Many of us are filled with a sense of trepidation, or even dread, at having to pick up the phone to make that first call.  It doesn't have to be like that. Here's how to do it the inbound way.

First, prepare yourself. Make sure you are clear on your strategy for the call and beyond to the next steps. Have some supporting notes in front of you to keep you on track, and if you can prepare some questions to ask or points to make that are relevant to the prospect, write those down too.

This should not be a cold call, there's not really any excuse for doing that any more. If the prospect has come through your marketing as a lead, then they should already know enough to recognise who you are, where you are calling from, and maybe even why you are calling them.

If they haven't, it's worth your time and theirs to put effort into connecting with them online first, and then following up with the call once they react.

No selling either. The purpose of the call is to make a connection, and qualify if there is a reason why you should both continue the conversation at a later point in time. If the emphasis is going to be on any sales qualification, then it should be on Need, and maybe also on Timing. Not Budget, or Authority, or you'll come across as salesy and vulgar, and nobody wants that.

The outcome of the call should be one of these three conditions:

1 - Advance to Sales Qualified Lead. This is where you've established you are a right fit for their needs, and a reason to move ahead now. 

2 - Nurture. This is where there is a potential fit, but not right now. Pass these to marketing to keep in touch with them until they are ready.

3 - Disqualify. No fit, ever. If this was a lead from Marketing, let them know so they can review their funnel and amend it to prevent these kind of leads coming through again.

There's much more detailed and useful advice in the attached article, if you've found this bit useful, I urge you to go and read the rest of it.

One last point I'd like you to consider on the importance of disqualifying leads. Sales time is expensive, so you need to reduce the waste of poor quality leads, but more importantly, poor leads are demotivating. It's the responsibility of Sales AND Marketing to make sure all the leads are followed up. Keeping the quality high and a consistent feedback loop going is the best way to make sure both teams work together to drive the quality up.

Read on, and then get back to the phone.