If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know we’re big advocators of warm calling over cold calling when it comes to doing BD in recruitment.
But once you’ve taken the time to warm up your prospect, and you’re finally picking up the phone to have that initial sales call with them, what can you do to ensure that first call leads to new business?
Here’s my tried and tested step-by-step guide to making the perfect warm call…
Step 1: Plan what you’re going to say
If you pick up the phone without planning what you’re going to say first, you’ll come across unprepared and run the risk of turning your warm prospect cold again.
So before you jump on the call, remind yourself of the information you’ve gathered when researching both them and their business and avoid asking any basic questions you should probably already know the answer to.
So before you pick up the phone, note down your essential questions and plan a start and end point for the call to keep you on track.
If it’s a particularly important prospect, you could even talk through your strategy with a colleague to get a second opinion and iron out anything that could derail the call.
And once you have a great plan in place, you’re sure to smash step two….
Step 2: Make a strong first impression
First impressions can make or break a sales relationship – and they’re absolutely crucial to having a positive sales call.
But the good news is, your prospect will already have a high opinion of you thanks to your efforts in warming them up prior to the call.
One of the best ways to do this is to keep small talk to a minimum and get down to business quickly. Start the call with something like:
“It’s great to finally speak to you and find out more about your plans for your team”.
Phrases like this are a great starting point because they get straight to the point of the call in a friendly way, and you’re reminding the prospect that you already know each other.
Step 3: Find out if you can help them
Unlike cold calling, warm calling gives you the opportunity to eliminate unsuitable prospects before you pick up the phone.
That said, it’s inevitable that a few unsuitable targets will still slip through the net, so it’s crucial that you uncover whether you can actually help the prospect early on.
Try asking some open opening questions to find out what challenges they’re facing at the moment and what they need from a recruitment agency.
For example, you could ask…
“What are the biggest recruitment challenges you’re facing?”
“What skills are missing from your team at the moment?”
If they’re not a good fit, don’t be afraid to cut the call short and admit you can’t help. When you’re honest about what you can (and can’t) offer, they’ll appreciate that you haven’t wasted their time and will be more likely to reach out to you in the future if their needs change.
If you establish the prospect is a good fit, you can move onto step four…
Step 4: Keep them talking
Once you’ve established that you can help your prospect, you need to get as much detail as you can from them about their challenges. Essentially, the more you know, the more effectively you can help your prospect.
Short questions and prompts like, “Tell me more about that” and “How is that affecting your business?” are great for getting prospects to open up and provide more details.
If you find you’re listening more than talking at this stage, don’t worry. The more a prospect talks about their challenges, the more likely you are to succeed at the close stage.
Just remember to stay in control of the conversation and don’t let your prospect stray off topic. Your plan from ‘step one’ will keep you on track and help you guide the discussion to reach the last step: closing the call!
Step 5: Close the call
The last and all-important stage of your warm call is providing a call to action. Never end the call without securing the next steps – otherwise, you can pretty much guarantee things won’t move forward.
To close the call, propose a solid next step using language that suggests you’re already working together. For example, “I think the best thing for us to do next is…”. This is subtle but engaging technique that’ll encourage your client to commit.
If the timing you suggest doesn’t work for your prospect, simply ask them what does work. This will stop you looking pushy and help you come to a mutual agreement.
And finally - it’s imperative you write down everything you agree to and follow up with the client afterwards exactly when and how you agreed to. You don’t want to sabotage your brilliant warm call with an unimpressive follow up!
Have you transitioned from cold calling to warm calling yet? Download the eBook below to learn how to warm up your BD strategy and win more business.