10 Steps in a Cold Calling Perspective
1. Have the right attitude
As the saying goes, 90 percent of everything in life is attitude.
The same goes for sales.
Before you ever pick up the phone, you need to have the right attitude.
Before you make a call or sit down to type an email, the first thing you should do is get your head wrapped around the concept.
You have the skills to sell in any situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s 58 cents or $58 million.
Give yourself a little pep talk each time and remind yourself: “Hey, I can sell this person.”
2. Believe in your product
You’ve got to believe in what you’re selling.
You’ve got to believe your product is worth at least 10 times the money and the time your prospect will invest in it.
If you don’t believe in the product you’re selling, each time you pick up the phone, you’ll become increasingly unconvincing and robotic.
Sell yourself before trying to sell anyone else.
3. Be persistent
You’ve got to be willing to keep calling people back again and again until you reach them, and they are willing to speak with you.
InsideSales.com research has shown that on average, reps give up after only 1.3 contact attempts. That’s not enough. Stats reveal contact attempts of 8-12 times may be necessary. You have to adopt a mentality that you won’t quit and bring that into every sales call you make. When a prospect sees your commitment and dedication, they’ll become much more receptive to your message.
4. Master the pitch
You’ve got to have your pitch down. That’s why scripts are valuable and important.
Whenever you’re making a sales call, whether it’s two minutes or 14 minutes, you need to know your goal.
The best cold calls are 30-45 seconds long
What are you hoping to get out of that call? Is it to close a deal? Is it to find out who the decision makers are? Is it to get an appointment?
Know your goal and tailor your pitch accordingly, because each of these calls will require a slightly different approach.
My cold call format:
- Ask for the decision maker by name
- When and if connected: State your name and company name clearly. Ask…Do you have a moment, or have I caught you at a bad time?
- When and if you get an OK to proceed. Tell them your benefits first. A maximum of three. Not your history, referral list, or your qualifications.
- Next step my be an e-mail, an additional conversation, or an internal referral. Schedule it if at all possible.
5. The significant differentiating claim
We do our best to provide call scripts with a strong differentiating message. If they don’t please let Gary Seale know as soon as possible.
Your claim has to be something a prospect cannot regurgitate and a competitor cannot imitate.
In other words, your prospect can’t ignore your claim and your competitors can’t match its value.
Your claim must become a hook that sinks so deep in the client that it literally creates a picture they can’t erase.
Nobody buys anything except for one reason, to solve a problem. With your big claim, make sure to clearly express how you will solve your prospect’s problem.
Remember, sometimes people won’t recognize they have a problem until you point it out. Wow them with what you know and what you can deliver.
6. Gains and losses
Before making a cold call, many people complain of nervous jitters.
No one likes rejection, but that’s part of the sales process.
Every sales professional should remember that with each call, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Great salespeople know this and it serves as a powerful confidence booster and motivator.
7. The best value
Every salesperson must believe they have the best value, regardless of price.
What that means is you have to convince yourself that even if you’re four times the price tag, you’re still the best value.
Understand what makes you better. Why should someone buy your product or service over anyone else’s, even when it’s pricier?
Make sure to convince yourself of this value as well as your prospect.
8. Respect your prospects
Treat everyone with respect.
Sales reps who are calling people all day can start treating new prospects like the last eight people they failed to sell. This is a big problem with cold calls.
You need to start fresh with every call and treat each new prospect with respect.
9. The Database – Target Market
Trucon works diligently to provide a database that is composed of prospects that meet the target demographic for each customer. No database is perfect and there will be employees who have left the company, bad numbers or companies that have gone out of business. Please note that in your call log so those numbers are not redialed. It may be necessary to adjust the database if it is discovered that the database is not directed at a viable group of prospects. Please keep Gary Seale appraised of your experience with the database.
10. Have the Right tools
Have the Right tools
Strong Wifi or line connection
Keyboard skills or yellow pad
Give yourself a physical/mental breaks – Practice good personal ergonomics
Reminder Scrip in front of you
Scrip available for copy paste and resending w/Graphics
Source: Gary D. Seale The Trucon Consulting Group 512-529-7045
GDS – Trucon Consulting Group
First of all, know yourself. Know what makes you angry or happy. Perhaps set up a scale for yourself. Explain how difficult it is to be objective about yourself.
Take the Strengths Finder 2.0 test – Followed by a DISC, Meyers Briggs and Sally Hogshead Fascinate
Think about how your demeanor impacts you, your associates, your prospects and customers. How you react emotionally and physically. That’s individual emotional intelligence.
Social EQ is how well you know and recognize emotions in others to help you understand and coach them to work in their area of strengths.
It’s the tangible intangible that helps you demonstrate self-control, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that product positive results.
It’s an important concept to understand because our brains are designed to feel an emotion first before we logically process it. Hence, the old sales adage, sales is about a combination of emotional and logical persuasion.
