In my last blog post, I discussed how to get past the gatekeeper. Let’s assume that you’ve broken through the gate and now you’re faced with new challenges in your quest for business-to-business lead generation. You either reach voicemail, or are put through to the decision maker and need to engage them in conversation.
Cracking the Voicemail Conundrum
More often than not, you end up battling with voicemail. What does it take to break through?
- Persistence is PowerfulNo one wants to hear this, but persistence is critical. Unless the decision-maker is screening out your call, you may eventually hit the lottery and reach them.
- Timing is Everythingso intelligently. Try your call again at different times of the day. You likely will find that higher level managers are easier to reach early in the morning, before they march into their first meeting, or late in the day when the office quiets down. Lunch time also holds promise. If you find a time when you can reach them, note that. It’ll be useful for making your next call.
- If all Else Fails, Leave a MessageAfter trying several times to reach someone, it’s time to leave a message. Simply state your name, company, and the purpose of your call. For example, “I tried to reach you to confirm your participation in our event” or “I was calling regarding the upgrade of your software.” Then leave your phone number and ask them to call you.
Unless you have done business with this person before, or are calling from a well-known company, you probably will not receive a return phone call. However, if you leave a message that sounds like you’re offering something beneficial, the person is more likely to take your call in the future.
Engaging the Decision Maker
- Be Courteous and ProfessionalWhen you reach the decision maker, tell them your name, company, and the purpose of your call. Be short and to the point.
And unlike the telemarketers who call you at home as you’re savoring a good meal, ask if you’ve reached them at a good time for a short conversation. This shows that you respect their time and acknowledge that they are busy. Of course, if they are on their way to a meeting or in the middle of a task that requires complete focus, ask when it would be convenient to call them back and make sure you call back at that time.
- Personalize the ConversationTo engage decision-makers in a conversation it helps to do some research. For example, check out your contact on LinkedIn, and, even more importantly, look what’s going on at the company. Are they growing? If so, what’s driving that growth?
You can use what you learn to guide an intelligent, relevant conversation. When you show that you understand their company, you distinguish yourself from the average telemarketer.
- Ask Questions…and ListenStart with open ended questions. This helps you to dig into the decision-makers situation, the problems they’re facing, and the implications. Once you understand this, it’s easier to see how your product or service can help. Paint a picture of how you can help them meet their objectives. End the call by proposing next steps, whether it’s another phone call or a face-to-face appointment with a salesperson.
When you know how to reach decision-makers and engage them, lead generation becomes easier.