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Information Extraction via Teleprospecting


As I've covered in my last few Blogs, persistence and time management are the common traits I see in my successful teleprospectors. This got me to thinking about the small things they do that make a difference when dialing.

When I listen in on calls with them, the thing that stands out to me most is that they task themselves with extracting as much information as they can with each person they contact, from Administrative Assistants on up to the decision makers. Now I may be coming across like Captain Obvious here, but how many times have we allowed an assistant to just pass us through to a voicemail? How often do you receive a response back? Basically you really have gotten nothing out of that dial and from our estimates there is a 2% likelihood of a response. With that pitiful percentage staring you in the face, you need to maximize every interaction you have with each person you contact within the organization. Even the smallest bit of information makes a difference, and can help to get you that much further along in the prospecting process.

Let's use assistants as an example. Now, I'm not saying they will always be a source of thorough information, but at the very least they can provide you with another contact to speak with if you are having trouble getting through to a VP or C-Level contact:

BDR: ...before you pass me through to a voicemail, would he/she be appropriate person to speak regarding your outbound teleprospecting?

Assistant: Well, I'm not entirely sure.

BDR: No problem. Typically I find that a Director of Marketing would also be responsible for this- do you know of someone that works below so-and-so at that level?

Assistant: Yes, you can also talk to Mr. Johnson - he reports directly to my boss.

BDR: Perfect. Thank you. Do you happen to have Mr. Johnson's direct line? While I have you, do happen to have his email address as well?

There is really nothing novel going on with this conversation, but we didn't allow ourselves to get brushed off by a gatekeeper wanting to dump us into their boss' voicemail.

My point is that if you should force yourself to ask that one extra question you are hesitant to ask on each and every call. A sales trainer that I worked with many years ago, Geoff Alexander, calls it the "Columbo" approach. More often than not, as you attempt to navigate through an organization a common response to our cold call looks like this:

Prospect:"I don't have the time to talk right now, give me a call tomorrow."

BDR: (Columbo Response)

"Sorry I caught you at a bad time, but before I let you go, could you provide me some insight on how you are generating actionable marketing leads for your sales team?"

It may take you 10 conversations to get to the right person, but if you receive a tidbit of info from each individual you talk to you along the way,(operating system, pains they are experiencing, how long it has been in place- etc..) you should be adequately prepped to have a healthy discussion when you finally get there.

Think about how smoothly a call would go when you do get the target contact on the phone:

BDR: Hi "target prospect." I was pointed in your direction as the appropriate person to speak to regarding your outbound teleprospecting initiatives.

Target Prospect: Yep that's me.

BDR: Great, well I understand you have been using XYZ Company over the past year with mixed results. Could you share with me what you were hoping to see improved on and what your goals are for teleprospecting in 2010?

Whether you uncover an opportunity or not, they should be impressed with your insight. At the very least, you will be on their radar when they ARE considering reevaluations.


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