The Cold Call Is Alive and Well
Want to get things started at your next business development meeting?
Bring up the words “Cold Calling” and step back. Maybe duck for cover too.
My friend Drew Laughlin and I are building a sales training course and part of my work includes creating training sessions on segments of my own sales cycle. That exercise brought up cold calling. That term brought up some strong feelings from people I work with/talk to.
Let’s start with the obvious here: no one on your team wants to cold call.
And just to make sure we’re on the same page with what a “cold call” is, I’ll go with what Google Definitions threw out:
“make an unsolicited call on (someone), by telephone or in person, in an attempt to sell goods or services”
Sounds terrible, right? To solicit is to try to obtain something from someone, so by definition, unless I called you first, don’t call me. Right?
So why even talk with your high end sales people about the cold call?
Because it’s a tool in the business development toolbox and when it comes to driving new business, it helps to have a lot of tools!
Here’s my primer on making an effective cold call in complex sales environments.
1. Get ready for voice mail because that’s the most common result.
2. No one is expecting your call, don’t deny it, embrace it.
3. Before your call, picture your prospect doing something other than waiting to talk to you.
4. Identify yourself
5. Tell them why you’re calling
6. Explain how they will benefit from this call
7. Tell them what you want to happen next
Why does this work for me? Good question.
Since a VM is most likely to happen, I prepare for it by having a multi step process to make the next call/calls a little less cold. Yes, I leave voice mails.
Since no one is expecting my call, pretending that it’s not cold sets a bad precedent.
Knowing that my prospect is doing something before my call helps set up points 4-7. If she answers the phone.
4 answers her first internal question: “who is this?”
5 answers her next question: “why are you calling?”
6 answers the next question: “and that means. . .?” or “so what?” or “why should I care?”
7 answers the next question: “so what do you want me to do?”
That’s the outline I work from. It assumes a lot of things, I know. The right prospect, a relevant topic, an insight into how there may or may not be a fit for them and their business.
It’s a tool. As such, your people’s attitude towards it determines their effectiveness with it.
Knowing that, I’m comfortable with the cold call being alive and well.