Psychologists tell us that every event or thought has an emotion attached to it. Obviously, some emotions are much stronger than other emotions and have different levels of behavioral impact.
The impact in productivity is significant. People want to know you care and have their best interest in mind. However, do not allow every whim that crosses an associates’ mind to direct company policy.
Example: Bob Gaines from Vallen, “Boys, this is not a democracy.”
Bradberry and Greaves wrote in Leadership 2.0 that 90% of the most successful leaders are high in Emotional Leadership. And the good news is that you can learn emotional leadership. (Remind listeners about their DISC scores. For some the learning curve may be steeper.)
Leaders high is social awareness are remarkably clear of what they do well that motivates and satisfies them, and which people and situations push their buttons. (Remember H.A.L.T. acronym)
As self-awareness increases, people’s satisfaction with life, (as defined by achieving their goals at work and home-skyrockets)
When you are self-aware, you are far more likely to pursue the right opportunities, put your strengths to work, and keep your emotions from holding you back.
How many times have you been told that management has an important communication for you, and it simply turns out to be another directive from “on-high.” It’s not for you at all unless you take a long-term perspective that what’s good for the company is ultimately good for you. That becomes an element of trust.
As a sales manager, you are tasked with productivity. That involves knowing the products, your industry, selling skills and company policy. However, for you as a manager, it should involve far more that these basic fundamentals. You will be wise to start purposefully developing and engaging your emotional intelligence.
I remember a story from my very first sales job with 3M. We had two sales teams in the regional office. Both had capable managers, productive salespeople and the DFW area was growing. The future looked bright for everyone involved.
However, on of the best producers, Chris, a high energy, happy go lucky young man had just gotten the shock of his life. His wife, who was a stunningly good-looking woman, had just informed him she wanted a divorce.
Now Chris had become a bitter, lonely, low energy, non-producing member of the team. This is a clear example of a non-job life situation that was having a huge impact on Chris’s lively hood and the company income. The emotional impact on him was self-evident, but in other cases it may not be so clear. Be sure to be aware of the macro and micro events in your workplace. Practice purposeful visits and inspections to monitor morale factors. Learn more about people reading skills. Energy, voice and tone inflections, body language, a drop off in quality.
Have an involvement process that says we care about you and your mental health.
In Chris’s case what would you do?
- Ignore it, it’s none of your business
- Refer him to the company insurance paid counseling program
- Step in as a concerned team member to listen and encourage him
- Chew him out because he’s not producing – Tell him to be a man and suck it up
By: Gary D. Seale – Principal – The Trucon Consulting Group, LLC
Many traditional sales instructions advocate a probing question process to identify the prospect’s real needs. Once those needs are identified, then the salesperson is tasked to present the product to the prospect so they will decide to purchase.
This process makes a major assumption. It assumes that the prospect has enough trust and interest to answer all those questions. This can be an issue due to the reticence of new prospects answering questions from a relative stranger. If you are in the early stages of developing awareness and interest in your product, then the deep question mode has inherent difficulties.
A solution selling perspective must rely on the marketing activities of the company to uncover viable prospects and quality them regarding the authority to make a purchasing decision. By necessity, if you have a small firm, then many of the marketing responsibilities will fall back on the owner or salesperson. Never-the-less it will always remain imperative to focus on your target market audience and qualify them before there is too much sunk cost in a non-viable potential customer.
“The changes in the marketplace driven by the information available on the internet and the willingness of your prospect to do a deep level of research have made a solution selling strategy viable and necessary in many cases.“
Your prospects are looking for real solutions that solve problems. That is why I have stressed the importance of the salesperson becoming a subject matter expert in the past.
In this case, it not simply just the salesperson, but the entire company that must be willing to offer a package of customized, bundled products and services to solve issues and earn business.
One of the distinct keys to having success with this approach is retaining salespeople who are schooled and experienced enough in the target market industry to be able to interact as a true resource to their prospects.
They should be able to put a unique proposal together that gives the prospect a new way to manage or approach their business. As a salesperson, they should be so knowledgeable about the prospect’s business that it serves as a foundation that allows them to make firm recommendations to the prospect’s staff and methods of doing business.
The salesperson should know what the real market drivers are for that industry. For example, in the crude oil marketplace in the domestic United States, $60 a barrel represents a benchmark of profitability that will allow a drilling company and producer to pay for the drilling, production and transportation costs and still make a viable profit. In contrast, crude oil produced in Saudi Arabia requires a higher cost per barrel price due to the commitment to the extensive royal family to provide living subsidies. This market data is available on a daily basis. An awareness of these market drivers and the influence they make will allow the salesperson to make better decisions and have a more superior interaction with a client.
