I reached out to someone the other day after seeing that they requested a trial.
I did my research. Then I started to reach out to them. From my research, from looking at the company, and the conversion I knew that I needed to reach out and FAST.
Here is an example of when I screwed up when I reached out TOO LATE. I hope they are helpful for you in your sales prospecting and get you thinking about the right ways to reach out.
When we transitioned to a territory model I didn't completely have a grasp on how to use our CRM the best for territories. I was figuring things out and therefore some leads that converted when I first transitioned to my territory fell through the cracks. Not because I didn't want to call them but because I didn't see them. Then one day I found a report on leads that had converted a long time ago, leads in my territory that were never worked, etc.
My face probably looked like this:
I wasn't sure what to do but the first thing that seemed like the natural, right thing to do was to research the leads and figure out which ones I wanted to work. Then start working them.
I thought it would make sense to actually tell those leads via email, vmail or if I actually caught them on the phone that I messed up. Explain what had happened and why it took me so long to follow up...
My motto is always tell the truth. Well this worked for me with a good portion of those leads and they understood but a few didn't like it and were annoyed. I thought rightly so. If they were investigating and researching software and never heard from the rep - how good can the company be right? But, that wasn't the case so I thought tell them the truth. They will get it and understand that things happen.
I got a few different kinds of responses. Some of the responses to my truth of why I was just following up on things like trial leads, demo requests (etc, high quality leads...you get my point- they should have been called right away) were nice and some were not at all.
Some of the people who had converted months ago understood after I explained and some told me that my outreach was bad and that got me thinking.
What the heck? How could the truth be bad or not good? I always tell the truth in sales. ALWAYS. So I just figured that people would respond with welcome arms. HA. I learned something that day. But, I am not sure how much I want to take this experience to heart. I do think that I learned that if I ever transition to another territory or role in sales where I get a whole new batch of leads or something that I quickly need to figure out what is in there. There are probably easy operational ways to do this like reports. Now I know what kinds of reports I would create. That is good. I learned that and can take that with me for the future.
But, I really, really don't think that I should stop telling the truth.
If you were in that situation would have told the truth or would it have been better to not just call them at all? I feel like that would have been a waste of potentially good leads who still did want to talk to me. I am probably honing in on this one time when someone didn't like how I prospected them too much but let me tell you I was shocked.
I normally get responses from the people I am prospecting like this:
Usually people appreciate my outreach because it is personalized and real. I am always truthful and honest as to why I am reaching out. Even if what I am reaching out about is not timely or they aren't interested they usually tell me I am a good sales rep and good job on how I reached out. So I was a little shocked. Honestly shocked. I thought about what I did wrong and wondered how I should have reached out without telling the truth on why I was following up so LATE.
I asked the lead about what he would have preferred me to do in reaching out with the situation I was in. I was just telling the truth and thought that was the right thing to do. He was basically mean and I just thought well, heck what am I going to do. I told him sorry, etc. He didn't care, so oh well. I lost one lead.
LESSON from this lead- I still think you should always tell the truth but if you mess up somehow say sorry and tell them why you did the thing you did, the way you did it. Maybe that will get them to think a bit that you obviously didn't mean to annoy them or anything.
Always just try your best and be honest.
If that doesn't work then it probably has nothing to do with you and maybe they are having a bad day or are just mean.
Maybe they are not worth your time.
So don't get yourself in this situation like I did. Always research your new leads and open leads. Reach out quickly and appropriately. If you don't you might miss the chance to try to sell to them. The only ever time I have seen this happen is when I somehow didn't reach out for like a week or something because I was on vacation and they decided in that time that they were going with someone else.
My motto in sales is always do things the right way, all the time. Whatever feels right. If you want more chances at bat and more chances to sell...one thing that you can do that is super, super easy is to just follow up FAST and reach out FAST. That goes for opportunities you are currently working in the sales process as well as net new leads you are going to work. Follow up quickly because if you don't some other rep might.
Last story- I talked to someone else the other day and he told me that everyone was taking a long time getting back to him. I knew why too. It was because it was the holidays. It was around xmas and new years time. I got back to the person but he told me that everyone he was reaching out to was making it difficult to get on the phone and he wanted to make a decision by the end of the week/end of the year.
You just never know what the time line is for your lead so put yourself one step ahead of the competition and follow up and reach out right away.