OPINION: Making a good first impression and then asking the right questions are two important elements of the cold call.
Cold calling is one of the most difficult parts of selling. To be successful at the science of cold calling you must first define the elements, functions and formulas that comprise the call. Then, like all other sciences, experiment (practice) until you have a method that works.
The basic elements that comprise a cold call are to:
• deliver your opener;
• ask thought-provoking questions to create meaningful dialogue;
• make power (benefit) statements to establish credibility;
• qualify the prospect as to need, desire, decision-making capability and money;
• gather information;
• get what you came for – make the next step in your sales cycle; and
• have the right attitude and focus.
Here are several cold calling elements, guidelines and techniques that have proven to be effective.
- Opening lines are important
Deliver a smooth sincere line. The opening line determines if you get to the next level.
- Opening impressions are important
The way you look and come across in the first 30 seconds often (not always) determines your outcome.
• Make the prospect think
Your questions (power questions) and statements (power statements) are critical to gaining prospect confidence. Ask questions that show knowledge, imply prospect areas of weakness, and gather vital information. Make statements that are creatively descriptive, imply benefits and build your credibility.
Prospects are just as motivated to avoid losing something they already have as they are in buying something new.
• Get to the point fast
The prospect is busy and will be insulted if you beat around the bush.
• If you are asked for price, give it immediately
Try to do it in the most creative way you can, but give it.
• Determine what your prospect needs
Do this by understanding the problems of their operation, appealing to their sense of greed, evoking their fears, appealing to their vanity, determining what the prospect’s customer needs, and finding the hot button – then pushing it.
• They will resist you
So what? It takes seven exposures, seven tries to get the prospect to become a customer; if you quit after just one or two, the sale will go to the next person who shows up.
• They will buy to solve a business problem or satisfy a need
Statements and questions need to be pointed in that direction. Stress benefits (what’s in it for them), not features (how it works). Emphasise what they will gain – profit, pride, reputation. Prove that they will avoid pain, loss and criticism. Failure to express benefits in terms of customer needs will preclude the sale.
• Focus on negative prevention
Get them to share what dissatisfies them. Motivate them to show discontent with their current situation. Tell how they miss out on profits, eliminate worry, overcome fear, and avoid the terror of customer complaints.
• Gain buyer confidence
Use every weapon in your sales tool arsenal. Bring in testimonials, references and similar situations whenever possible.
• Fear of failure doesn’t exist if you believe it doesn’t
You will be rejected and the prospect will reject your offer. Big deal. Attitude, humour and action (persistence) will whip fears and rejection. You only fail when you quit.
• Set your own goals for achievement
Selling is numbers, but they will only work if you are prepared. You must work your numbers consistently to get them to pay. Push yourself to win. If you cold call enough people, you will make appointments (your objective), and you will make sales (your purpose).
• Visualise it happening
Seeing is believing, and believing is the first step to achieving. It’s easier to do what you can see. Visualising success helps eliminate fear of the unknown. Recreate those visual pictures with your words when you talk to the prospect.
• Get what you came for
Know what your objective is for this cold call. Close the prospect on the next step in your sales cycle. The biggest fear isn’t making the call, it’s asking for the sale. Focus on asking and push for it until you get it.
The best technique I can give you about the cold call is that it’s a big game; have fun and play to win.