Inbound salespeople have to be a little like Lionel Messi. They have to be nimble, quick, and in the right place at the right time.
Many legacy salespeople spend a lot of time, effort, and money building relationships. Some of these are important, while others will never pay off.
Inbound salespeople, however, should be like magic genies that inexplicably rise from your computer when you need help. They should anticipate what buyers are thinking, appear when the prospect expresses interest, and be available with all the right answers depending on where buyers are in their purchasing process. That means they spend their time and energy only where it makes sense, and can match their activity to their prospects’ buying patterns.
Today’s technology makes this a whole lot easier. It’s commonplace now for companies to put tracking on their websites so they can see who’s visiting and spending time on specific pages. This empowers sales reps -- because we know what pages our prospect’s visited and content they’ve downloaded, we’re able to form a clearer picture of what they care about and help them in a more specific way.
Without this tracking, you’re left in the dark. If you don’t know when prospects are on your website, you may be at a competitive disadvantage in the sales process. If you don’t know when prospects are visiting your premium pages -- pricing pages, demo videos (if applicable), competitive advantages pages, case studies -- you could miss a huge opportunity to connect when a prospect needs you most.
If you do have that information, the question becomes: How do you leverage that information?
The core premise of inbound sales is to respectfully engage your prospects at a time when they’re looking for help. If your prospect is looking at your website or other branded pages, it’s usually a good sign that they’re researching you and finding out what your company’s all about. So it’s a pretty good time to call them and see how you can help.
3 Opening Lines You Can Use to Call Prospects on Your Website
Not all prospects know they’re being tracked. And while most people I’ve encountered and sold to don’t care, there will always be a select few who will feel that this is an invasive practice. So how do you use their website activity as a trigger event without upsetting your prospects?
My advice is simple: Just be human, friendly, direct, and respectful. Address the fact that you’ve seen their website activity head-on and offer to help, and you’ll have a much better chance of gaining their respect and trust than if you’re evasive.
Here are three opening lines I’ve used with success:
“Hi [prospect], this is Dan from HubSpot. I hope this isn’t too creepy -- I saw that you were visiting our pricing page and thought I would give you a call to address any questions you might have. What were you looking for help with?”
“Hi [prospect], I was thinking about you today because I saw you visited our blog -- I hope that isn’t too creepy. I wanted to understand what you’re educating yourself about and if you’re considering learning more about our company. What were you looking for help with?”
“Hi [prospect], I saw that you viewed [piece of educational content] and thought it would be a good time to connect -- hopefully this isn’t too creepy. What were you looking for help with?”
Each of these opening lines concludes with the core question, “What were you looking for help with?” because it’s important to remind your prospect that you’re concerned about their needs. A huge shout out to Katharine Derum, who coined this line at HubSpot back in 2008.
Usually, when I use these openers, my prospect will laugh and say, “Well, it is kind of creepy.” Most of them will then go on and start talking about what they were looking for. For the ones who just stop there, I try to respond in a lighthearted way -- for example, I’ve laughed and said, “I guess it is a little weird -- welcome to the 21st century. Is there anything I can help you with now that I’ve got you on the phone?”
Calling Inbound Leads On Your Website: What Not to Do
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing a notification that your prospect is on your website and have them actually pick up the phone when you call.
“Oh my goodness!” you think. “They were looking at my website, AND they actually took my call! They must want to hear all about me and my product.”
They might, but don’t assume that they do. These are the two things you should never do when calling inbound leads.
1) Assume they are ready to talk.
An inbound lead on your website is definitely more ready to talk than a buyer you sourced yourself, but that still doesn’t mean they’re anywhere near ready to buy. Tailor your approach based on what their activity tells you -- if it’s their first time on your website, take a different tack than if they’ve downloaded 15 pieces of content and visited a competitive advantage page three times in the last hour.
Also be cognizant that website activity is never the full picture. Maybe they’re doing some back-of-the-napkin math to present to a higher-up, and that’s why they’ve visited your pricing page 10 times over the last three days. Always make sure you have the full picture before jumping to any conclusions.
2) Call and talk about yourself.
You can’t find out your prospect’s full context if you don’t ask questions. They won’t want to talk to you if you can’t craft personalized suggestions. Which means that the best thing you can do on a connect call is shut up and listen.
Don’t ever call a prospect and just start talking. Not only could they not be ready to have a conversation with a salesperson (see #1 above), if they are ready to talk to you and you spend the entire call talking, you’ve lost an opportunity to ask them questions that would further a sale.
Engage your buyers at the moment they express interest, and you’re more likely to sustain a positive sales experience. My advice is to make sure you’re doing it in a straightforward and upfront way, and you’ll be able to leverage real-time events to start sales conversations.
Originally published Jun 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017