Cold call sales are won or lost in the first 20 seconds

by on February 1, 2010 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Selling Essentials Info Center

Nail the first 20 seconds of cold call sales and you’re in

How do people react to your cold call sales? Do they drop everything they’re doing to listen to you, show mild interest and agree to a callback – or growl brusquely that they’re not interested? You’d like everybody to fall into the first category, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can grab prospects’ attention and within 20 seconds have them listening attentively.

SHARPEN THE FRONT END IN YOUR COLD CALL SALES

I don’t mean to imply that your current approach is terrible – a smart person like you wouldn’t repeat something that was an utter failure. But the fact is, almost all sales pros can benefit by sharpening the front end of their prospecting calls.

A WINNING FORMULA

I’m going to give you a cold call sales formula to do that sharpening – and explain why it’s not as obvious as it may look.
Here it is:

  1. Introduction in cold call sales. “Hello, I’m Darrell Doright with Worthwhile Widgets.” No surprises there. Except that sometimes, you might want to give your company name but not your own – the idea being that prospects will care more about your name, and ask you for it, after you’ve explained what you can do for them.
  2. How you may be able to help. “I’m calling today because, depending on what you’re now using for flow control, there’s a possibility we may be able to help you minimize waste and maximize throughput.” Consider the studied modesty of this statement. You’re not doing the cheesy hardsell thing by assuming bombastically that you have the answer to all their problems. Instead, you’re acknowledging right up front that they know their situation better than you, and that they have to make the call on whether you can help.
  3. Expression of respect for their schedule. “If I’ve caught you at a good time …” Notice you’re not asking whether this is a good time. That’s risky. But you are leaving them an opportunity to say it isn’t a good time – an opening that relatively few prospects will take when you express it this way.
  4. Action plan for the remainder of the call. “… I’d like to discuss your situation/ask you a few questions and see if this is something you’d like to take a look at.” Here you move seamlessly into the payoff. You’ve shown what you have to offer, and done nothing to turn the prospect off. Chances are she’ll give you the minutes you need to see whether she’s got potential as a buyer.


ALL TOGETHER NOW

Here’s how this cold call sales technique sounds: “Hello, I’m Darrell Doright with Worthwhile Widgets. I’m calling today because, depending on what you’re now using for flow control, there’s a possibility we may be able to help you minimize waste and maximize throughput. If I’ve caught you at a good time, I’d like to ask you a few questions and see if this is something you’d like to take a look at.” And it takes only 20 seconds or so. Time it for yourself.

NOT SO SIMPLE, ACTUALLY

This cold call sales approach, seemingly so simple, is carefully constructed to avoid the pitfalls awaiting the unwary prospector. Here are some of those pitfalls. Have you ever fallen into any of them while looking for new business?

  1. TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF This happens when the salesperson starts with a description of his company and its products. Naturally, if the salesperson hasn’t given the prospect an idea of how all this may be relevant to her, she’ll start drumming her fingers.
  2. PRESENTING UNINVITED This is an extension of the first mistake. It happens when a salesperson launches into a pitch for a product he’s not sure the prospect even needs. Usual result? The prospect fumes for a while and then cuts off the call.
  3. OVERPROMISING You aren’t 100% sure you can help the prospect the first time you call. So it’s plain wrong to say in cold call sales, “We guarantee results” or “I know we can make a difference in your business.”
  4. JUMPING TO A ‘CLOSE’ This happens when the salesperson starts by saying something like “I’m calling to see about switching you over to our service,” or “Let’s discuss your potential purchase of our geekbenders.” That’s like stopping somebody on the street and saying, “Hey, let’s have a relationship!”
  5. Based on material from Art Sobczak

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