The Solution Selling method may entail having the salesperson teach the prospect’s staff and production people about how their product will make them more competitive in the marketplace. Which is essentially another aspect of making the salesperson a subject matter expert.
As an engaged sales agent in the process, this strategy will challenge you to provide alternatives and act as an ongoing consultant. Make sure that as the representative for the supplier company you are in communication with every department in the company where your solution will have an impact.
All of these strong capabilities will allow you to challenge the prospect to make a purchasing and implementation decision.
The author has seen this method work very well in the semiconductor production tool and wafer manufacturing business. The strongest supplier in the static control and static induced contamination control market dominated the minds and purchasing decisions of the major players in the semi market due to PhD level research, publications, association participation and highly knowledgeable system of direct representatives and well-respected rep firms. They challenged the semiconductor contamination staff at the manufacturers with research from their own labs that exceeded the research at the manufacturer’s people. And they dominated the market!
These brief comments provide an outline of the thought processes necessary to stepping in with a business solution proposal. To implement these changes may require some deep training or attracting people from your target market that can provide you with the expertise necessary to deliver real solution selling alternatives. Be careful that you don’t allow this perspective to be ignored. It could be a vein of pure gold for your company.
No Clearly Defined Target Market
Perhaps nothing more can hurt or delay the sales efforts of a business or new salesperson more than the failure to have a clearly defined target market. Ultimately this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the business owner or senior management. Should the organization be fortunate enough to start off with a full complement of sales, marketing and research resources, then that responsibility should be delegated down to them.
The consequences for failing to have a clear definition can run from some level of rejection frustration all the way to failure of the business. The cost of your sales and marketing efforts that are not rewarded with revenue can be a critical mistake to the business that starts with little or no margin for mistakes. However, don’t be surprised to have some mistakes or strong need for course correction in the early days of your business.
Even the best research can be rebuffed by the responses from your prospects. It is best to be on the alert for trends that are seen by the sales team as they follow up and attempt to close business. The speed of change is more rapid than it was twenty or twenty-five years ago due to the information readily available on the internet, the number of well-informed competitors and the analytical tools now available in the marketplace.
Even based on the best analysis, assume that it will take six to eight weeks to make enough contacts to determine that you are approaching the wrong prospects. Then multiply your projected monthly revenues times those time periods and calculate the potential damage inflicted upon your gross revenue and net profit. This projection should be eye opening to the point that it will drive you to take market research seriously.
From an owner’s perspective, place yourself in the shoes of the new or inexperienced salesperson that is tasked with learning the product, the industry and the company culture. If that individual is instructed to call on the wrong people, then the challenge to get acclaimed and produce revenue can be the cause of self-doubt and a level of distrust with the management’s capabilities.
Do your best to refine your target market down to the point where you have a clear written profile of the ideal prospect. This may include far more than the ability to buy your product. Ideally, we would all like to do business with people that are agreeable, allow you to deliver your expertise without a great deal of push back and pay their bills on time. Consequently, it’s a great idea to look at every aspect of your prospect’s demographics and psychographics before you engage with them on a long-term basis.
If you are just getting started in business, have a clear idea of your expertise and differentiation message as you begin to visualize your ideal customer profile.
There are a number of ways to determine if you have a viable market for your product. They run from relatively inexpensive, manual methods to large scale statistical research studies and focus group research.
Here are a couple methods that you can use that do not require an extensive investment in time and capital.
- Determine a title of the individual that you believe who has the power to purchase your product. Use your Linkedin account to do a search for those people. Petition people for a connection that fit your geographic/demographic niche. Monitor for connections and start a systematic outreach to determine who will engage with you and provide feedback about the need of a product similar to yours.
- Purchase a list of prospects from a list supplier such as D&B Hoovers or Sales Genie. Be sure to pinpoint the industry, SIC Code, size by number of employees and sales dollars, geography and titles of the individuals you want to contact. Look at the company bio for the consumption of the product category you supply.
- Use the Navigator feature in Linkedin to set up a demographic parameter and see how many companies match your profile.
- Run a simple Google search and make a series of phone calls into those prospects to obtain feedback. Be determined to obtain at least 30 qualified responses before you attempt to qualify a market potential.
- Consider running a regression analysis with the data you collect to determine the reliability of your information.
- Hire a research company to perform concept testing.
- Do internet research to determine how many competitive products or companies exist in your potential marketplace.
- Conduct a potential customer survey (Social media ads or existing e-mail list) and analyze the results to determine market potential. Always ensure that you obtain enough responses to confirm that your results are statistically viable. Thirty results are an absolute minimum. A larger sample will increase the trustworthiness of your research.
The important take away from this discussion is to not be duped into thinking that everyone is a prospect. It is simply a beginner’s mistake that you cannot allow yourself to make. It is imperative that you focus on your identified target market.
Gary D. Seale- Principal
The Trucon Consulting Group, LLC