Elon Musk is on the phone. And you have 15 minutes to show him why he absolutely needs your product for his growing empire of companies. No pressure, right?
What do you say? How do you say it? How do you spark his interest? How do you keep him on the hook? And how do you move the deal forward?
You’re going to have to flex some serious sales muscle to close this deal – and it all starts with the foundation you lay in the prospecting process. Your skills, your strategies and your knowledge are about to be put to perhaps the greatest test in your career.
So let’s examine how you got here, how to make the most of your 15 minutes with Elon Musk, and the best way to follow up with flair.
Setting the scene
Ok, let’s get real for a second. As an SDR or BDR, you probably wouldn’t find yourself in a situation where you’re prospecting directly to a celebrity entrepreneur like Elon Musk. As the world’s second-richest person (at least according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaire rankings at the time we wrote this), the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and the founder of The Boring Company, Musk has his hands pretty full.
But it is fair to say that you will be selling to companies like his. So, for the purposes of this article, let’s agree to play a bit of make-believe and pretend like Elon Musk is your main target for prospecting. But let’s keep it realistic by choosing a REAL product to sell.
Generic persona research can be boring, and life is better with a little spice to it sometimes. So why not spice up what outreach looks like in B2B sales with a celebrity target!
What word comes to mind when you think of leading several enterprise-sized companies with HUGE mandates and missions. We thought “stress” works well for that. So what kind of product might help deal with that?
Hmm… how about the mental fitness app Calm? After all, Musk depends on thousands of employees across several different businesses to launch those rockets into the sky and keep those cars on the road.
Calm might be able to assist with that because they help build more resilient organizations. They do this by improving employee well-being through the promotion of better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and the continual development of mindfulness. The Calm app hosts a variety of resources and tools to help employees stay at peak performance. This is something that will probably be important to an entrepreneur like Elon Musk.
The companies he runs have big mandates to push boundaries and continually improve the industries they’re in. The employees who work at these companies must be able to deal with the stress that comes with that.
Sound good? Let’s go!
The sales skills you’ll need
So how did you end up on a call with Elon Musk anyway? It wasn’t by chance – rather, it’s because you’ve perfected the soft sales skills that make the difference between accepting the invitation or deleting it in the first place. We’re talking about skills like:
- Communication: How well you talk about your product – and listen to the person you’re talking to
- Resilience: How well you handle the many objections and rejections you encounter on a day-to-day basis
- Confidence: How much you believe in the product you sell – and your ability to sell it
- Knowledge: How much you know about the technology behind your product and the industry your prospect is in
- Work ethic: How persistent you are in your prospecting and sales strategies to get the job done
And of course, you’ve developed the most important hard skill, too: prospecting. In fact, that one skill is so critical that we’ll break it down below in more depth, with a few examples to help.
1 – Research
Resist the temptation to fire off a quick introduction or product pitch right off the bat, because the first thing you should be doing is digging deep into the person you’re reaching out to.
In this case, you’ll want to find as much information about Elon Musk, his motivations, his personality, and his companies as you can. This might mean scouring the internet for:
- His LinkedIn profile (if he had one)
- His social media activity (good news: he’s quite active on Twitter)
- Interviews he’s given (check out his appearance on The Joe Rogan Podcast, for example)
- Company information – size, key employees, etc.
- News stories about his companies
- Employee and product reviews
- The latest trends in space travel, transportation technology, and environmental sustainability
Gathering information before the first contact will help you do two things:
- Qualify if he’s a good fit for your product.
- Tailor exactly what to say to catch his attention. What does he care about? What does he struggle with? What do his employees think about working at his companies? What kind of tone does he use when he communicates?
With the answers to these questions in hand, you’re ready to reach out.
Our own research on Musk shows us (and this is just scratching the surface):
- He’s not a suited-and-booted businessman. He has a quirky sense of humor and likes to build flamethrowers (ahem, we mean Not-A-Flamethrowers) for fun. So we’ll keep our messages focused but clever.
- He hates process – in fact, he sees it as a substitute for thinking. So we’ll steer away from talking about processes with him.
- He puts a lot of pressure on the people he works with in order to achieve the results they achieve. So we know that, while he’s a demanding boss, employee engagement and productivity are important to him.
2 – Outreach
Elon Musk is a busy man, so it’s safe to assume it’ll take a few failed attempts before you finally have him on the hook. In fact, this isn’t far off the mark for most prospects:
- Only 24 percent of sales emails are opened.
- It takes 18 or more attempts to connect with a prospect over the phone.
- Call-back rates are typically below one percent.
Don’t let that stop you, though. As Elon Musk once said, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” And this sale is important enough. So let’s walk through three types of touchpoints you can use to land on his radar and book your first meeting. (Assuming you have his contact info, of course.)
Emails are a particularly valuable channel to grab the attention of someone like Elon Musk, especially if you keep it short, concise, and engaging. A strong prospecting email will tell Musk three things: Why you’re reaching out, why what you have to say is important, and what he can do about it. In this case, we want to stress:
- An understanding of what his companies are doing right now (and why they’d be a good fit for Calm)
- The benefits he’ll see from the productivity and engagement boost that comes with good employee mental health
- A clear next step to continue the conversation
It should also tie in the research you’ve already done about him. Make note of any major events you can tie your pitch into, and adjust your tone to resonate better with his.
