Oct. 7, 2021

10 Tips to Better Cold Calling for B2B sales professionals

10 Tips to Better Cold Calling for B2B sales professionals

Episode 16: 10 Tips to Better Cold Calling for B2B sales professionals with Michael Hanson --Cold calling may seem like something that has been in the sales world for as long as anyone can remember, but that doesn't mean there is no new ground to be covered. Today on The Sales Samurai, we are joined by the CEO and Founder of Growth Genie, Michael Hanson, to hear his top ten tips on how to improve your team's cold calling practice and get your offers in front of more ideal customers. According to Michael, setting up qualified opportunities with strangers is the most difficult skill in sales, and is often left to the least experienced members of a sales team! It was with this in mind that he started his company, aiming to support and enable sales professionals to hit the ground running and excel in their careers. As Michael runs through his list of ten tips, with a few bonuses ideas added in, he reminds us that it is no use having the best messaging and product in the world if no one gets to hear about it or see it. So without further ado, let's jump in and hear his amazing advice!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Michael's background in the B2B space and the observations that led to founding Growth Genie.  
  • Unexpected hurdles in the process of starting a company; hiring and building a strong team. 
  • The initial impetus to get into sales and why Michael leaned into the field after other ideas.  
  • Changes in the world of sales; the best and worse of recent shifts in the space. 
  • Why cold calling is in a stronger place than ever and how to stand out from other outreach.  
  • Getting past obstacles around fear and ego and minimizing discomfort. 
  • Detachment from the outcome and allowing a call to be an exploratory exercise. 
  • The best times for cold calling people; going outside of office hours!
  • Why sending emails on the weekend garners better response rates.
  • Using trigger events as the 'why' for your outreach and opening statements. 
  • The power of closed and open questions when used at the correct junctures. 
  • Staying authentic to your own personality and introducing a lead to something real.
  • Giveaways and freebies as an entry point; helpful tips and strategies. 
  • Telling customer stories as a way to keep the conversation and engagement flowing. 
  • Focusing on the needs of your customers instead of on your product. 
  • What to do once a meeting is booked; getting other important people involved. 
  • Dealing with the common reaction of requesting an email; asking questions and offering guidance. 
  • Michael's belief in blocking off time for calls and optimizing impact.  
  • The power of audio notes on LinkedIn and humanizing your message!


“I like speaking with people, I like solving problems. And that's really what proper sales is about.” — Michael Hanson [0:06:35]

“You can make cold calls warm calls by using the power of the internet and research.” — Michael Hanson [0:08:40]

“Fear is the biggest thing that stops salespeople.” — Michael Hanson [0:12:59]

“Most salespeople, their ego gets in the way of their sales process.” — Michael Hanson [0:16:59]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Michael Hanson on LinkedIn

Growth Genie

Michael Hanson Email




Sam Capra on LinkedIn

Sales Samurai B2B Sales Podcast


Title Sponsors:


Speaker 0    00:00:01    Coming to you from Orlando, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and streaming around the world around the world. You're not tuned in to the sales samurai podcast. The only B2B sales podcast, providing unfiltered unapologetic views and tactics directly from the sales trenches. Here's your host, Sam Capra.  
Speaker 1    00:00:30    Welcome so 16 of the sales samurai. Thanks for listening. Before we begin, do us a favor, take a moment to subscribe and download on today's show. We're going to be discussing 10 tips to better cold call and for B2B sales professionals. And I have an amazing guest for you guys today. Michael Hanson is the CEO and founder of growth genie, a consultancy that empowers B2B sales teams to have better conversations and get in front of more of their ideal customers through cadences playbooks, training and coaching. Michael set up growth genie. After realizing that generating qualified opportunities from strangers was one of the hardest skills in sales get is often given to the people with the least experience, so wanted to support and enable them to be more successful and fulfilled in their careers. Michael, welcome to the show, man. How are you? I'm great. Thanks for the invite.  
Speaker 1    00:01:22    So I'm looking forward to today. No, really excited for this, but before we get underway, we were talking about the whole calculation of Fahrenheit and Celsius and it blew my mind. So we won't go down that, that, but a little, little hot your way. What 90 some odd degrees, at least American degrees. Yeah, exactly. It's 31 here in London. Again, someone listening maybe can do the calculations right by London standards, very hot. And I'd done a bit of conditioning where I am so sweating away over. Wow. You know, that's funny because in Colorado, my son was going to college in Colorado for a year and we went out there in August to get them all set up for school. And you know, it gets hot in Colorado during those couple months. Right. People think the Rockies it's cold and all that. And we were looking all, it was probably about 96.  
Speaker 1    00:02:11    It was really hot. And we're looking all over his dorm room for the air conditioner controls and we can't find them. So we just think we're not putting two and two together. We finally find an RA. She's like, yeah, we don't, there's no air conditioning in this door. Like we don't have air conditioner. I'm like, oh, I'm like son, I'm sorry, but good luck to you. I wish you the best. And that that's crazy to me, but I guess that's, I guess, somewhat common. So I guess you guys fall into the same boat, huh? Yeah. Cause it's no, we don't have much heat in London. So like whenever it happens or whatever, someone's like buying a house or like refurbishing a house, I don't think, oh, I'm going to put an air conditioning. Cause I like, we've got 10 hot days a year. So what's the point?  
Speaker 1    00:02:50    Awesome. Well, Hey, let's get underway man. Cause I'm really excited about this and this is actually a topic that, of all the topics that I kind of pull the audience of our followers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and one of the biggest topics they always want kind of more knowledge and better understanding around is cold calling. So we're going to be tackling 10 tips to better cold calling specifically around B2B sales. But I think it's applicable really in any kind of sales role, probably more so in the B2B side, before we do that, can you give just a little bit of a background, Mike, kind of what you've been up to, I know overgrowth genie and just kind of give a high level of your background for the audience. Yeah, sure. So yeah, founder of growth genie are essentially a sours consultancy that empowers sales teams to get in front of more of their ideal customers and have better conversations.  
Speaker 1    00:03:39    I can give you a bit of background about why I started the company. So she used to work a lot of kind of outsource sales essentially, but particularly top of the funnel, the outsource SDR is where most of the service is. We provided, helped grow that company from 10 to 200 employees in three years. But what I realized in the world of software sours are most of our clients are in attack and SAS is that we give one of the hardest skills in sales to the junior persons. Someone who's just graduated from university or so first job like, Hey, let's go and target completely cold lead, who has no idea who we are and turn them into a warm sales opportunity. And that happens and people are given no support and they've thrown into that role. So that's essentially what we want to do at growth.  
Speaker 1    00:04:20    Genie is empower those types of people to be better salespeople. And that's really United. The reason I, I sat up the company and we do that through training and coaching them. And then we also provide messaging to support them for like sequences and know cold call scripts. I was talking about today. That's awesome, man. So I'm glad you kind of answered that. You know, obviously you didn't see something in the space, so you wanted to build a better mouse trap and do it yourself. I love those origins. I'm curious. What was something you didn't expect? Like what's been the biggest hurdle in getting this off the ground that you're like, Hey, I didn't account for that. Or that's unexpected or that's a challenge. I really didn't think would happen. Anything that you could share with the audience around just kind of that evolution. Yes. It's just staffing and hiring, which is, I think a lot of the problems that most founders face.  
Speaker 1    00:05:04    And when I, in transparency, when I solved the company, I was like, oh, it'd be like a one man consultant trainer. And then there's so much demand for this service. I think the pandemics accelerated it because a lot more companies, they couldn't go to events, which were like a huge source of lead. There may be getting 10,000 leads a year at events. And then they're like, okay, we're going to do like outbound and cold calling. We're going to hire SDRs, but they had no idea how to do it. They'd never really done it. It's not really benefited us. And then I'd lose the demand. And I got to a point, I got more accounts than I can handle, started hiring people for a team of four now. But again, because there's not much experience in terms of like SDL management, outbound management, it's been difficult to hire people like myself or kind of know about sequencing, et cetera.  
Speaker 1    00:05:48    So yeah, that's probably been the most difficult part about hiring and training. No, without a doubt, I hear that quite a bit from founders and CEOs that are, you have fast scale, fast growth, you know, just keeping up with the pace and keeping up with the head, count to account for all that growth and scale. So that that's great, man. I'm always curious. I know you talked about kind of, you were doing this before thought you could build a better mouse trap, which I think you're doing, but what got you in interested in sales, just in general, like what was that origin story around your sales background and why sales of all the things you could be doing? Why sales just curious, probably like most people that work in sales, I don't have, it's the same for you sandbar. I never thought I'd work in sales and 90% of salespeople that I speak to, they think the same thing and then I got into it and it's just, you speak with so many people on a daily basis.  
Speaker 1    00:06:38    I like speaking with people, I like solving problems and that's really what proper salads is about is about solving problems. And yeah, so I got into it kind of by surprise and just really liked her. And then I actually wrote a post about this today on LinkedIn, that someone was talking about how I saw this comment on LinkedIn that I thought was absolutely brilliant, which is basically saying that like tech and SAS sales is like the new investment banking, but without having to work stupid hours and like having bad bosses and getting called in on the weekend, I thought was so true. Cause like you may see on really good money, but you don't have to kind of be a slave in this corporation and like work your way up a ladder. So I think, yeah, I think Sasol is, and I've spoken to so many people about this.  
