Cold calling is one reason many people shy away from a career in sales. Sales professionals who make a six figure living will tell you that cold call training provided the basis for their sales success. Doubt it? Ask 'em.
Here is an 8–point game plan to begin succeeding at cold calling:
- Be exceptionally well prepared
- Know your best targets (pre–plan)
- Have a purpose (the big picture)
- Know your objective (get an appointment, get a name)
- Have a memorized script (lines, power lines, power questions)
- Have perfect materials and tools (ad specialties are good on cold calls)
- Don't apologize for anything, don't make excuses – When you get there, get to your business. Don't say, "I'm sorry to interrupt," just deliver your line.
- How do you deliver your first line determines your success – The impact of the first sentence will determine success or failure.
- Don't pay any attention to reluctance or fear issues – "Cold Call Reluctance" is another way of saying I don't know how or I can't plan or I don't like it when people reject me. Develop a pitch, read positive books, stop watching the news, and believe you can.
- Not everyone you call is a sale. Be prepared for rejection – People aren't rejecting you, they're only rejecting the offer you're making them. There, that feels better doesn't it?
- Learn from those who tell you no – Find out what caused them to say no or not be interested.
- Practice, practice, practice – Unless you own your pitch, you'll sound contrived. Nothing worse than a salesman sounding like a salesman.
- Have fun! – You're being paid to get the sales education of a lifetime. It ain't brain cancer, it's a sales call. Have a good time. Make someone smile.
Note: If you say, "I Hate Cold Calls!" realize it is a self-induced mental state that is easily overcome by a series of cold call successes, sales and commissions.
Here is a personalized formula for you to get better at cold calling:
- What are the most difficult things for you when it comes to making cold calls?
- Identify your weaknesses and fears about cold calls. List them. In detail.
- Create an action plan for each weakness so that you can overcome and eliminate them one by one.
- Work on one every thirty days.
- Challenge yourself to succeed every day.
- Quit complaining... no one buys from a complainer.
Three of the most important parts of the cold call are opening lines, power questions and power statements. They allow you to gather the information needed to qualify, determine needs and sell. Here are some examples and definitions.
If you use humor and get a blank stare – you're dead –
but a cold call is a crap shoot anyway...why not have fun?
Weak, door-closing openers:
- Could I have a few minutes of your time?
- I was wondering if maybe you would be interested in...
- Is the boss in?
- I have an idea that can save you money.
Strong, effective openers:
- I need your help.
- I know you actually run the place, but could I speak to the person who thinks they do.
- Is the king in?
- I need a loan for $50,000. I wonder if you could help me.
- I was just next door with ––––––––––, and he thought I might be able help you the same way I helped them.
- I was just next door with ––––––––––, and he recommended I stop by to see –––––. Is he in?
- My name is Jeffrey and you don't know me from a sack of potatoes...
- (in summer on a scorching day) I just fried an egg on my car and was wondering if you have any salt and pepper?
- Can you point me in the right direction? (A receptionist with a sense of humor will quip, "Sure, which way did you come in?")
- My boss said if I don't make a sale I'm fired, so if you're not in a buying mood, perhaps you have a job opening.
- If you use humor and get a blank stare – you're dead – but a cold call is a crap shoot anyway, why not have fun?
- The response (laugh or no laugh) will tell you exactly where you are.
- Laughing is agreement – tacit approval. Why not go for it?
- A question to make the prospect think.
- A question to let the prospect know you understand his or her business.
- A question that makes a prospect answer in a way that he/she reveals information that leads to qualification, appointment, or sale.
- Power questions are open–ended questions. Don't say do you... say what do you..., or how do you..., or when do you....
- A statement that makes a prospect think.
- A statement that builds your credibility with a prospect.
- A non–traditional (non boring) statement that describes what you do and how you do it.
- A statement about what you do in terms of what your prospect needs.
- A statement that is memorable.
Two more parts are attitude and focus. Positive attitude will impact the prospect, and proper focus permits you to use your skills to create action.
Is there a most important part of the cold call?
Yes, ask for the sale.
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