Why cold call selling works best when you do not try to sell

by on February 3, 2010 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Selling Essentials Info Center

Cold call selling needs to be about exploring and discovering fit.

Why do you use cold call selling for new customers? That question might seem like the ultimate “duh.” Of course, you say, I prospect because I want to sell. In one sense, that’s the right answer. But in another, critically important sense, it’s wrong.

If you get on the phone, or put on your cold call selling shoes and go knocking on doors with the idea in mind that you want to sell people, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Chances are you’ll find that cold-calling works much better when you go into it with this initial aim: “I will use all my energy and skill to find out whether there’s a fit between me and what I’m selling, and this prospect.”

The Paradigm Shifts In Cold Call Selling
This mindset changes everything. How? When you’re driven by the idea of cold call selling, you’re going to try to present, coax, persuade, push. These techniques have their place in sales, but not when you’re approaching a would-be customer cold, and for the first time. In this case, all you’re doing is creating pressure and resistance that eventually blow up your efforts. Imagine, on the other hand, that you approach the prospect with the goal of determining whether you want this person as a customer.

Who’s interviewing ?
Suddenly, your behavior changes drastically. You’re driven to find out as much information as you can about the prospect and his/her situation. Suddenly, the whole context of the conversation shifts. The prospect isn’t interviewing you – you’re interviewing her. And with that altered context comes a feeling of authority and poise that can’t help but rub off on the prospect.

Doing The Two-Step in Cold Call Selling
Great. You’re now convinced you need to transform your mindset with your cold call selling. But mindset is one thing, technique another. It’s all very well to have the right attitude. If you don’t possess the know how to grab and hold the prospect’s attention, however, you won’t have a chance to get into the questioning phase we’ve just talked about. She’ll simply thank you for your time (or not) and hang up. So what is this technique to grab and hold the prospect’s attention? In my experience, you need to go through a two-step process: 1) enunciate a compelling reason for the prospect to listen to you, then 2) gain her permission to go on.

A Compelling Reason
Here’s an example of an introduction with a compelling reason: “Hi. Is this an OK time for you? Thanks. I know you’re busy so I’ll be brief. We recently helped Associated Magnets achieve a 40% reduction in downtime, and you might wonder how we could do this for you.” Notice what you did and didn’t do. You got approval to start the conversation (if they say it’s not an OK time you can still proceed, with the “I’ll be brief” caveat). Then you delivered a powerful, unique statement of what you can do for them. You didn’t talk about what your company does or how. If the call goes somewhere, you’ll have time for that. But starting your cold call selling with a load of unsolicited information about you is a sure-fire turnoff for a prospect who doesn’t know you from Adam.

Permission Granted
So far, so good. Your prospect is listening. Now you can segue into the all-important permission to continue. Here’s what it might sound like: “Depending on what you’re currently doing, I don’t know if you have a need or interest in our services, but with your permission, let’s talk for a few minutes to see if there’s anything we’re doing that you could benefit from. Would you be comfortable spending a few minutes with me now if I promise to stick to my timetable?” What did you do here? You created a healthy, nonadversarial atmosphere. You showed you don’t assume you have all the answers. You set a reasonable time line, and, most important, you asked for permission. Rare is the prospect who’ll refuse it. If she does, you’ve probably qualified her off your list.

The Fit
Now you’re ready for the analysis portion of the call where you begin figuring out the fit that we mentioned at the very beginning. Maybe the prospect truly doesn’t want or need what you have. Or maybe she simply isn’t ready. If so, walk away – for good or for now.

Based on material from Keith Rosen

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