How to Build Rapport on a B2B Sales Call

Seven seconds. That’s how quickly busy executives can form an impression about you and the reason for your call. For you, it’s the difference between a successful B2B sales call and a hang up.

If you’re cold calling and connect with a decision maker, and don’t want to be left listening to the dial tone, you’ll make every second—and every sentence—count. Open your call with a powerful, succinct message designed to intrigue and hint at the value you have to share.

Professional telemarketing agents will tell you, it’s not the slick pitch that closes the deal. And there’s no magical trick or gimmick to opening doors. Whether you’re inviting executives to your next seminar or scheduling a face-to-face meeting, it all comes down to how you present yourself, the way you set the tone for the call and how effectively you capture a prospect’s interest.

This seven-step blueprint will help you open your next B2B sales call on just the right note and build rapport rapidly:

  1. Introduce Yourself“Good morning, Mr. Wilson, I’m Mary French with __________.”

    As you tell prospects who you are, adopt a tone that sounds friendly and approachable while establishing that you’re speaking as one professional to another.

  2. Make a Connection“I hope you’re doing well and that your customers were enthusiastic about the introduction of ________ at last month’s annual user’s conference.”

    The success of your call hinges on your ability to make a positive emotional connection. Personalizing your message tells prospects that you’ve taken the time to know something about their business.

  3. Connect Personally“I’m calling today because your customer ________ is also a good customer of mine. Working with us, she’s increased company-wide productivity by 25% since last year, and she thinks we can do the same for you.”

    Cement your personal rapport by introducing a meaningful connection. Mention by name a mutual contact or customer. If you don’t have that, use a recent newsworthy event that connects your product or service to their business.

  4. State Your Purpose“________ just named us the New Generation Sales Intelligence Company of the Year for our ability to level the playing field for early-stage businesses. Our clients are growing their customer base at twice the rate of their competition. And we can help you to do the same.”

    In a sentence or two, state the reason for your call and the competitive advantage you offer. You’ll intrigue a prospect by suggesting how your success can become their success.

  5. Get a Yes“I know you’re busy, but if you can give me just five minutes, I’ll explain how you can use ________ to begin boosting your sales productivity in as little as two weeks.”

    You’ve made your opening pitch. Now give prospects an opportunity to consider what you’ve said and to give you the green light to continue. Their affirmation sends a positive message to the brain and makes it easier to say yes again when you get to the end of your sales call and present the call to action.

  6. Verify that You’re Speaking with the Senior Decision Maker“I understand that you’re [company’s name] Chief Revenue Officer. Is that right? Do you also authorize purchasing decisions for sales productivity technology?”

    By confirming the prospect’s title and purchasing authority, you’re also setting up another opportunity to get a yes.

  7. Transition Your Call into a Dialogue“Tell me how you’re handling _______ today.”

    As you transition out of your opener, you’re taking the conversation to a new level by signaling to prospects that their needs are important. You can listen without asking a lot of questions while still maintaining control and setting expectations for the call.

Getting Past the Gatekeeper

When reaching out to senior executives, you’re often faced with talking first to their gatekeepers—the administrative assistants who shield their bosses from unscheduled cold calls. While you often need to think on your feet and assess the conversation as it unfolds, you can prepare yourself with a few techniques:

  • Never try to sell the gatekeeper.
  • Be friendly but confident—after all you have the solution that the decision maker needs.
  • Introduce yourself with authority—as one professional calling to speak to another professional.
  • Remember, less is more. You don’t want to give the gatekeeper enough information to make a judgment call on behalf of the boss.
  • If you need to engage the gatekeeper and get him or her on your side, verify that you’re calling the right decision maker.

Getting Your Prospects to Yes

When enlisting the services of professional telemarketing agents, you can be confident that they are skilled at making B2B sales calls, presenting a strong opener and getting decision makers to say yes.

That said, even the best agents require your help. You need to provide the raw materials they can use to develop their opening lines and engage your prospects in conversation. In addition to the contact records, you’ll need to arm them with target market and audience insight, product information and the specific call to action/outcome you want.

With the right tools, experienced agents can express themselves naturally while establishing a conversational tone that comes across as genuine and intriguing. And they’ll never have to call a prospect and say, “Hi, I just wanted to call to see if there’s anything you need.” That’s an invitation for your prospect to hang up.

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