Posted: June 19, 2012
You had me at hello
Increase your cold-calling successBy Liz Wendling
Making a connection remains a crucial skill to possess, whether you’re a salesperson, business owner, job seeker or fundraiser. Picking up the phone and talking to someone in the form of a cold or warm call sends many people into a full-blown panic attack. Some would rather spend an entire day in a dentist's chair than pick up the phone and talk to a stranger.
The majority of successful new business opportunities begin with some form of a cold call. If you don’t know someone and they don’t know you, it’s a cold call. Regardless of how that call begins, it’s icy and it’s up to you to warm it up. Even if you’re calling a referral and they’re expecting your call, it’s still ice cold and must be treated with precision. Taking an inbound call to your company inquiring about your services is also a cold call. Many salespeople make the fatal mistake of treating warm and referrals calls with a different or more laid-back approach and wonder why their calls go nowhere.
Some companies still use cold calling as a way to generate sales and do it flawlessly. Others are not so fortunate because they refuse to update their approach and create a different sales conversation.
In a perfect world, your phone would be ringing off the hook with new customers who want to buy what you have to sell. The reality is that if you want to increase business, you need to go after the business, and cold calling is an effective sales tactic if it's done properly. Yes, there is a way to do it correctly and effectively.
Done well, cold calling can work. Done poorly with the wrong approach, can be a waste of time, money and energy. An effective cold call is about having an initial conversation to see if there is a fit. It’s not about pushing your products or your company. Starting any call talking about yourself, your products or how you can help will never capture someone’s attention and advance the conversation.
Most salespeople start their cold calls with “My name is….I’m with…. we specialize in and we can help you with…”! With so much to accomplish in so little time, the first words out of your mouth are critical. If you only have a few seconds to grab a person’s attention and make an impression, why waste time with a limp opening? The call is over before it even starts. You’ll never have them at hello.
Want to significantly increase your success when cold calling? Stop using the same old tired, weak and overused opening statements that instantly send a signal to the caller that you haven’t revamped your approach in a decade, such as: "Could I have a few minutes of your time? "Is this a good time to talk? "How are you doing today?" "Can I speak to the person in charge of…?” or "I was wondering if you would be interested in ...?” These statements force the person you’re calling to pull the trigger on one of their standard responses, “Thanks but no thanks, we’re happy with who we’re using or we’re not interested.” If you want to have someone at hello you need to do stop saying things that make them want to say good-bye.
There are many sales trainers that teach salespeople to go into an immediate sales pitch, give a commercial on their company, and talk about all the great benefits their company offers. Wrong! Customers only connect and engage when they feel that you understand their issues and problems before you start talking about your solutions. Again, never push your solutions until you fully understand their problems.
Your potential customers are waiting to be engaged with genuine communication, a fresh approach and a cold call that is different from everyone else! Do not stay a victim of the traditional cold calling methods – learn to differentiate yourself successfully and learn to capture someone’s attention at hello.
Liz Wendling is "The Sales Coach for Women" and the author of "The Unstoppable Business Woman." Liz empowers women business owners (and smart men) to create immediate sales results, achieve lasting business success and permanently raise their bottom line. From the novice to the seasoned sales professional and business owner, Liz provides coaching around communicating more effectively and selling more efficiently. Go to: www.salescoachforwomen.com or email Liz@salescoachforwomen.com
Download 2 FREE chapters of her latest book at www.theunstoppablebusinesswoman.com