Speaker 1    00:07:20    They kind of get into it and they're like, wow, this is really great. And I want to enjoy my job, but I also got paid pretty well for it. So yeah, that's kind of my journey. That's awesome, man. So talk to us a little bit about like, cause obviously you've been doing this for awhile. I mean, you've been in the sales space for a while. You've seen a number of things you're leading an organization. That's all about top of funnel. I'm curious in the time you've been doing sales and leading an organization, like what's changed for the better, for the worst in sales. Like let's talk about the better first, just initial thoughts. Like, Hey, here's, what's gotten better in sales since I started. And then here's, what's actually gone the wrong direction in sales since I started like give us that little bit of insight to Mike, just in kind of your thoughts and views.  
Speaker 1    00:08:03    Yeah, I think so that there's two sides, as you were saying, the first is that there's more information than ever before on the internet. So actually when we're going to be talking about cold calling, they said, when you cold call someone, you can actually make it a warm call back in the day when you just had yellow pages and your, you know, your landline, you were just calling someone and it was going to be like the same message for whoever you were going to call. Whereas now I can go on, you know, Sam's LinkedIn seizing the sour samurai podcasts, and just at least start a conversation. Hey, I listened to your podcast with Michael Hanson. Like what guests have you got on soon and you know, instantly that person's built rapport. So that's the great thing is you can make cold calls, warm calls by using like the power of the internet and research.  
Speaker 1    00:08:44    The bad side of it, I think is technology and where we're almost in what we do. We like tech consultants and we love sours technology, but it can be abused where you got some kind of email automation platform and then you just spray and pray like 15,000 leads and kind of expect something come back. So even though we use email automation and other types of automation, we do it in a thoughtful way. So if we have a big list, we're like, okay, let's maybe create 10 email campaigns based on who we're targeting. Right. Whereas a lot of people were like, we're just going to do one email blast and hope that something sticks on the wall. So I think that was probably the negative side. And you know, that conversation, it seems to be everyone. I asked that that's one of the standard questions I like to ask, especially a founder CEO, especially in the, in the sales space sales leaders as well.  
Speaker 1    00:09:31    That's been in the space a long time. And it's amazing that that is a question that I'm almost certain, it's almost like similar answers. Like it's all in the same realm. Like technology has allowed for efficiency in scale, but technology has also created a lot of noise, right? That's kind of what we're saying from a negative and from a positive side. So it's funny, you mentioned that. So let's jump into it because cold calling top of the funnel, I think I was reading a study top of the funnel, according to 80% of sales reps business to business sales reps, top of the funnel is either what they deem as their biggest weakness or area of opportunity where they should be improving, could be improving. Like it's an overwhelming statistic. That top of the funnel is the biggest concern, not just on the sales rep side, but from a leadership standpoint, that top of the funnel is fundamental.  
Speaker 1    00:10:23    So we're going to talk about 10 tips that we can be leveraging as sales professionals to be more effective at cold calling. So I always like to kick this off Mike, cause I know we've talked about this offline. Like where do you actually, just from a holistic standpoint, we've all heard cold calling is dead. There's, you know, it's all social selling. Like where is cold calling currently at, in today's sales landscape? Is it viable? Is it, uh, give us your kind of your thoughts just on the cold calling landscape in general? I think cold calling is more effective than it's ever been, but what's difficult is it's harder than ever to get people on the phone. So that's the flip side there because people don't use their phone as much as they used to. Like 20 years ago, phone was like one of the main forms of communication.  
Speaker 1    00:11:07    Whereas now it's a lot more about SMS and WhatsApp in Europe and LinkedIn, if you're in business and Facebook and Instagram and all these other things that, you know, a lot of the companies we work with, they hire, you know, kids who are like 21, 22, just go a university. And they've never even like cold called a friend right out. I cold called him. So there's the concept of cold calling is like totally one for them. So that's one of the issues now is just getting people to pick up the phone baby. You can, the thing is I have loads of conversations with people about this like sea level VPs who get maybe 200 sales pitches a week on email and LinkedIn. And sometimes they go a week without getting a single cold call and they haven't unsubscribed their number on any list. So if you can get through to that person and get them to pick up the phone, you can have an interactive conversation with them.  
Speaker 1    00:11:56    And you're instantly above the people who are like just emailing and LinkedIn. But again, it's just that difficulty of getting that person on the phone and is actually a tip. I'll talk about later for that. But yeah, so essentially it's more powerful than ever, but it's difficult to get people to pick up the phone. What do you think that's more attributed to? And I know it's probably a little bit of both, but you know, we all hear about call reluctance, you know, 70%, you know, just call reluctant is a big hurdle for a lot of salespeople, obviously skillset hasn't been taught effective techniques on how to pick up the phone and actually dial for dollars or whatever the term might be today. Like, is it one or the other? Is it both? Do they both play equal roles in this? Is there something else that's really impacting that a bill because you're right.  
Speaker 1    00:12:40    Like you said, 200 emails, but may never get a call in one week. So that must mean most salespeople either have a call. Reluctance don't feel they have the ability or just don't know how to do it. Yeah. I think it's the fair because people aren't used to just using calls in like daily life. Like I said, they're not used to it. So there's always that fear of the unknown and fear is the biggest thing that stops salespeople. I always say, whenever we start with a client, we have a session called selling without ego. Right. And it's all about like the mindset of a salesperson. And I say the biggest obstacle you're going to face in sales is your mind right here. And the number one thing that comes from that is the fair, right? Or I'm going to cold call someone and they're going to be having dinner or they're going to be with their family or they're going to be in a meeting.  
Speaker 1    00:13:22    And they put these barriers in their head before they've even made the cold call. Right? So cold calling is not easy. It's not uncomfortable things to do. So don't make it worse by like projecting some kind of situation and a big thing. Maybe we can make this a fast tip for me is the tapping from the outcome. Right? So before you pick up the cold call, don't think I need to book a meeting from this to be successful and hit your targets because you're putting on necessary pressure on yourself. See it as I want to have a conversation and get to know this person the same way you would on a date, right? There's a lot of sours analogies between sours and dating. So you're not going to ask a girl to marry you on the first date, right. You're going to get to know her and asked her a few questions and that's the way you should see a cold call as well.  
Speaker 1    00:14:05    So let's dive into that because that's a good first tip. So the first tip should be go back through that. So what is the outcome you're expecting? What's the expectation outcome expectation. Walk through that again, Mike, and just from a tactical standpoint, actually it's detaching from the outcome. That's the tip. So detaching from the outcome and see your goal. Of course, the outcome eventually is to get a sales opportunity from someone, but see the goal as having a conversation and getting to know someone right. And see it as a fact finding exercise. Cause I often see this where we coach on call recordings, right? So an SDR and AE will come to us and now coming to core recordings, we'll listen to it together. And then there'll be like, oh, this call was a disaster. And I'll be like, that was a brilliant, cool, you got to find out what their CRM was.  
