Think about it. SDRs are typically calling high level decision makers. The C-Suite and VPs, or at least director level executives. These are people who often times have decades of experience in their field, certifications, awards, accolades. They've been there and done that.
Yet we're having SDRs call them. SDRs who typically are young, inexperienced, 1st / 2nd job out of college. They don't have a degree in the industry they're prospecting into - let alone one in sales.
I call this the SDR Paradox .
So what's the solution? How can these junior level SDRs possibly be expected to have effective business conversations with seasoned executives?
It comes down to the mindset. SDRs need that high-performing mindset, they must view the prospect and themselves as equals. This is the biggest thing that separates high performing SDRs from the low-performing.
How do you get that high-performing mindset?
- Product belief
Okay, now let's unpack each of them.
Confidence is super important. It might seem obvious that if you're in sales you need to have confidence. But there's way more sales jobs out there than there is good salespeople. Many people who are in sales don't have the necessary level of confidence to do the job. The weak, timid, 'woe is me', down in the dumps types of people will not succeed in sales. These people walk with their heads down and slowly, they talk softly on the phone. Confident SDRs are loud, everyone else in the office knows when they're on calls, they stand up. They walk tall, with purpose and with their head up.
Also falling under the umbrella of self-belief is mental toughness. Mental toughness is also very important in the SDR role. In the beginning you're going to get rejected 9/10 times, maybe even 19/20. You need to be able to quickly bounce back, not let it get you down and move on to the next call with optimism - knowing you're that much closer to a 'yes'. Mental toughness is a must.
This confidence and optimism comes through in your tone when you speak with prospects on the phone. SDRs, every time you speak with a prospective client they are making a judgement. They're either going to come away from that interaction thinking that you're bored with your job or passionate about it. Some of it comes through in your words, but most of it is about the tone, the inflection, how loud/fast you speak. So how do your prospects think you sound - bored...or passionate??
One way to sound more passionate and less bored on the phone is by standing up while you're on the phone!
To succeed you need to have a crystal clear picture of exactly what value your product provides in the marketplace and be able to articulate it in a clear/concise manner. You need to truly believe that your product is the sh!t.
If you don't then you need more training. Go check out your company's case studies. Talk to your product team. Get on a call with marketing. Find out who the top sales rep at your company is and pick his brain. Ask your manager for help.
If you still can't get passionate about your company's mission - find a new company!
Once you do have the necessary level of product belief, your performance as an SDR will improve dramatically. You'll have a greater sense of purpose, like every meeting you set is going to lead to something big. You'll no longer downplay the meetings by saying to your prospects things like, "can we just do a demo?" or, "It will be 15-20 minutes, tops."
Most importantly, you will never apologize to your prospects ever again.
High-performing SDRs don't apologize to their prospects, because they know they're delivering value.
Now, there's definitely a balance here. Doing a certain level of call preparation is essential, especially in the world of complex, high end B2B enterprise sales. However, analysis paralysis is also a real epidemic. If you do too much research before each call, you simply won't have enough activity to move the needle. Jeb Blount goes into this in his awesome book, Fanatical Prospecting which I highly recommend.
With that being said, I'd like to introduce what I call, the EFI Rule. EFI, or Easily Found on the Internet. You see, the internet has changed prospecting. Five years ago it was common to hear sales people ask prospects questions like, "What does your company do?", "Can you point me in the right direction?", "What is your role in the purchasing process?" or "How many locations / employees does your company have?"
But in 2017, if you ask questions like that on a prospecting call you are wasting your prospect's time - and it's insulting to them. These are all questions you could find the answers to in less than 30 seconds on Google. Such information is Easily Found on the Internet (EFI).
By the same token, because of the massive amounts of information available to buyers today, they're able to do more of their research online - they're expecting MORE from sales reps. Canned product pitches no longer cut it. That's why the high-performing SDRs peak their prospect's curiosity and challenge them with a new way of thinking - they provide insight that's not Easily Found on the Internet (EFI).
*The EFI Rule for SDRs is: *
Never ask a question of your prospect that you could have Easily Found on the Internet, and always provide insight to your prospect that they couldn't have Easily Found on the Internet. We loved with a love that was more than love.
So there you have it. The 3 keys to having the mindset of a high-performing SDR. Self-belief, product belief and preparation.
Once you have these three areas covered, you will sound smooth, confident, relaxed and direct on the phone. You will no longer sound nervous or overly formal.
Matt Heinz put it best at the Enterprise Sales Forum last October:
After that first call, I want the prospect to lean back in their chair and say, "Wow, that was really good. I would have paid for that conversation - I would have paid for that insight." We loved with a love that was more than love.
In other words, the goal for every SDR, every time you pick up the phone should be, by the end of that call the prospect is thanking you - not the other way around.
Once you've got the right mindset as an SDR, everything else falls into place!
There's a huge demand for SDRs / BDRs right now. Some are average or below average - they're in sales because they don't know what else to do. But many SDRs are really freaking good! They'll immerse themselves in your company, in your technology, they're dedicated to getting better, dedicated to learning who your buyer is and what makes them tick. They're some of the most valuable people in your company.
This post first appeared on LinkedIn.