This blog was contributed to VENTUREAPP by Alex Berman, chief marketing sumo at InspireBeats, a business offering all-in-one lead generation, lead research, and personalized prospecting solution for startups.
Are you used to having hour or multi-hour meetings with clients to pitch services? Maybe you bring them into the office, get them coffee, set up the whole room, etc. I know I’ve even held a free half-day workshop for a deal that never closed.
These are all a big waste of time and money — not to mention the cost of opportunity. As a general rule, you should know that no matter how large the deal is, people prefer short, concise meetings.
Keeping calls short and effective are beneficial for both parties. Let me give you an example of how this looks from the provider’s point of view:
I’m the chief marketing sumo at InspireBeats. We do lead generation and outreach. Our clients’ average lifetime value is of $20k, and I sell our services with 20 minute calls.
On a typical day I fit 6-8 meetings, whilst maintaining a 23-24% close rate. This results in 1-2 sales per day, and leaves me with a lot of time for other tasks.
If that sounds like something you want, keep reading and let’s see what you can do to get similar results:
- Set default meeting times of 20 minutes
Parkinson’s law says that the amount of time something takes expands to fill the amount you give it. Simply put: if you make a meeting an hour, it will last an hour.
On the other hand, if you make a meeting 20 minutes, the meeting is going to have to last 20 minutes. Both you and your lead will know everything has to get done in that timeframe.
To make this an automatic part of your process, my suggestion is to use a calendar app and set the default event time to 20 minutes. Almost nobody will ask for longer meetings — they’re just going to accept what the default time is.
Some great calendar apps you can use are X.ai, ScheduleOnce, and (my personal favorite) Calendly.
Bonus tip: When using Calendly, keep call booking emails as simple and short as possible. Here’s an example of an email I recently used:
“Great to be in touch! Fairly open next week — do any of the times here work for you?
- Have only one agenda item
Once you make the shift to 20 minute calls, further encourage short meetings by having only one agenda item. The only one for your sales calls should be finding out if they’re a good fit.
To do this, you start the meeting by asking your qualification questions, and then explaining your business to get their interest.
Important note: the order of these initial parts is very important. First focus on understanding your client’s needs/wants, and then use that knowledge to increase your close rate.
Also note you should try to close on the first call only if they’re very eager. Otherwise just see if they’ll buy eventually.
If you’re wondering how to structure such short calls, here’s a simple outline you can use:
- Pitch your company in 2 sentences (give them a reason to listen closely)
- Have them explain their company (qualification questions)
- Ask your closing questions (if they’re interested)
- Confirm next steps
These are the only four things you have to accomplish on this initial call. From experience, I can tell you it can be done in as little as 5 minutes. It only takes 20 minutes if you have complex products or they have very detailed questions.
- Answer all other questions over email
Your potential customers are really busy. They’re running/managing successful companies, or else they wouldn’t be able to afford your services. They don’t want to waste time on calls with salespeople — they just want to get work done.
As a result, keep in mind that calls, video chats, and in-house meetings all serve the same purpose: To build relationships.
Such live interactions make people feel more comfortable with their decision to buy from you. This is because you are human and they met you — a feeling that is very hard to convey over text.
If your goal is to generate win-win situations (and not just take their money), they’ll feel you’re honest and are going to treat them right.
The best part is you can build a relationship with one quick call, and do everything else over email. Only call them if they haven’t responded to several emails in a row and you’re wondering where they are.
Final tip: If you want faster responses, use a chat app like Skype.
And that’s it. Use these 3 simple steps and you’ll be shocked at how much more productive your sales process will be.
If you’re looking for qualified and targeted leads or an outbound sales solution that’s completely hands off, check out our VENTUREAPP profile.