Speaker 1    00:14:49    You've got to find out what their pains were and then yeah, you couldn't be meeting cause they're on holiday next week. I'm like, if you email that person and if you speak to their boss or their colleague, you've got all the information you need to now like turn it into a sales opportunity. But they're so focused on, I need to book a meeting from this cold call then they're not seeing it as a long-time game of like having this long-term relationship with someone. So it's yeah. Seeing it as a conversation to get to know someone rather than being like I've got to book a meeting from this call, kind of boiling that down. Mike, how I see what you're saying is we almost approach it very shortsighted. Like did we get a meeting and would not get a meeting versus long having a vision of, Hey, what are the building blocks to actually getting that meeting?  
Speaker 1    00:15:30    It may not be call one call two, but what are we bridging the gap to actually achieving that ultimate outcome, which is, you know, building a meeting or getting a meeting, if you will, is that fair to say a hundred percent and also, cause the way you got to say, if you're doing B2B count based sales, you've got like 10 stakeholders in a company. So if you're attacking all of your worth and all of your sales targets on a conversation with one person, it's just crazy. Right? So you've got to see it as a cog in a small wheel of a sour cycle. That's awesome, man. So on that note and you know, I think there's a little bit to that. I want to move on to your next tip, but I'm assuming at some point in time when we're talking about this and I'm assuming from a leadership standpoint, you know, I think a lot of that's driven from a top down approach, right?  
Speaker 1    00:16:17    All these metrics, all these KPIs are all 15 meetings. You need to get 20 meetings, you need to get 30 meetings, whatever that magic number is. And yes, those KPIs are meaningful because that obviously drives our, our, whatever the core revenue is. But some of this is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy to some degree, right? We're kind of wiring into that short-sightedness of that sales rep of that SVR, if you will, is that fair to say, or do you think I'm off base and I'm not again, just cause I know some people are a little bit extreme with what I just hadn't like don't have any targets at all. I think targets are good, but it's wit like how your target, but then detached from it. And it's a weird way by detaching from it. You're actually more likely to meet her because you're not focused on that.  
Speaker 1    00:16:57    And the sales, most sales people, their ego gets in the way of their sales process. When they're focusing on that, that yes, they're focusing on their commission and then not focusing on the other person and like trying to have a conversation with them. So that's why this whole detaching from the outcome thing and listening to them while they're speaking, thinking this is going really badly, I'm not going to make my commission, but just being present in the moment and trying to understand them is going to help you. Is there any, and then we'll, we'll move on to number two. But is there any tips on being better at detaching from that outcome? Is there any, I don't want to say listening to your calls, is there any way if I know I'm really pushing or I'm really I'm overdoing it, how do I self assess?  
Speaker 1    00:17:39    And then self-correct in doing that. I mean, I know it all because I'm being human and just having a conversation, but you got to first understand that you're actually doing that. What's the way Mike, to identify that and actually correct. That a good thing is by asking for feedback sometimes like during a car is not going well, they're not interested. And you could be like, Hey Sam, it seems like, you know, this doesn't go well, I'm not doing my job that well, you're a solid VPs. How's what could I do to improve? Like when I'm cold calling someone like you and Austin, people like that humble approach and the reason that's detaching from the outcome, if you're obsessed with the outcome, you'd be like, oh no, I've, I've screwed up the call. I'm not going to eat. My target was, if you ask for feedback, they're going to give you feedback that you can use speaking to someone else.  
Speaker 1    00:18:22    And what we found actually by doing that, sometimes I like, do you know what? I'll take a call with you. Cause you're nice and you're humble. Right? That's cool, man. All right. What's the second tip in your list, Mike? Yeah, so it is for cool times. Like I said, the hardest thing nowadays in terms of cold calling is getting people to pick up the phone. So we actually recommend cold calling people like five to 6:00 PM, or you can even do eight to nine as well. The reason is that typically nine to five, especially recording like C level people. They're so busy in their day to day that they're unlikely to pick up the phone by five to six. They're probably winding down. They're looking at their emails. They're not in an internal call. So when you see the connects rate, which is essentially, if you actually get the person to pick up the phone and now the person who wants to answer not the gatekeeper is much higher during those times how it could go from, you know, like 6% to like 10 or 11% based on the fact that you're calling them like five to six, rather than like 2:00 PM when they're going to be in a meeting.  
Speaker 1    00:19:19    Hey, on that note, and I'm assuming, you know, one of the keys to being able to understand those metrics, you got to track it, right? Either through some type of technology or, you know, my old way of doing used to be the old tick marks dials connects, you know, appointments. And I used to break it down into blocks and I just do the old pen and paper way, but you can decipher best times, but that obviously understanding those metrics is point number one. And then is it fair to say Mike, that that might be industry specific as well, right? I mean, you may have better call. It might be better to reach VPs of sales at SAS at nine to 10 in the morning, but it's a horrible time to reach VPs of sales at FinTech or financial sector or whatever the case might be.  
Speaker 1    00:20:00    Are you seeing any of that in the mix where you say, well, pretty well, of course Roscoe is, but I think what you say is a brilliant point, right? Because you've always got to trust the data. So what I'm just telling you, my opinion go out there, get your STL is to call five to 6:00 PM every day, next week. And see if the connect rate goes up. If it doesn't, then it doesn't work right. If you don't test it, you're never going to know without a doubt. So Hey, understand the numbers, let the data drive it. But from a high level, Hey, call times are typically early morning before the day kind of starts. Or I say lady, maybe a five to six after the business hours, those are typically the best windows of time to reach C level high level senior leadership. There are typically really busy and bouncing from thing to thing the day that's the ultimate tip coming out of that, correct?  
Speaker 1    00:20:50    Yeah. Does that, and I'll give you a site, which isn't part of the time. Cause it's not, oh man, we're going to get 11 tell I am an email because now you can do this with automation, right? So it goes out to a C-level person at 11:00 AM on a Saturday. Because again, it's the same thing. A lot of you don't want to cold call them. Cause it's the weekend. They're with the family, but an emails are right. And we see higher response rates. If you call someone on a Saturday. Yeah. Because often now a C-level people are like, they're not really switching off. I think we're all guilty of this now. And they go online on a Saturday morning, they're just checking emails and then you're at the top of their inbox. So you know what? That's a fantastic, I've never done it. And that is really a good idea because if I think that way, probably like you said, most people think that way.  
Speaker 1    00:21:37    It's probably not a great time to pick up the phone, but quick email. It probably is going to at least get the open and maybe a quick glance that you can bubble up and move forward into the next week. So that's a bonus tip from Michael. I mean, you got it here on sales samurai, a bonus tip from Michael. All right. Let's move on to the next one. Mike, next tip. So I think, you know, a lot of sales trainers will, we'll talk about this, which is the why of your cold call, right? Like why are you reaching out? And what we recommend is using a trigger event. So I can give you an example of growth gene. A good thing about a trigger event is you can build your list based on a trigger event. So our trigger event actually is that companies either hiring SDRs because we can help train those SDRs or that they're hiring an SDR manager.  
