One of the quickest ways to get good at anything is to figure out what unsuccessful people do and avoid that behavior. Here, courtesy of cold-calling guru Art Sobczak, are the most common cold-calling mistakes — the Seven Deadly Sins of Cold-Calling that kill sales in 10 seconds or less:
1. Talking about you. Save it for mom, because prospects don’t care. They don’t care that your company is the biggest/oldest/best in the industry, or how much effort your company spent to develop this new and improved whatever. They only care about themselves. As salespeople, of course, we know it’s all about the customer. And yet this continues to be the number-one cold-calling mistake – because salespeople are just as human as prospects, and their number-one concern is – well, looking out for number one.
2. Diving into the pitch. This sin happens because salespeople are thinking about that 20-second cold-calling window. The stopwatch is ticking and they think, “I better shove in as much information as I can.” But if you don’t know the buyer’s needs, you’re just providing fodder for an objection: “We have that already. No, we don’t need that. We never expect to need that. Don’t know anyone who needs that. But hey, have a nice day.”
3. Sounding like a salesperson. “Nine out of ten retailers lose more to employee theft than shoplifting. If I could show you a way to cut down those losses, would you be interested?” It sounds customer-focused, but it’s not. It’s just a generic approach that shows absolutely no insight into the customer. And buyers have heard it a million times before.
4. Asking for a decision too soon. “Are you available next week?” No. “Does that sound like something you’d find useful?” No. Nobody’s ready to make a decision in the first ten seconds of the call, so if you ask for a decision – any decision – the answer is likely to be no. Why invite a no?
5. Playing postal inspector. “I sent you a letter last week. Did you get it?” You don’t have to ask; nearly all the mail gets delivered. What you’re really asking is, “Did you read it and what do you think?” Again, you’re inviting rejection. It’s fine to send a letter to take the chill off a cold call. But you don’t even have to refer to it when you call.
6. Asking without a reason. “Hi. Ben Jones here with ABC Office Supply. So tell me, are you the person who buys supplies for your office?” You’ve given absolutely no reason for the prospect to share this information with you. Better: “So tell me, are you the person who buys office supplies? I don’t want to waste your time if you’re not.”
7. Human robocalls. “Good afternoon, Mr. Mispronounce Your Name Here. My name is Jim and we’re contacting people in your area to blah blah blah.” Scripts are essential for cold calling. But reading them like a fifth-grade book report is torture.
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