Guide to Cold Calling Success
While many professionals avoid cold calling, it can be highly successful if approached with the proper attitude. In cold calling, the goal is to get appointments; to arrange to be face-to-face with someone who might spend money with you. Sales research proves more phone time and face time with qualified prospects equals more sales.
Here is a step-by-step guide to cold calling success:
• Escape the fear of rejection. Any rejection is a rejection of the interruption your phone call represents; not of you personally. Some prospects may have been burned by cold callers and telemarketers in the past, so don’t take their coldness personally.
• Don’t be cold, tough or pushy. Take a “clean heart position”, and approach the calls with a sincere desire to see the prospects get what they want, whether or not they get it from you. You’re in business to be of service. Always be sure to thank prospects for their time.
• Create the optimal structure for the call. Once prospects are on the phone, pique their interest by saying something provocative, and asking questions designed to reveal challenges they may be facing. For example, explain the call is to discuss ways to help the company acquire more new clients this year than ever before, and then ask if, indeed, adding new clients is a priority. Or, say the call is in regard to getting better control of employee travel expenses, and then ask if the company’s travel expenses are high.
• If necessary, leave an enticing voice mail likely to interest the prospect and encourage a call back. Try to match your volume and speed to that of the prospect’s outgoing voice mail message. The last word of your message should always be the prospect’s name, not “goodbye.” For example, “Ms. Jones, this is Lenann Gardner, and I’m calling because I’d like to speak with you about how your firm can acquire many more new clients this year than in any year before. This will take only a few minutes. Please give me a call at (505) 828-1788. Again, this is Lenann Gardner at Gardner Consulting, and my number is (505) 828-1788. Hope to speak with you soon, Ms. Jones!”
Wait 24 hours for the prospect to return the phone call. If no response, call back and leave a similar message and again wait 24 hours for a response. If there isn’t one, leave one more message. For example, “Ms. Jones. Lenann Gardner. I’ve missed you again—we must be on opposite schedules! I’m calling with some ideas for capturing new clients for Smith, Jones and Green in 2007—I think you will want this information. Please do give me a call at (505) 828-1788. Again, that’s (505) 828-1788. I look forward to a quick conversation with you, Ms. Jones!”
• Send non-responding prospects a compelling e-mail. After leaving three voice mails, each one day apart, you have maximized the likelihood of getting a return call. Utilize much of the same wording from your voice mails, and consider doing the e-mail in slightly larger than normal type, so it stands out. If there is no response, assume the prospect has no interest and move on.
• Keep Focused. If you happen to speak with the prospect, remember your “clean heart position”, and be interested in your prospect rather than just advocating the buying of your services. Selling is not giving a speech about your services—it’s inquiring about your prospect, honestly expressing an interest. Remember, you are there to be of service. If you can’t be, get out of the way so the prospect can move forward.
The most important thing to listen for when talking with prospects is pain. Pain consists of things that have gone wrong in the present and the past or that may go wrong in the future. Pain is also that which has gone wrong for those in circumstances similar to the prospects’. When you hear pain, ask a question about it, especially if it involves an area where your service or product can help. Regardless of the response, make sure the prospect knows you heard, even if it’s negative. For example, “So, Mr. Smith, it seems as if, right now, you’re satisfied with the firm’s status, and don’t feel a need to make a special effort to attract new clients. Is that it?”
Don’t forget your objective. The goal of the call is to set an appointment; not sell yourself or your services. The goal is to get a meeting date and time on the prospects calendar before you hang up the phone.
About the Author:
Lenann Gardner is an internationally known sales consultant and author of the upcoming book, “Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services.” She is a winner of the American Marketing Association’s Professional Services “Marketer of the Year” award.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call (505) 828-1788.