Speaker 1    00:22:23    Cause we can kind of fill that gap in where if they have an SDR manager and then that's our why of calling out, Hey Sam, I notice your you're hiring SDRs. Do you have a second source here? A couple of questions about that. Right? So that's my tip is with the why, because people think, well, how am I going to open a cold call? Think about an event that's related to your prospects, right? So it could be the hiring a particular position. Maybe they've just won an award merger and acquisitions. There's all different types of triggers. So think about your why, and that's your trigger essentially. And obviously that Scott then be able to go into your cyber risk. Cause I could say, you know, we find on average, it takes three to four months for an SDR to ramp up before they're fully productive.  
Speaker 1    00:23:06    And then you ask a question after that. So that's my tip. Think about your trigger, which is your wire. You're reaching out and you're opening great one. I just think about in our industry, you know, hiring of a specific position. So, you know, director of loyalty, you know, people in the marketing sector of retail is a big trigger for us. Secondly, you know, store openings, that means there's typically growth within that, within that organization. How would you recommend, I know there's technology out there. We're not needing to go through a list of technology that do these triggers even like Google alerts, but like we're all about efficiency and technology should make our life if more efficient and effective. Is there any tips you would say in how to go about gleaning those triggers? Is it as simple as just setting up Google alerts for your top 10 accounts?  
Speaker 1    00:23:52    What's your recommendation around that Mick to understand those triggers? Yeah. So we split it out into personal triggers and company triggers. So company triggers that you can do a bit more of a volume play because again, I could build a list now of probably 500 VPs of sales are, and then I could cold call all of them and I could use that same opening, all of them. And that is different data providers that you can use to find those and they will show you hiring. And then there's what we call personal triggers. So I would go onto LinkedIn. And again, I could talk about this podcast. That would be a personal trigger to you because you host this podcast or I could see someone's written a blog article about sours and marketing alignment. And I could say, Hey, I enjoyed your blog on his house in marketing alignment.  
Speaker 1    00:24:35    And you know, your tip about how you should have weekly one-on-ones with your VP of marketing, whatever it is. And then that's related to them as an individual. So there's two types of triggers. There's one at a company level and one at an individual level, the individual level is going to take a bit more time. So you may want to just stay for your like real top top leads. I mean obviously the more personal, so the one-to-one Hey about Sam and then about flex engage, right? So the flex engages is going to be relevant, but if you can glean something from Sam, that's going to be much more personalized and probably have a bigger impact. Is that fair to say Mike? Or does the numbers not support that? Yeah, definitely. But I think one of the things to think about with this is this topic of personalization is like really hot at the moment, right?  
Speaker 1    00:25:17    People are talking about, if you do personalization without relevance is completely pointless. So I could say, Hey, Sam enjoyed your south samurai podcast with Mike <inaudible> and then I go into some like 10 page pitch, right? We're going to be like, you see through that, you notice that I'm just saying, that's why I can give you my pitch. You've got to then tie it in where, so it was a video service company. I'd be like, Hey, how are you creating content from your podcasts and turning it into, you know, short snippet videos that you can share on your LinkedIn and that's relevance that's coming in as well. So personalization is great. And yes, like you said, it can get more eyes and it, if your subject line is about the podcast, you're going to open that. But then in the body of the email, a bit, some sours page is not relevant to you.  
Speaker 1    00:26:01    You don't care. Right. So if you do personalization, make sure you follow it and relevance. So you're saying, I don't know if this is, but essentially there's got to be a hook, right? There's gotta be a link to, but what I'm giving you as personalization and relevance, there's gotta be a hook back to what I do or it's irrelevant and it's, it's kind of more of a facade than actually a genuine kind of call to action if you will. Yeah. Okay. That's awesome. Alright. I think we're on number five. I know you gave a bonus tip. I think I'm going to weave that in for right now until the end. Yeah. So I think there's a lot of talk again about like closed questions versus open-ended class generally how we structure it as like a closed question at the start, which has that agreement. Right?  
Speaker 1    00:26:42    Uh, say my example, I notice you're hiring SDRs. Do you have 30 seconds to ask you a question about that? Right. So that's your, okay, go ahead. Like you've got, you know, the next minute and then at the end you've got another close questions. Like, would you be interested in learning? And then you may talk about a case study, right? As your times about the meeting in the middle, you always want what we call a probing question. We should always be an open-ended question. And the reason you do that is that is to make it more conversational. So when I say an open-ended question, because some people may not understand this listening. I mean a question where they call it, honestly. Yes or no. So it's not a like, you know, have you had success with the rest of the all? And they're like, yes, that doesn't give you any information.  
Speaker 1    00:27:22    It's like, how long does it take your SDRs to be ramped up after they're trained? For example, that's an open-ended question. I also like a how question or what question this essentially, you're going to get your prospect talking about some kind of challenge they're facing. So that's when we worked with a client where we're like, okay, what's the biggest challenge that your customers are facing? And what's a question you can ask to try and uncover that challenge, which again is an open-ended question. Like a how or a what question? So that's my tip is, think about what's that open-ended question that you're going to ask you a buyer on a cold call. So kind of a closed, Hey, you know, do you have a few minutes or whatever the close is. Hey, does it make sense to have a quick conversation? Yes, no. And then an open to get them probing to make it more organic, make it more fluid, make it so you can glean information to see if there's some initial fit and then a close, which could be leading into your next call to action, which is a meeting date and time, whatever the case might be that fair to say kind of that sandwich effect.  
Speaker 1    00:28:20    Yeah. Yep. Perfect. All right. That's a good one. I mean, one of the things I've always found on those, you know, that I think the initial, we don't need to go too far down the rabbit hole, but you know, there's a lot of insight people have on, you know, how are you and these little gleans that you do at the top of a call, right? Hey Sam, Hey, nice to speak with you. How are you today? Like where do you fall on those types of things? Like, cause you know, the natural thing is you that's human Mike, we've been talking, be human, be a human being, but where do you fall on those little, like those little things? Like how are you doing whatever the term might be? I think when it comes to the intro, I always tell reps, be yourself, be authentic, be what works for you because it's different for everyone we use.  
