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My 5 step playbook on winning the start of an enterprise sales call

You'll never start a call the same way again. A 7 minute read on a playbook I put together after thousands of sales calls.

This study stopped me in my tracks.

I’ve been through thousands of sales calls. I’ve made them, listened to them, and been on the receiving end of them.

The first few minutes of an enterprise sales call is where battles are rarely won, but often lost. I read a study that said within the first 30 seconds humans will have formed impressions related to competence and trustworthiness.

Pause.

Competence and Trustworthiness. If a prospect ranks you a 10/10 on both of these, how do you feel like your chances are at winning their business?

I’d say pretty damn high.

This means if you’re not surgical in those first 30 seconds, you’re losing out on $.

I wrote a five step playbook on how to nail the start of every call. My goal is to help you prevent prospects from thinking you’re not trustworthy or competent.

Quick FYI that my team at Postscript sells to enterprise brands on Shopify, but you can take this playbook and run with it for any vertical.

Step 1: Prepare like a Detective

My pet peeve is when I see reps scrambling to prepare 20 minutes before a call. You’re already playing from behind.

It’s key to prepare the day before. You’ll be able to dedicate more time to the preparation process. Also, sleeping on your prep allows your brain to digest all of your research. You’ll wake up more confident and ready to go on gameday.

Pre-call prep vibes

Sonny’s Preparation Checklist

  • Check their website

    • What recent case studies do they have?

    • What’s their core offering and value proposition?

    • Do they have any new products?

    • What’s their company story and mission statement?

  • Do your research on your attendees

    • Sleuth on every team member on LinkedIn and Google

      • How long have they been there? What’s their role? Check out their job history and see if you have any mutuals

  • Google them and check their socials

    • What are people saying about the brand on social? X and Tiktok are great places to look

    • Are there any news releases or articles about them? Read them and bring them up on the call

    • Who else is paying for Google ads on a search for your prospect?

      • This will lead you straight to their competitors

      • Find out who their biggest competitors are and what makes them different

  • Plan your discovery questions

    • Write down the must-ask questions you have for the brand (more on this to come in another post!)

  • Customer Story

    • I recommend finding a successful customer that is in a similar industry and that was dealing with the same core issues. You should have 2-3 customer stories ready to rock.

Step #2: The Pre-Email

Email each attendee on the list and let them know your agenda for the call. Ask them if there’s anything else they’d like to learn during the call.

Have you done your research and found out that you have mutual connections?Ask for the mutual connection to shoot a note over to the prospect. The earlier you start back-channeling, the better.

Bonus points if this comes from a customer, but your leadership team is a good place to start here.

Step #3: Small Talk vs. Trust Talk

Action! You’re on the call and you see your prospect join. What do you do?

Option A: Talk about the weather
Option B: Talk about sports
Option C: Talk about how being busy is good

Fingers crossed, it’s none of the above.

Instead use your research and more importantly, ask a specific question. For example, if you were to look at my linkedin, you could say:

“Hey, Sonny, before we get things going- I noticed that you transitioned from healthcare SaaS to e-commerce SaaS. What made you make that move out of healthcare and into e-com?”

Next, you can layer in one more piece and mention an article you found or the research you did. One of my favorites to ask is:

“BTW, I was doing my research last night and when I googled your name, I saw (insert brand/company) come up. Are they your biggest competitor?

Prospect gives you the scoop and talks about the competitor

You: “All right, let’s talk about how we can crush those guys”

Based on the vibe, you can follow that up later in the meeting with "What makes you different from that competitor you mentioned?”

The vast majority of enterprise companies know their competitors like the back of their hand and will open up about them.

This will separate you from every other meeting they have where they get asked about the weather or how their day is going. Now, this isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s a small win and shows you mean business and did your homework.

You want to stack up a lot of these small wins early on to build trust and momentum.

Step 4: Introductions

  • Suggest a round of introductions and kick it off by introducing yourself and what you do. Tee up the next person and keep it moving!

  • This is important because it gets everyone on the call participating and speaking.

Step 5: Set the agenda and own the clock

Alright. You did your prep, emailed the attendees before the meeting, replaced your small talk with trust talk, and did your introductions. Time to set the agenda and get rolling!

Here are the keys to setting a great agenda:

  • Talk about the most important things you want to cover today

    • Ask the group if there’s anything else they’d like to add to the agenda

  • Talk about your goal for the end of the call

    • “By the end of the call, it’s my goal for you to understand X and Y and then we can talk about setting up another call to cover Z if it makes sense. Today, we’re going to talk about (insert agenda items)-am I missing anything?

      • This sets a purpose for the call and puts you in the driver seat

      • This also plants the seed for the next call.

  • Call out the time.

    • If the meeting is for 30 minutes, you should say it’s your goal to get them out 5 minutes early. Do not ask them if they have hard stop- this suggests that you haven’t blocked out enough time for the call and that you don’t have strong time management.

    • It’s your job to lead and manage the call. Set the expectation that you’re going to do just that

      • This shows that you’re efficient and a professional. Remember we’re trying to build trust and show that we’re competent.

      • Everybody loves the person that gives time back. Be that person!

  • Transition into the call!

That’s all folks.

Hope you found this helpful. Let’s change the way we start calls and be the outliers! Time to dominate the week!

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Till next time!

Sonny

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