That said, don’t overdo it on the emails. Yes, they’re easy to send; that’s part of what makes them a cost-effective tool for sales reps. But it’s also easy to cross the line from sales to spam. So consider spacing out your emails and switching up the wording between each one to keep things fresh and encouraging him to finally click.
Here’s an example first touch email we might send to Musk:
2 – Social selling
We know from our research that Musk personally spends time on social media. You can find him on Twitter, for example, where he’s known to reply to some of the tweets about him, and even answer questions like how to change the airflow settings in a Tesla S. He even uses his Twitter DMs to send memes.
Social selling is all about zeroing on a prospect, building a relationship with them, and ultimately selling them on a product or a service. Don’t confuse it with a deluge of unsolicited DMs or mentions, or mass “please add me to your network” requests – your goal here is to make your connection more meaningful.
In the case of Musk, we might consider sending him some meme-worthy content that shows we have a fun side while demonstrating an understanding of his businesses and their needs.
Here’s a DM we’d love to send:
Hey Elon, think you dropped this. Just wanted to make sure it found its way back to you since it has such a nice message. ❤️
3 – Cold calling
Full disclosure: a cold call probably isn’t the best method to reach Musk – you’ll have a hard time tracking down his number, and once you do, it’ll be another ordeal to get him to pick up. But a salesperson never shies away from the phone!
So let’s say you’ve managed to accomplish all of this, and you’ve got Musk on the line. Now, you must make the phone call about his companies and their specific needs. His time is likely some of the most valuable time in the world. And the small time you have to chat might be squeezed between meetings with global business leaders and even presidents.
This is your chance to ask some initial questions, like how Tesla shows staff appreciation during tough times like the latest pandemic supply chain issues and the global microchip shortage, or how he keeps morale high at SpaceX as they’re under the pressure of launching a new prototype rocket. It’s also your chance to tie his business goals back to Calm, like the company-wide impact of better sleep when stakes are – quite literally – sky-high.
3 – Demo Day
This is it – your 15 minutes of glory. Musk is on a video call with you and he’s interested in what you have to say. So how are you going to pitch your product? Your sales demo is your key opportunity to discover more about his challenges with employee engagement, morale and productivity, and demonstrate what Calm is capable of accomplishing.
For example, he might ask a question about the connection between a good night’s sleep and employee productivity. In response, you could listen to a sample of a sleep story told by Matthew McConaughey (a premium piece of content that’ll be available to all his employees if he signs up). Show him that 73 percent of Calm users report less stress in their lives. Tell him about the results companies like KraftHeinz have been seeing since rolling Calm for Business out in their offices. Always try and use social proof that they can resonate with.
Or maybe he’s more interested in the analytics behind the scenes to see how engaged employees are with the platform. You’ve got that covered too – just walk him through the reporting that Calm offers about usage and new sign-ups to show him how he can set company-wide goals and track progress toward them.
By the end of your time together, you’d like to ideally like to have these 2 questions answered:
- Is this a fit? Do you see alignment between their needs and what you have to offer?
- What are the next steps? Never end a meeting without concrete next steps in place. This can lead to you chasing a prospect which is an unproductive use of a sales rep’s time. Often times next steps in software sales involves a deeper demo with additional stakeholders.
4 – Follow-up
If you manage to get them interested in your product during your 15-minute phone call, you’ve done an incredible job. However, it’s more likely that you’ll have to follow up on the call if you want to keep the deal moving forward.
Follow-ups are an important sales technique that helps keep you and your offer top-of-mind during a busy prospect’s day. Chances are that they have 200 emails sitting in their inbox at any given time, and they’re receiving 120 more each day. And that’s just emails – never mind the phone calls. For Musk, we can only imagine the numbers are much higher. So even if he’s interested, you’ll need to keep nudging him. The perfect follow-up:
- Happens right after the call. Sending a short-and-sweet note in a prompt manner shows you’re on top of your game and interested in moving forward. Wait too long and you’ll send the message that maybe you’re not that interested in having Musk as a customer after all.
- Is personalized to your prospect. Thinking about sending a templated “Just checking in…” email? Think again. Craft your subject line and message to recap what you talked about in your call.
- Define/repeat your next steps. Let’s say Musk agreed to hop on another call in a week’s time to sort out the details of a potential deal. Great! Just don’t leave your follow-up with “I’ll call you in a week.” Get specific and say “I’ve sent the calendar invite for Wednesday at 10 a.m. looking forward to connecting with you then” Don’t leave anyone guessing.
Learn more about the sales process with Uvaro
Here’s the thing about selling to a company like Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company: anyone can do it!
Uvaro offers a 12-week course to salespeople from all backgrounds and helps you build the soft skills required to become the ultimate master of sales. Plus, we even offer career guidance after graduation! Perhaps you’ll be working for Elon Musk one day… who knows?
If this sounds like something you might be interested in — Uvaro is here to help! Apply today and get your career in tech sales started!