Speaker 1    00:29:06    Hi, how have you been? That's actually a study that they said works well because it's kind of something you would say to someone, you know? Well, so it kind of throws off people who don't know. But yeah, I think the opening, essentially the opening, you're just trying to get them to give you permission, like for that next minute or so to speak to you and ask questions. So again, if you want to give, I've seen people do like crazy things happening as well for them. So I think a lot of it's about paying your own personality and that's where tone comes into it as well. Tones like very important. That's awesome. Fair enough. All right. Next one. The list number I'm keeping track Mike, because you can't be given too many bonuses away. I mean, we don't have an episode two if we keep giving them bonuses.  
Speaker 1    00:29:48    So we're on six. Yeah. Think about something you could give away. There's no necessarily like a demo or a sours meeting about your products. Right? So to give you an example, when we're selling our services, something we've started doing is an audit of people's sequences. So we could say, look, I noticed you have like five SDRs. I imagine they're running like sour sequences. What we're doing at the moment. If you're willing to share your mastering with us, your email templates, your LinkedIn templates, we'll give you some, some actionable tips that your team can use. Maybe we've done this in the past. They've, you know, three times their reply rates on, on email and LinkedIn, like, would that be of interest? So it's essentially not saying, Hey, we're sales consultants and we can help your SDRs. We can give you something for free. That's really helpful.  
Speaker 1    00:30:35    Right? So think about what's that offer that you can give, that's not necessarily selling your services directly and you've got, you may want to speak to marketing about that marketing, especially if you're in a big company, marketing may know, like what offers do you have the really popular at the moment? And then you can talk about that rather than a meeting. And it's not an approach I always recommend, there may be times in businesses where, you know, last quarter, wasn't great. And you're trying to get meetings quickly, buy something that can work really well. And actually the weird thing is when we've done that sequence audit, we've actually seen like quicker sales cycles because if they see, Hey, they free at it so that they want to walk with us quicker. Cause we're almost like giving them something for free. You know, it's funny you bring that up Mike, because you know, I'm big on pilots.  
Speaker 1    00:31:22    I'm big on testing because the proof is in the pudding, right? If you truly believe in the solution that you're bringing to the table, then there should be no apprehension to say, Hey, let's get this out in the wild. And let's see if it works. You know, whether it's giving you something for free because if I get it and I can do an audit on your templates and I can show you, there might be some tweaks you can make and you actually implement those tweaks and it skyrockets your results. The natural inclination is you're probably going to come back to me saying, Hey, how do we take this to the next level? And that leads to a meeting or an opportunity for you. But yeah, I think, you know, my kind of dovetail to that is, you know, I think we as sales individuals, we want to hit the grand slam the home run.  
Speaker 1    00:32:00    Right. But how do we lower the risk for the customer? How do we lower the prospect's barriers by saying, Hey, how do we make this work for you? Like, it doesn't have to be a $400,000 deal. Can we get something in the wild for free? Can we get something in the mall for two grand, whatever it may be. Let's just get it in the wild and see if it makes sense to you guys. And I think, and I know not be applicable to everyone. I get it to your point earlier that may not be doable for every organization, but there's some aspect of that that is doable. But there's some level of that that you can be doing if you really want to get creative in the market. Yeah. A hundred percent agree with that. Okay. Number seven, number seven. So often what will happen?  
Speaker 1    00:32:39    A cold call is people will say, oh, well, what do you do? And again, you know, best practice is not to like pick straight away what you do in a cold call because the slimy sales person. So often you're asking questions and dangerous, but what do you do this sounds interesting, but what do you do exactly? And then suddenly I recommend is rather than talking about your features, right? Which is what a lot of, oh, we've got X, Y and Z. We've got this integration right about a customer story, which is relevant to them. So maybe you're reaching out to, you know, financial services companies and say, Hey, we worked with another financial service company and you've always got before and off the state, these are the problems that they were facing before working with us. And also a few months working with us, these were the outcomes that they had.  
Speaker 1    00:33:21    And then even if I look at like, when we take on clients, I normally don't understand their products at all. And so they told me about that customer stories. And this is say most people's brains. They need like a specific examples to understand what you do. So if you can relate that to that business, that's my, what are we on seventh? Right? Tip like Telecaster stories. What you do. I love that one because Mike, I think that goes back to our conversation. I think we had offline or in a past life, or maybe even early in our dialogue today. I often think that would work. I think that's why it's so important that if you can call similar industries in your call block or on your sequence or whatever you want to call it, because it's easier to have that use case ready to go.  
Speaker 1    00:34:02    If I'm only talking to financial for the next hour, then I have a financial use case that I can refer to. Like don't make it more difficult than it has to be by trying to have to think on the fly when I'm talking to a retailer, what's my retail pitch. Oh, I'm talking to FinTech. What's this one agree, disagree. Have you seen, what's your thoughts around that? Trying to call similar titles, similar industries, whatever the case might be. Yeah. A hundred percent. It's about segregating that list. And again, unfortunately what I see most companies do, they have like a general list, which is I'm going to use the same messaging for everyone. Whereas like you said, I normally say to companies actually, when we worked with them, what are your best case studies? And they're like, yeah. Financial technology. I'm like, okay, well we're going to go off to fintechs.  
Speaker 1    00:34:41    And your SDR is they're going to learn your customer stories inside out for fintechs. And they're going to tell them on Kohl's. So you're a hundred percent agree with you on that. That's awesome. You know, and I find our team myself, you know, I think it goes back to that. You're always driving to that number. It's always about speed to getting there that sometimes you lose track that, Hey speed. In all situations is not necessarily the best path. They're like, you should get more hyper-focused in areas which may reduce overall quantity, but the better quality will be the net result of it. I think it's kind of a vicious cycle we fall into. Yeah. A hundred percent. All right. We're on number eight. Are we on seven? I think we're on eight. You're making it harder for that. You're you're okay. Okay. We're on eight.  
Speaker 1    00:35:28    All right. Got it. Say w we're going to keep this real fluid. Mike we're eight, nine, who the hell cares. Let's just go after it. We're going to get 30 by. So this is following up from your point actually, which is regarding the fact that so we were talking about the customer stories, get your salespeople to be experts in your customers and not in your product, because there's all this thing. And always going to take months to learn the product. It's super complicated. All they need to do is get into the head of your customers. So that's always what I say is that whether your STR AEs become experts and your customers say you're selling to marketers, listen to marketing podcasts, understand like current marketing challenges, interview your current costs, speed to marketing, speak to the AA who closed the deal with, you know, your highest value customer and see if you can answer awesome particular questions.  
