The treadmill never stops for a Business Development Representative (BDR). They must constantly move forward to seek new business. All too often a contact goes dark, remains inert, or simply says “no.” With so much rejection, BDRs often turn to volume as an answer. Sow more seeds, and there will be more to harvest.
Yielding sales from a volume approach means adopting an inside sales strategy, which is designed to reach more contacts in less time via phone and video. Today, this broader reach is possible due to advancements in sales and marketing automation. However, inside selling cannot succeed on volume alone. More customer conversations will not move the needle unless the BDR can adopt a framework to distill value from each interaction.
BDRs must balance the rapid-fire style of inside sales with dialogue that connects with the customer. This connection is a crucial step lacking in most sales dialogues today, as seen by research from Gallup showing that less than half of customers believe that sellers adequately address their problems. However, a consultative approach offers a scalable framework for understanding customer needs within the structure of inside sales in three ways. First, through careful questioning balanced with insights; second, by eliciting feedback; and third, by practicing active listening.
Giving to Get
Including Consultative Telephone Selling as part of business development training works because it places the focus where it belongs: on the customer’s challenges. Maintaining this focus means asking questions that uncover base needs. However, effective consultative sellers are aware of how questions can exhaust the customer. Therefore, they balance these questions with insights. With the right preparation, a seller can both earn the right to ask questions and add to their credibility by researching and sharing industry-relevant findings. Additionally, having these industry insights before the call means that the BDR can move directly to deeper questions and waste less time on “getting up to speed.” The BDR needs the detail within the customer’s responses to properly position a solution later in the dialogue. Once they do so, they can ensure that they’re on the right path by seeking feedback.
Finding the Way
Feedback is a gift. Strong consultative sellers understand that when a customer offers feedback, they’re revealing clues to the sale. They’re telling the BDR “don’t go that way, go this way.” BDRs should follow their lead. BDRs must take the initiative to request feedback even when the customer is silent. The value of knowing what the customer thinks of the ideas and solutions discussed is too important to ignore. By keeping the questions open-ended, BDRs allow the customer to broadly explore what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, open-ended questions avoid giving the customer the sense that the BDR is attempting to elicit specific responses.
Taking full advantage of feedback means practicing active listening. This is integral to training in business development because it offers the BDR insight into how the customer sees the problem. BDRs must pay attention to the customer’s inflection, tone, and word choice to gather as much information as possible. These additional details help clarify needs — and might even create opportunities to expand the scope of the sale by solving previously unseen needs.
A consultative approach offers BDRs the resources to convert volume into value and unlock the power of inside sales.
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