Cold calling: Expect nothing from your prospect

by on July 2, 2010 · 6 Comments POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog
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Try something different on your next round of cold calls. Repeat after me:

“On my next 10 calls, I will not expect negativity:

  • I will not expect the people I call to be rude.
  • I will not expect them to tell me they’re not interested.
  • I will not expect them to say they have no budget.
  • I will not expect them to say they’re happy with their current vendor.”

“Nor will I expect a positive outcome:

  • I will not expect the prospect to buy anything from me.
  • I will not expect to get an appointment.
  • I will not expect that this prospect will be qualified to buy what I sell.”

Expectations – good and bad – can hopelessly skew a cold call. They try to force the call to go in a certain direction.

The truth is, you don’t know enough about your prospect to know where any given call should go. It may be the buyer has absolutely no need for what you sell. Or he may be standing knee-deep in alligators and you just happen to sell ladders. You never know. In fact, that’s precisely why you’re calling – to find out.

The point of a cold call shouldn’t be to lead the buyer to some place YOU want them to go. It’s to find out where THEY want to go, so you can meet them there if you can.

Here’s a call with expectations:

“Hi, this is Harry from XYZ Widgets. We sell all kinds of widgets and I’d like to set up a meeting so I can show them to you. How’s Thursday?”

Sorry, Harry. Not going to happen.

Here’s a call with no expectations:

“Hi, this is Irene over at QRS Widgets. I see that you use a lot of widgets, and I was just curious what you do with all of them.”

When Irene asks a question like that – completely open-ended, without any preconceived notions or expectations – the prospect just might tell her something interesting: “Well, Irene, unlike most of your buyers we dip them in chocolate and bake them in pies. And we find that most widgets aren’t as crunchy as we’d like. Want to hear more?”

Of course she does. Maybe she’ll sell this prospect some crispy widgets. Or learn something she can share with other customers. Or open up a whole new market in edible widgets. Whatever the outcome, this cold call certainly didn’t go in any direction Irene could have expected. And that makes it an excellent call.

photo credit: Esparta

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  • Joe

    Easier said than done; any number of things can effect how someone goes into a cold call, but you’re right. Going to have to really make an effort to not pre-judge a cold call in the future.

  • Joe

    Easier said than done; any number of things can effect how someone goes into a cold call, but you’re right. Going to have to really make an effort to not pre-judge a cold call in the future.

  • Joe

    Easier said than done; any number of things can effect how someone goes into a cold call, but you're right. Going to have to really make an effort to not pre-judge a cold call in the future.

  • Joe

    Easier said than done; any number of things can effect how someone goes into a cold call, but you're right. Going to have to really make an effort to not pre-judge a cold call in the future.

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