There’s a memorable scene in the blockbuster film, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Former stockbroker Jordan Belfort is leading a session in front of a room of salespeople. To illustrate a point, he goes up to a guy in the audience, hands him a pen, and says, “Sell me this pen.”
The salesman nervously takes the pen and begins describing its qualities. Unimpressed, Belfort calls on a second and then a third salesman to give it a shot.
But they don’t do much better.
How specific should you get? You have to go really deep. “You should know the top three industries that normally buy from you,” Michael says in our conversation. You might sell to people in many more industries, but you should know the top three super well.
“You should know location, average employee size, average revenue size,” Michael explains. “These are basics. You should be able to know how to pick your zebra out of the herd.”
This was one of several excellent tips Michael shared on an episode of the INSIDE Inside Sales podcast. Read on for highlights from our conversation about reducing sales objections (and making sales more fun).
The secret sauce for overcoming sales objections
When it comes to sales objections, Michael flips the script.
“It’s not [set] in stone that you have to have those objections,” he points out, adding that he prefers to reduce objections early in the sales process — so that you’re only getting them around 20 percent of the time.
Now, this doesn’t mean you go and throw out your scripts for handling objections. You still need to be well prepared to handle them because it will make you a better salesperson. You definitely want to master how your solution works, why it addresses customer pain points, and what differentiates it from other options on the market.
Back to minimizing sales objective: Michael’s approach stems from knowing your target customer really well — having a clear sense of their industry, size, etc. Once you’re dealing with a prospect who meets that criteria, you should also be very clear on their problem — the problem that your product or service can solve.
“Calling and saying: tell me about your needs — is so old and outdated,” Michael says.
“Most salespeople go wide instead of deep,” he explains. “Because they don’t want to lose any sales, so they want to take anybody and everybody, and the problem is you spread yourself too thin. You want to go deep.”
Know your audience + know their problem = $$$.
All leads are NOT created equal
So you’ve gotten hold of a prospect with the “right” title, and you’ve managed to set an appointment. You’re meeting your objective, right?
Nope, says Michael. “That’s not qualifying.” He stresses that you have to do a precise job of qualifying your leads. But how do you do that?
Short answer: Look at things from your prospect’s perspective. Michael advises you to consider the following:
- Do they have a problem your solution can fix?
- Can they afford what you’re selling?
- Is your contact actually able to make purchasing decisions?
This really shouldn’t be about just hitting your numbers. As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), you’re going to be in a much better position if you set quality meetings for the Account Executive.
Nail your opening value statement
Once you have the specifics of your target customer down and you’ve qualified appropriately, the next step is to do the reach out.
And if your Opening Value Statement (OVS) isn’t on point, things can quickly go wrong.
Why? A lot of SDRs make their OVS all about them — rather than what it solves for the prospect.
Structure your OVS “to agitate a pain or scratch and itch,” Michael advises. And you definitely should not start out with a sales pitch.
Another word of advice: “You have to think in the words of Twitter … Your opening value statement has to be very short and sweet,” Michael says.
Sample sales script with a strong OVS
During our conversation, Michael offers the following example:
Hi, this is Michael Pedone with SalesBuzz.com, and the reason for my outreach is my course on inside sales actually helps outbound sales teams learn how to get decision-makers on the phone so they can increase your pipeline. If I caught you at a good time, I’d love to ask you a few questions just to see if what we have to offer may be of some help to you. Would that be okay?
Simple, yet effective for three important reasons:
- This short and sweet OVS piques interest right away because Michael mentions a problem he can solve
- He gained permission to continue the call, so the prospect drops their guard and is open to listening
- The more control you give away, the more you retain. By sharing the control, as he does in this example, he’s turning resistance into interest before the resistance happens
“My style is to pique interest and gain permission to continue the call,” Michael explains. Once they signal they’re open to hearing more, he can start engaging them in the qualifying phase.
Use this strategy and boom; you’re well on your way.