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Are you the dog that catches the car?

Exploring Sales Strategies Beyond Cold Calling

It seems the only thing necessary to succeed in sales is the ability to make a cold call. If you spend any time on LinkedIn, you are bombarded with cold call “strategies.” Most of these cold call strategists make too much of the cold call, as it is simply a phone call. Many more provide gimmicks and tricks, many of which will betray the salesperson as non-serious.

The proliferation of cold call advice has made it a cheap commodity, and advice on email prospecting is in a similar position. These tactics may not harm you if you sell something of little consequence or consideration, but when a decision is important to the client, they can ensure you lose an opportunity before you create it.

For those who are interested in succeeding in sales, there are many more topics far more important for your success.

Business Acumen: Becoming an Expert in Your Industry

So, you made a cold call and acquired a meeting. Now you are sitting across from your dream client and you’re wholly unprepared to be a business advisor. It sometimes seems as if salespeople don’t know both Bs in B2B sales stand for business.

If you want to differentiate yourself in your industry, you can do no better than acquiring the business acumen to define yourself as something more than another peddler trying to sell their wares. Buyers and decision-makers complain about salespeople who know nothing about their business, their industry, or anything that might rise to the level of being business advice.

There are two kinds of salespeople: one needs something, while the other knows something. You want to be the one who knows something that is valuable to your prospective clients. The reason few salespeople ever mention business acumen is that it isn’t taught, trained, or developed.

Your Obligation to Be One-Up: Achieving a Competitive Edge

So, you are sitting across from a contact that spends heavily on what you sell. You will need to be One-Up to steal your client away from their incumbent supplier.

One person suggested that the concept of being One-Up was arrogant. One-Up means knowing things your clients need to know, and having the experience to lead them to ensure their decision provides the strategic outcomes they need. That’s not arrogant; it’s being a good business partner.

The opposite of being One-Up is being One-Down. A person who is One-Down has the same information and experience as their client, or worse, they know less than their client about the decision they need to make. A One-Down salesperson cannot help their clients improve.

Reading and Research: Preparing for Successful Sales Meetings

Too few salespeople read or research to prepare for a first meeting. In human history, there has never been more information for so little cost. Yet, you see little advice about reading, researching, and preparing for meetings.

The more you read and research, the better your sales approach and your results. It pays to know things if you plan to be a consultative salesperson. Not doing this work will harm your results.

Your Ability to Create Value for Your Client: Delivering Exceptional Value in Conversations

Here is a test of your ability to create value for your client: Do they ask you for more of your time? If you made your cold call, booked your meeting, and finished a first meeting without getting the next one on your prospective client’s calendar, it is evidence you are not yet a value creator. When your prospective client says they’ll call you to set something up, you’ve likely failed to make the conversation worth their time.

The value of the conversation must accrue to your contact and their teams. This requires you to have an extreme other orientation, focusing on what your client needs from you and your conversation.

Your Sales Approach: Modernizing Your Sales Strategies

So, you have made the cold call and showed up to the first meeting, only to have your prospective client pass on the second meeting. You failed to use your first allotment of time effectively, so you need to change your approach.

How you approach your client will have a large impact on your ability to win their business. Salespeople who still use the legacy approach will find that their clients don’t seem as interested as they hoped.

Deals are too important and too rare to lose because clients don’t benefit from spending time with you.

Providing Confidence and Certainty: Building Trust and Assured Decision-Making

Our current environment is challenging, marked by many headwinds and too few tailwinds. Those who believe selling is difficult should know that buying is even more challenging. When a leader is charged to make a rare decision, they must get it right on the first try. Everything above here will help you to create the confidence and certainty necessary to move forward.

Without these skills and traits, you are the dog that catches the car. The dog is missing what it would need, like thumbs to open the door, a driver’s license, and the ability to navigate to its destination.

Stop Wasting Potential Opportunities: Ensuring Every Interaction Counts

If you make the cold calls and schedule a meeting, make it count. You may have mastered the cold call, and that is fine. But success in sales may start with a cold call, but it is only a chance to create and win an opportunity.

Do the work to make every opportunity count by being the best and most helpful salesperson your contacts have ever encountered.

Mastering the Art of Sales Beyond Cold Calls: Strategies for Long-Term Sales Success

Once you know how to book a first meeting, you need to develop your business acumen, your ability to be One-Up, your reading and research, your ability to create value for your clients, your sales approach, and your ability to provide confidence and certainty. These outcomes should dominate your growth and development as a salesperson. Choose whatever cold calling strategy you believe is right for you, and then start doing the work to master the art of sales outside of cold calling.

Know that the future will belong to the salespeople who master the skills and traits of a One-Up salesperson. You can find more on this approach in Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative.

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Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 30, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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