Article #83, July, 2009
Increase Your Sales by Warming Up Your Cold Calls
There is an incredible amount of information on how to do cold calls. I have seen 3, 4, 7 and 8 step processes. While there are similarities, each expert’s process is different. Based on my training and experience, I have boiled it all down into a straight-forward process for small business owners.
The basics include preparation, action and analysis.
Success in all kinds of marketing, including sales, is contingent on selecting the right target market. Once you have selected a clearly defined, viable target market, then you are able to identify the leads you want to call on. Targeting your leads makes it much easier for you to make a connection with your words, warming up the call. After creating or acquiring your list of leads, divide the list into “A” and “B” lists.
Most professional salespeople use scripts when they cold call. You should write a basic script for when the prospect actually answers the phone and create other scripts for other possibilities. For example, if you get an answering machine, what will you say? List all the possible ways the phone will be answered and write scripts for each one.
NOTE: I don’t usually leave a message the first couple of times I call someone and get the answering machine. It saves me time, but the bigger benefit is to the prospect. The prospect does not usually receive value from my message, especially if they don’t even know me, and they are not burdened with the request to call me back.
Before writing your script, make sure you understand what your target market needs and what their problems are. You will need to communicate why the prospect would want to meet with you. Also, consider the reasons why they might say no to the appointment and preempt them in your script whenever possible.
The outcome you will almost always aim for with the script is to set an appointment for a sales meeting. Be very aware of your choice of words, and resist the urge to try to sell your product right then and there. Avoid conversations about price and other features of your product. Just focus on making sure the person is right for you and getting them to meet with you. The sales meeting is where you will do your pitch and sell the product.
It’s a good idea to call your “B” list first, to try out your script and make sure it works without worry.
One expert, Jim Noon, suggests sending a greeting card to your leads before starting to make your first call to them. This gives you an icebreaker when making the call. You can ask, “Did you get my card?”
Once you have completed your script, you are ready to get started. It is much easier to make a lot of calls at once compared to making a couple of calls every day. After you get started, you will gain momentum and it will get easier and easier. It might even be fun!
Put a smile on your face and be interested in the person on the phone with you.
Listen carefully to the answers your prospects give to your questions. They will give you great information you can use to guide them toward a sale, if your product is a good fit.
Ask for the appointment. The ‘assumptive close’ works well here and makes it very easy for the prospect. You assume that they will want to meet with you. You might say, “Would Tuesday or Wednesday work better for you? Morning or afternoon? 10:00 or 11:00? If the prospect needs more information or is just not interested, they will tell you at this point.
Do not be concerned when you get a ‘no’ answer, even if it happens often. Learn from this and continue. Don’t allow yourself to take it personally and become emotionally upset. The person on the phone with you doesn’t even know you, so they are not saying no to you, only to the appointment. Besides, as the true professional knows, the more ‘no’ answers you get, the closer you get to ‘yes’!
Keep track of your progress with each call so you can judge your success. Analyze what words, phrases or sentences evoke a positive reaction or dialogue that lead to a ‘yes’ when you ask for the appointment. If possible, keep track of the reasons people do not want to meet with you.
Adjust the script and make more calls!.