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Common Questions and Answers
The basic rule for cold calling is that the more calls you make, the more sales you’ll get from the whole process. But if you use that as your only guideline, you’ll end up making vast numbers of cold calls just to meet your basic goals. Instead of quantity, try focusing on quality and you’ll find that you need fewer calls to keep your pipeline full. These tips will help you to make the most of your calls.
1. Catch Their Attention in 15 Seconds or Less
Fifteen seconds is about how long you have before your prospect realizes that this is just another lousy sales call and stops listening to you. After that point, his mind snaps shut and he’s likely to utter a polite “no thanks” or possibly just hang up on you. Your first 15 seconds of talk time have to be both interesting and jarring enough to break through that mental defense.
2. Create Excitement
Think of it this way: you have a fantastic product that will make a great improvement in your prospective customers’ lives. You’re about to give the person on the other end of the line a huge gift by telling them about this wonderful product and how it can help them. Then make sure that energy and enthusiasm comes across in your tone of voice.
3. Mirror the Prospect
People are most comfortable dealing with other people who are very much like them. Jot down a few words or phrases as your prospect uses them and work those phrases into your end of the call. Try to match their volume, speed and tone of voice as well. Of course, you don’t want to take it so far that it sounds like you’re making fun of the prospect.
4. Use Their Favorite Word
Experts say that everyone’s favorite word is their own name. As soon as the prospect tells you his or her name, write it down and then use it at least three times during the call. Make sure that you use a friendly, happy tone of voice when you do so. The idea is to sound pleased just to be saying the prospect’s name, because that attitude is contagious.
5. Don’t Take “No” for an Answer
Many prospects will reflexively say “I’m not interested” or “No thanks” without really hearing what you have to offer. Instead of hanging up at this point, try asking an open-ended question to jump-start the conversation. Some examples would include “What is the biggest challenge you face right now?” or “What are your goals for [something related to the product]?”
6. Use Emotion
Benefits help you to sell because they inspire emotion in your prospect. The goal is to work up happy feelings about your product and/or unhappy feelings about not having it. Storytelling is very effective in conveying feeling, so toss in an anecdote or two about your customers and how your product improved things for them.
7. Provide Value
Offer the prospect something useful that they can keep regardless of whether or not they buy your product. Some options might be a free sample or a no-strings-attached trial period. Giving something valuable to your prospect generates the feeling that they “owe” you. It probably won’t be strong enough to get them to buy from you then and there, but it should inspire them to at least listen to your pitch.
8. Close Every Prospect
If the prospect won’t talk to you over the phone, ask him what would be a better time to call back. And if you do get a chance to make your cold call speech, ask him at the end when you can come over to make a full presentation. Close every single call, even if the prospect seems completely uninterested. You really have nothing to lose — and a great deal to gain — by making the attempt.
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.