepare for every possible obstacle. Some people trained by running in the pouring rain, taking freezing cold showers, or pumping out 50 chin-ups a day. Sure, all of this helps prepare a Mudder-in-training physically, but Tough Mudder is just as much about mental toughness as it is about physical strength. The same is true in teleprospecting. Sure, following a proven call plan can be helpful and getting to know the ins-and-outs of your technology is a great idea, but at the end of the day, not every prospect is going to be interested in what you have to say. At AG, we try to combat this obstacle by training our BDR’s to engage prospects in real conversations and we try to steer away from product dumping and interrogation-like questioning.
You’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them.