If you’re in B2B sales and you’re cold calling executives in the C-suite, it’s probably for a good reason. Chances are that you genuinely believe that your offering can help their company make more revenue, increase productivity or achieve other worthwhile benefits. So you keep calling, but calls keep go unanswered. You leave voicemails, but never hear back. Sound familiar?
Sure, some C-level executives are just going to be too busy to call you back no matter what. But that’s okay. Sales has always been a numbers game. Luckily, with the right prospecting strategy, it’s a lot easier to connect with top executives.
Here are four secrets I’ve picked up over my years of working at B2B companies that can help you get way more high-level executives to call you back.
Use a Multi-Channel Contact Strategy
A C-level executive at a target account might not be returning your phone calls because she doesn’t like phone calls. Sometimes it really is as simple as that. I recommend a multi-pronged contact strategy. I like to start by adding a C-level contact on LinkedIn. Then emailing. Then calling. And then following up that call with another email. This builds name recognition for you and your brand. And it also offers opportunities for executives to follow up in the way they feel most comfortable with. If when calling you reach a gatekeeper, just ask what the best way to reach the executive is. They’ll usually just tell you.
Give a Little Something to Build a Relationship
You may think that your product offers clear value, but sometimes that value just isn’t clear enough to earn a call back. It can help to offer something, in addition to your product, that’s just too good to pass up. In a recent article in Inc., Neil Patel mentioned that he used to offer free SEO services as a hook to build relationships with top executives. I’ve personally built relationships with high-level executives by offering to include their thought leadership on our blog or in our content marketing efforts. The key is that it has to be an easy win. Sales has always been about relationships. Once the relationship is established, it then becomes a lot easier to start talking about your product’s value props.
Get a Referral
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have dinner with a friend of a friend than a complete stranger. The assumption is that people we like know people we would like if we met them. It’s this principle that is the guiding force behind referrals in sales—the single most powerful prospecting tactic. So before calling a member of the C-suite, go down this checklist. If the answer is no, move on to the next question until you find a possible referral. Then see if you can get an introduction through the shared connection.
- Has your company done business with their company before?
- Have you done business with one of your target’s friends?
- Have you done business with one of your target’s colleagues?
- Have you helped any of their competitors or a similar company achieve great results?
- Have you helped a company they would admire?
- Do they have any first-degree LinkedIn connections that you have worked with?
Optimize the S%*T Out of Your Voicemails
Most salespeople suck at leaving voicemails. There, I said it. They ramble on too long or they try to be cute or they sound unprofessional. It’s almost always something. Here are 4 actionable tips that can help you leave voicemails that C-level executives will actually want to return.
- Keep it under 30 seconds (an absolute must!)
- Sound like a badass. High-level executives like doing business with someone that they feel is on their level. That means you need to sound confident, eloquent, professional and use proper grammar.
- Spark their curiosity. Don’t launch into a full-blown sales pitch whatever you do. You just want to either offer some quick value or make them curious enough to want to learn more.
- Make it easy to get back to you. Leave your phone number (probably leave it twice). You can potentially leave a very easy-to-understand email address. But don’t even think about leaving an email address that’s difficult to spell!
Want to learn some more sales voicemail hacks? Download our free eBook How to Maximize Response Rates from Sales Voicemails.