Speaker 1    00:36:18    And again, like in your first year, as a sales person, or first six months, three months, if you start hearing the same challenges, a lot of the time, those are the things you want to focus on. So rather than becoming like a real expert in your product, doing product training all the time, you just want to speak the language of your customers. That's why I've been able to grow my business because I've been selling to like sales and marketing leaders for the past five, six years. And I know their challenges. I don't know, like the sours consulting space super well. I was a marketing leaders cause I speak to them on a daily basis. So that's really should be your goal to really understand the people that you're speaking to. And then when you're doing cold calling again, it just becomes very conversational because you're just used to speaking to these people and you understand their mindset.  
Speaker 1    00:37:04    I like that. So there's a couple of things you pulled out from there. Hey, instead of being so focused on the product, product features, functionality, the inner workings of your product, be more focused on the customer story. Like why do they buy, what are the challenges those customers face? You know, either through use cases, talking to the rep that actually sold that account. If you weren't a part of it, talking to marketing, talking to actual customers themselves, maybe being on customer success calls with your client success team, maybe just setting up a meeting on your own, however that would work internally for your team. Those are good feedback. Hey, other thing I would throw in there, Mike, and I'm sure you would recommend this is with all these call recording solutions of OMA, chorus, gong, hell, do a quick search in those systems for that company, listen to the calls, listen to the discovery.  
Speaker 1    00:37:54    Call, listen to the presentation, listen to him and hear firsthand as well. Right? I mean, that's a fair ask or a fair step, correct? Yeah. I was speaking to a CMO the other day who I really respect. And he was saying, gong is not a sales tool. It's a marketing tool because I can go in and listen to the calls and I can hear like real challenges from the coming off and sour scores. And I just write those and in marketing, so yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah. It's funny. You mentioned that because our marketing team leverages our solution. We use a VOMA who they're a fantastic organization, but they use it to really glean a lot of insights. And what are the challenges? Sales is hearing instead of trying to pick our brain after the fact, they go into the call and listen to it back and then they hear it in real time.  
Speaker 1    00:38:39    And I think there's a lot of value in doing that. So that's awesome. Hey, so we're on number, what number we all like, you're going to keep me honest here. I said a number two. You said, hold on. We're on nine. All right. Let's do it. Number nine, number nine. You could have said eight. Hey that's yeah. This is a simple one. Once you brought the meeting, the problem is once they're like, yeah, sure. We'll speak next week. A lot of people are like, yes, I'm put the meeting. Like you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but what you still need to do at that point, if you're in B2B sales is awesome. Oh great. Is there anyone else who's normally involved in your strategy for X, depending on what you're selling or enough kind of a funny way to ask. I saw someone else say this on LinkedIn.  
Speaker 1    00:39:21    I can't remember who it was, but would anyone else be offended if they weren't part of this call on your team? Because B2B sales, there's always multiple decision makers. So once you put on meeting, you want to ensure you can try and get as many relevant people as possible on the call. You know what? I like that one. I've never, I've never actually done that. Um, kind of, I think that's a great idea. I think you're right. Could you lean into, I got the meeting job done, move on, right? Because what was the old saying in sales was once you get the meeting move all, I quickly, like that's your only goal is to get the meeting, but to ask that, I actually think that's a fantastic idea because once again, it's a human question, right? It's like, Hey, should anyone else, would anyone else be offended if they weren't invited to this meeting?  
Speaker 1    00:40:03    It could be a no. And that's fine. I'm assuming at that point in time, you haven't really earned the right or maybe don't have enough of a relationship or a rapport. I think that's a fair first question to ask by all the gates. Yeah. Do you have any stats or have you seen like, people are willing to bring in people that early or in any kind of context around that to see if that's how many actually say yeah. I mean, that's two things that can happen. One is like, oh, there's probably, it's just me. I'm the decision maker or whatever, or like, oh no. Yeah. I certainly invite some colleagues or like, I see if they're available. And normally if you're in B2B, like if they're really serious though, they'll be happy to invite their colleagues. So yeah. And then it's like anything, it sounds like cold calling in itself.  
Speaker 1    00:40:44    You don't ask for the meeting, you're not going to get it. And again, if you don't ask them by other people and it's a wording thing, right. You're not going to say, oh, are you the decision maker? Because if you're not, I want you to invite who else is involved in your strategy for X, Y, and Z. Oh, what do you think they should come to the core? Right? So it's all about wording and tone. Like anything, you know, it's funny you bring that up Michael, because you know, I used to have an old mentor that you should say sale is, you know, if you're a wordsmith, it's all about how has that words flow out of your mouth. And if they never typically would that don't say it like, are you the decision? Like that would never come out of my mouth as it should.  
Speaker 1    00:41:18    Like, it just sounds salesy. But Hey, w what anyone else would be like, there are certain things people can say and get away with because of how the personality, the tone, everything we brought up. But you've got to know who you are and be human, as we've said a million times. And then we that into what is the word smithing you want to use to get to that next step? Yep, exactly. Perfect. Number 10, number 10. So one of the big objections we're saying this year, one of the most common objections is send me an email and send me an email often is like, I'm quite polite. And I don't want to tell you, I'm not interested. That's like reading between the lines of send me an email. So normally what we say is trying to fuse that is, oh, what would you like to see in the email?  
Speaker 1    00:42:04    Because one, they can say, oh, this and this and your tailor again, it's like customer centric. You're tailoring it to them. Some people need a bit of guidance. So they'll be like, oh, whatever you got, and you can say, oh, we got one customer story on this. We've got an ebook on this, whatever it is, like, which ones of most interest to you. You're just trying to continue that conversation because if they say, send me an email and I'm like, yeah, sure. I'll send you an email after Ron. You don't know what to send them. And two, you haven't peaked their interest. And obviously going to try and keep that conversation going about what they want to see in the unit. That's a good one. You know, I, I remember back in the day, it used to be literally, I've got 500 pieces of collateral.  
Speaker 1    00:42:41    Help me understand a little bit more about what you're looking for. And I'm happy to whittle that down to one or two, that's going to be most effective for you. Or, you know, we can just get 10, 15 minutes, like the old pivot move. But yeah, I think we hear that quite a bit. The thing that we've always faced, um, and just kind of pivoting and going in kind of the challenge mode is that, and you said it at the very top, it's, it's just getting to the person on the phone. Like I think the connect like dial to connect ratio is I've never seen it lower in the B2B sale. I mean, like our numbers are staggeringly low. Like I know you can look at zoom info and all these technologies to find direct dials, but even that is a challenge in today's market.  
Speaker 1    00:43:23    So going back to that time and day, those are the things I find a lot of value in because it's all that understanding of you can't do any of the things that we discussed. So at least eight of the 10, maybe seven of the 10 until you get someone on the line, right. The use cases and give something, that's not selling them a solution. Maybe there's a free offering, but until you actually connect with that person, the rest is kind of moot, right? I mean, it's a moot point at that. If you don't get them on the line, right Mike? Yeah. A hundred percent and these, these things are all got, and you could have the best messaging in the world. It's how you could have the best product, right? No, one's seeing it or hearing it. Right. So my thought on this, and I know we've, we've discussed this in the past.  
