How to cold call?

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

6 keys to profitable, fearless cold call sales techniques

All successful sales pros know that the ability to cold call is an essential skill. Great sellers keep an appropriate balance between cold calls and “warmer” contacts – referrals, up-and cross-selling, replacement sales. Yet too many reps hesitate to make the cold calls that would transform their results from acceptable to top-of-the- charts.

  1. They don’t know how to get in.
  2. They don’t know what to do when/if they get there.

Getting in with a cold call
Yes, lots of obstacles stand in the way of a rep who strolls through the front door and asks to see “the person in charge of” whatever you’re offering. But you needn’t let the barriers keep from making successful cold call sales. Try these techniques:

    Gatekeepers spook some salespeople, who see them as a threat. But you can choose to view that secretary, receptionist or assistant as an ally. (This is a lot easier in person than over the phone, by the way.) Remember, gatekeepers aren’t supposed to turn everyone away. Their boss wants to be apprised of important callers and information. If you can show the receptionist that what you have to say in that cold call is important to the boss, she’ll only be doing her job by facilitating your contact with him. Suggestion: Develop a stand-alone presentation for the gatekeeper.
  2. Defrost your cold call
    A cold call doesn’t have to start from a temperature of absolute zero. You may want to telephone or e-mail your target first, if you can get the contact info. Or drop by and leave her a set of materials – including your card – without even trying to see her the first time. She probably won’t call back, but when you do show up asking to see her, she’s more likely to make time for you.
  3. Let timing help you
    Cold callers sometimes worry that their target will be too busy to think about what they have to say. You can use timing to overcome this concern. Many companies operate on a cycle that leaves them super-busy at times, but more relaxed at others. If you take the trouble to discover these cycles, you can schedule your cold call at a time when you’ll find a prospect who’s got time to hear about new ways you can boost his revenue or cut his costs. It’s always a good idea to call in early morning, between, say, 7 and 7:30 while your prospect is sipping coffee and reading the paper before starting her daily round of meetings and phone calls. Likewise evening after closing time when everyone – including gatekeepers – has left. Often, your prospect will respect you for being, like him, a late worker, and give you 10 minutes for that reason alone.
  4. After you’re in
    OK, you’ve gotten in to see the “cold” prospect. What now?

  5. Polish your presentation
    Nothing lends confidence like the knowledge that you can express the benefit of your product or service in a few well-chosen sentences. Example: “We’re the fastest growing company in the industry for a reason. Our widget doors will cost you 35% less to operate than competing products. I’m sure when you look at our product, you’ll like it. Do you have 15 minutes now for a presentation? Or is Tuesday better?” Role-play the presentation with a colleague and let her try to punch holes in it. Develop a “second wave” to use after an objection.
  6. Speak the language
    You can turn a prospect on, or off, fast with your ability (or lack of it) to converse using the jargon of her trade. Example: Orthodontists don’t say “braces.” They say “appliances.” A rep who uses the former word will make the prospect flinch. When you use the latter, you score a point.
  7. Make sure everyone’s there
    You may have targeted the one and only decision-maker with your call, or you may not have. Once you’ve established rapport with your contact, work diplomatically to find out whether the approval of others is needed to buy from you. If so, try to get them into the room then and there, or at least make sure they attend the appointment you set up.

Based on material from Chuck Piola

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