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The focus of an outbound sales rep is to introduce their company’s service or solution and effectively communicate its selling points — where it will save the prospective buyer time and money. Sounds easy enough right? Not so fast. Understanding your company’s product or service is one thing, but crafting a tailored pitch and articulating that pitch to the specific prospect is an entirely different matter. In order to effectively tailor and pitch your product or service to a prospect, you need to ask yourself the following.

Who are you calling and why?

Unless you’re in a massive call center responsible for upwards of 250 dials a day, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be creating tailored pitches for each of your accounts. Taking a more personalized approach to prospecting grabs the attention of the prospect and builds trust. Do your research before each call and dig up a personal detail or two you can connect on. Checking out a prospect’s LinkedIn or their company’s corporate team page are good places to start.

Are you speaking slowly enough?

Sales reps only have a 20 to 30 second runway to get the attention of a prospect before the prospect loses interest — or worse, hangs up. This restricted timeline can cause many reps to fall into the trap of speaking way too quickly. Speaking quickly can make you sound scripted, nervous or even unprepared. Changing your speaking pace may be uncomfortable at first, but I’d be willing to bet your pitch sounds much slower to you than it does to the person on the other end of the line. And, if you’re self conscious, do a few trial runs with your peers or managers.

Are you speaking confidently?

You need to be sure of what you’re selling because if you’re not confident in the product, there’s no way a prospect will be. Changing your speaking pace and really preparing for your calls should up your confidence level. The best sales reps are, by nature, outgoing, but if you’re not feeling as confident as you should be, you may just need a few calls to get warmed up.

Do you know why the prospect is not interested?

It’s amazing to me how many reps leave a call where a prospect claimed to not be interested and yet the rep has no idea why. Always walk away from a call with a new piece of information even if that information is a little hard to swallow. You’ll gain some useful feedback you can use to change your own pitch or that you can pass onto the marketing or product teams.

Cold calling can be a grind. And it can be even more taxing if you get turned down call after call. Remembering to think through the four steps above can help you deliver more polished, confident and personalized pitches, all in the hopes of moving more prospects further down the funnel.

Michael Silinonte. (2015). 4 THINGS YOUR SALES REPS SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES WHEN PROSPECTING. Available: http://labs.openviewpartners.com/sales-prospecting/#.WO9K7NIrKM8. Last accessed 13/04/2017.

4 Things Your Sales Reps Should Ask Themselves When Prospecting

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