Speaker 1    00:44:03    Is, are you a believer in, I kind of want to tie this together because all the tips that you've shared are fantastic. And there's probably three of them that I've been jotting down on my side that I want to weave into how we approach phone calling. So it's been, it's been helpful for me, whether it's been helpful for the audience, you know, I'm sure it is, but this is very selfish of me has been helpful for me. Are you a believer? I've had a couple people and I do this. I set specific times for call blocks on my schedule. Like, like when I was selling and even today as a leader, I set prospecting times and some people will whittle it down to email time. In specific phone time. Are you a believer that you've got to have those dedicated and obviously based on the data, maybe shift those around because if it's not working at two o'clock to three o'clock, then maybe move it to five to six.  
Speaker 1    00:44:48    Are you a believer in dedicated phone time? Or do you think it's more organic than that? Definitely a believer in dedicated, fighting time. I find if you don't put those core blocks and especially with technology now, why not do it? They, it doesn't happen. And we, a lot of our work, actually, even though we're top of the funnel consultants, we worked with a lot of full cycle salespeople and account executives, whatever you want to call them. And I always say to the clients like, look, if you've got full cycles, salespeople, do they have at least one hour, if not two hours a day to dedicate to the prospects. Because if they don't, there's no point you can't just do it here and there, it doesn't work. You've got to dedicate time to it. So yeah, certainly have that cool block in your diary. Yeah. If you're a full cycle sales person, maybe once a day, and if you're a full-time SDR, you probably want at least two call blocks a day, you know, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.  
Speaker 1    00:45:36    That's awesome. Hey, so Mike, so final thoughts, feedback for the audience? Just kind of any final thoughts for the audience? No, I think you've covered a lot. I got 10 points. I think it could be. You actually gave 11 man. You've actually given the love of man. So there's a lot that you've been able to, to give to the audience. So I'm sure they appreciate it. I know I've learned quite a bit from this. Yeah. Well, I'll give, I'll give one. What? We'll make it a 12 now I got another one's before was email. So I'll give it a LinkedIn one or I think this came up when we last spoke, Sam is when you connect with people on LinkedIn, send them audio notes. Our data shows you about three to four times the response rate on an audio note versus a LinkedIn message. Again, people are getting so many like spam automation messages on LinkedIn.  
Speaker 1    00:46:19    It's just a nice way to break through the noise. And I've been thinking about this psychologically recently with videos and audio notes. And I actually felt like it's a bit like guilt tripping because I think when someone receives an audio note or a video, they see you as a human and they fell like Ross for not responding. Whereas I think when it's just a block of text, they don't even see you as a human. They just see you as some kind of robot, even if it's not automated. So yeah, we lost my last set of settling 10 audio notes. They worked really well. Yeah. And you know, it's funny, Mike, that I think when we originally did this, I had never seen the audio note. And you actually sent me after the first try at the recording an audio note and I listened to it. I think I replied back, Hey, thumbs up. Thanks. I did. And since then I have not received another one from anyone else.  
Speaker 1    00:47:06    You're the only one like, and I, and I must on average, uh, just going back through my LinkedIn before our session today on advertise, probably get about 30, 40, Hey, let's set up a time to talk about this sales tech stack that you need as a VP of sales. Here's how we drive ROI with your sales team and those 40, they were all a link to their Calendly was in there a around ROI, not even a video, not even a link to a video, no audio note. So it goes back to that conversation. We were having that VP of sales gets 200 emails, but maybe never got a phone call that entire week. It's kind of a similar dynamic, right? That's the thing. That's the biggest challenge when it was about focusing on challenges. That's the number one challenge I focus on when I was speaking to people like yourself, it's very hard for your sales teams to break through the noise because people are getting so many automated sales messages and we're going to help them be different.  
Speaker 1    00:48:00    Right. That's our kind of big pitch. So you just had an ad on the head. That that's awesome. So, Hey Mike, how do people learn more about you connect with you and then how do they learn more about growth genie and what you guys are doing over there? Yeah, sure. So easiest way for me is probably on LinkedIn. If you put Michael Hunt site audio, now, if you connect with me from this podcast and you don't send me an audio now I'll be really on LinkedIn. And then our website is growth, gini.co not.com. Unfortunately I couldn't get the domain. And then my email address is, am Hansen at growth, genie.co. So yeah, email a website and then my, my personal LinkedIn. That's awesome. And we're going to include all of that in the show notes that way, make it easy to connect with Mike. I highly recommend it.  
Speaker 1    00:48:46    Mike is one of the people I actually follow pretty religiously on LinkedIn. He does a fantastic job with some great tips and techniques and just things that make you kind of, I think you posted something just the other day around, don't ask any questions after a slide that was, I can't remember it was a presentation or something like that. Um, and there's those little quick things that it makes you think. And as a sales person, you should always be trying to find ways of getting better. If you're at 9% open rate, how do you get to 10%? How do you get to 11? Like always finding a way. And I think Mike, you probably would agree with this, that I think we actually talked about this at one point in time, is that what we do today? And tomorrow nine times out of 10, it's going to be irrelevant in two weeks, two months because people just have a way of latching on to things that work.  
Speaker 1    00:49:32    Right. I remember LinkedIn was the secret of the silver bullet. You can just send a message and people would open it and respond. And now it's become saturated. Like, is that fair to say, like some of those things that you think work today and they might work today are not necessarily going to work in the next month, two months, six months a year. So you gotta be constantly evolving. Yeah. A hundred percent. Sours is always evolving. And I mean, we pick up, I don't want to name drop, cause I think that's not tasteful with competitors, but we pick up a lot of business from people that are using sours training companies or ESOP in like the seventies. And they just haven't with the times. Right. So this is evolving all the time. This year we're doing stuff that was completely different. It all SES. So yeah, completely agree. Awesome. Mike, sincerely appreciate you being on man. Have a great day, man. Likewise, Sam,  
Speaker 0    00:50:19    Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your host Sam Capra. Be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit sales samurai.io and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content. 

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Michael Hanson

Founder & CEO @Growth Genie

Michael Hanson is the CEO and founder of Growth Genie - a consultancy that empowers B2B sales teams to have better conversations and get in front of more of their ideal customers through cadences, playbooks, training and coaching. Michael set up Growth Genie after realizing that generating qualified opportunities from strangers was one of the hardest skills in sales, yet is often given to the people with the least experience, so wanted to support and enable them to be more successful and fulfilled in their role.