Cold Calling Is Dead?
Cold calling – “Is it really dead?” I am frequently asked this question, and my answer is a resounding “NO”. However, processes have changed and cold calling is simply practiced in a slightly different way than it used to be.
My trainings have always advocated techniques to make a cold call a warm call by starting with :
- A referral
- Something you know about them, e.g. I understand you have ……. is that correct?
- Commenting on an action they made that you saw
- Noticing a comment they made on social media
- Having a connection with them on linked in
- Commenting on an article they wrote in Google News
There is so much information about companies now online, that there is no excuse not to find out something of interest about your prospect before you call.
What Is The Most Popular Way To Get Leads Nowadays?
Here is a Telesales Coaching Call I did with a customer and it’s part of my CD series “Telesales Coaching Calls Live”. I have copied the transcript of my critique below if you would prefer to read it than listen to it on Track 3.
For trainers who are reading this, I suggest you get your staff to listen and then ask them to critique the call themselves. You will then have my critique in the transcript to add to the coaching.
I hope you get some “ahas…” from these. Here you go:
For the whole series of coaching calls click here for more information
Telesales Coaching Call Critique (Transcript of the call)
1. Never use the word “BUT” to counter an objection in Sales Conversations
This one little word is often used when responding to an objection and it can spoil everything else you say. “But” negates everything you say before it so disagreement is all the customer hears in sales conversations.
If a customer comes up with an objection, acknowledge it and follow with the word “and” not “but“.
Customer: This software sounds like it would take a long time to install.
Salesperson: Yes, it does take a long time to install and that challenge is taken care of by our own expert consultants who set the whole thing up for you as part of the service.
Customer: It’s very expensive
Salesperson: I understand you thinking that and that’s why I would like to include a free service contract in the price for you for 5 years. How does that sound?
Why do some Appointments no-show? I have had a couple of interesting in-house consulting and training jobs just recently. In both, the telephone sales team were cold calling to make appointments for the salesperson. The first company were making appointments for a face to face sales presentation and the second were making appointments for a teleconference by phone.
In the first scenario, the telemarketers were saying they wanted to make an appointment for a sales consultant to say “Hi and drop off some samples”. Was that a compelling reason for anyone to feel they had to keep an appointment? If the prospect had something important to do at the time set, I am sure they would have felt it unnecessary to keep the appointment. After all, the sales consultant could just leave samples at reception.
In the second scenario, the prospect was not turning up for the teleconference call,. I believe this was because the telemarketer, on the initial cold call,had not given enough compelling reasons for the prospect to make sure he kept the appointment; He had not created enough pain for them telling them what they were missing out on if they did not attend. In some cases, he had not reconfirmed the appointment the day before or even given the prospect a number they could call in case they had to reschedule. There is considerable cost in having salespeople scheduled to do presentations to prospects. It is beyond my comprehension why Managers are not watching what is going on with their telesales team. Perhaps the telesales team needs to be rewarded for making the appointment only when the appointment shows up?
Today I had a call from someone wanting to make an appointment with me to help me with my IT. He told me he wanted an appointment so he could spend just 15 minutes telling me what his company could do for small business owners. What the heck would I waste 15 minutes of my time when I already have IT help? He never told me once what he could do for me which was all I was interested in . He just talked about him and his company without asking me a single question. Then at the end,to add insult to injury, he asked me what the name of my company was! Didn’t he know whom he was calling? Why do Managers waste their time employing people like this without training them?
Ten Ways To Ensure Appointments Show Up
This building rapport technique requires you to listen for your customer’s language patterns. This is a challenging skill to acquire but if you can start to be aware of your own communication style and that of others, you will quickly become a great rapport builder. When we use our customer’s preferred language style, we become like them, and we all know that people buy from people they know like and trust.
We communicate in 3 ways but we generally have a preference for one or a combination of 2 of the following ways.
1. Building Rapport Technique with Auditory People
These people communicate through their ears. They use language like “I hear what you are saying”, “Tell me more about it”, “Explain to me how it works”, “It sounds good”, “That rings a bell”, “I hear what you are saying”.
2. Building Rapport Technique with Visual People
These people communicate through their eyes. They use language like “I see what you mean”, “Can you show me how to do that”, “It looks like I will be going ahead with that appointment” , “I see what you mean”.
3. Building Rapport Technique with Kinaesthetic People
These people communicate through their feelings. They use language like, “I get the feeling this is not the right product for us”, “I would have to experience it to get to grips with what it is about”, “I need to grasp the concept”, “How do you feel about that?”.
Why Ask Questions?
It is important to ask great questions on a telephone sales call to build rapport early. That way you find out people’s needs before you start telling them what you have to offer. Ideally they should begin with What, Why, Where, When, How, Which and Who so that the customer has to expand on what they want and they cannot answer “no”. They should create pain with the customer or give them pleasure because those are the two reasons people want your services.
Inactive customers are people who may have bought only once from you or placed a small order. Never think they are not worth calling. It is a vital sales strategy to stay in touch with these customers as well as with your existing customers because you will be able to make more sales from them. Here’s how …
Maybe at the moment inactive customers might not justify a face to face call but you can certainly pick up a phone to stay in touch. You might be afraid to call them because they might tell you that they have gone to another supplier or they had a bad experience with you.
In order not to miss out on sales, it is important to change our strategies from time to time, particularly strategies to retain existing customers
I remember in the recession, when the training side of my business slowed down, I realised how important it was to retain existing customers. I made the decision to call some of my past in-house training clients to give them ideas of what they could be doing to get more sales at that time.
As a result of asking them good strategic questions, (And not just “How are you going?”) they realized what they were not doing and should be doing. Recognizing the extent of my experience in sales and marketing many hired me to review their marketing material, write their sales systems and strategy, (something they had never documented before) create their inbound and outbound call scripts, document the tasks of each salesperson’s role and create a training manual so that anyone new starting the role could start training themselves. The number of consulting jobs that resulted from this exercise replaced the reduction in training jobs I was experiencing at the time.
People often ask me “What has made you so successful in business?”
I tell them my business was certainly not an overnight success. It has taken years of
- Focusing on one topic – Telesales – and not getting distracted by other topics
- Persistence when the going gets tough. I mean it would have been easy for me to give up after the GFC or when the Do Not Call register was introduced but I didn’t do that.
- Constantly learning and looking for new material on my topic. I devour every book, article and attend as many sales seminars as I can. After 25 years in my own business,I know a lot but if I only get one new idea from each seminar and implement it, it’s a bonus.
Making sales by phone requires skill. One of the main reasons some staff (particularly new staff) fail at prospecting is that they do not sound confident . Well, if you are new, understandably you may not feel confident so you might need to be trained in some simple techniques how to sound confident. You might have to fake it till you make it. This is so important as no-one is going to buy from someone who is not sounding confident in themselves or their product or service. Your job is to generate such confidence in your product or service and transfer your energy to the prospect on the other end of the phone.
When making sales by phone, here are 5 simple techniques to sound confident