For years, the “gurus” have claimed cold calling is dead. Rightly so, because it’s hard to sell advice to people who don’t want to do it. Salespeople loath cold-calling. It’s the most feared & hated tactic in the sales process today. So, why would anyone want to push its agenda?
I’m going to show you, in this post, that what you’ve heard about cold-calling is false – And it’s because the “gurus” never excelled at it.
I’ve made over 2.000 cold calls in my career. I too hate every minute of it. As a matter of fact, anyone who says they enjoy cold-calling probably would lie about other things too. But, who said you have to enjoy something for it to work. I don’t enjoy eating less calories to maintain a healthy weight. I don’t enjoy paying bills. I don’t enjoy paying taxes. But, who said you have to enjoy something in order for you to do it? If you want to succeed you must do things that you don’t enjoy doing. If you don’t have enough activity or enough opportunities from other prospecting means then you’ll need to commit to other prospecting tactics that you won’t enjoy but are vital to growing your income.
Sales trainer, Joe Bonura, who trained side by side with the legendary Zig Ziglar, has proven a simple success equation when it comes to growing your financial direction if you don’t have enough prospects: “Make calls, make more calls; make many more calls.” Easier said than done right?
There’s two problems with cold-calling. The first is in your head. Either you don’t feel confident enough about the value of the product/service you deliver or you do. If you did you would want everyone to know right?
Instead of thinking “I don’t want to interrupt or come across as salesy” start thinking If “I don’t allow potential buyers to experience my product or service it will be kept a secret. I can’t pay my bills, eat, take care of my family, go on vacations, give back to the community or grow professionally by keeping secrets.” Reset your mindset & remind yourself what business you’re in. People need to know about what value you provide in order to buy from you. This will never change.
The second problem with cold-calling is in your mouth. Salespeople don’t know what to say, how to say it in the best way, & when to shut-up.
Knowing what you will say is important to help combat sales call reluctance & feel confident.
Please remember this: He/she who has the best words in the best order wins. How you come across & how you say something is vitally important when cold-calling.
Knowing when to shut-up on a cold call is very easy once you understand the “power of the pause.”
How much time do you think a someone who is cold-called needs to determine whether or not they want to continue listening or talking with you? It’s the first 5-7 seconds. If you don’t think 5 seconds is a long enough time to make an impact try not moving at a greenlight for 5 seconds & see how the car behind you reacts. In order to reach your ultimate solution of scheduling an appointment you must first get “greenlighted” to continue by the prospect within the first 5 seconds.
A “greenlight” example. A client of ours decided NOT to use a script we prepared to set cold-calls. They believed that a peer relationship would trump any other types of messaging. A lawyer calling on lawyers. This turned out to completely backfire & the first week results were abysmal. Hang-up after hang-up, not interested after not interested. They achieved only .08% appointment rate & a measly 7 appointments after hundreds of calls. After much frustration they decided to give our script a go. Analyzing where & when the prospect checked out mentally it was evident that the first 5 seconds of the call was the main culprit. We revised ONLY the first 5 seconds and achieved a 700% increase in appointments & a 43% call to appointment ratio. So, the next time you think more time to really get into what you offer you must first get the “green-light”.
How do you get this mythical “greenlight?” Here’s how not to:
- Saying my name is _______ immediately. This is the biggest red flag & instant tip off to someone that you’re a salesperson & a stranger.
- Asking the potential buyer “how they’re doing?” Another red flag that you’re a salesperson.
- Asking a yes or no question to early in the call. Why set yourself up for a no from the prospect at the get-go & decrease your future in the blink of an eye?
- Asking “is this a good time to talk.” To the prospect on the other end of the phone it never will be a good time.
- Saying this is so & so from the name of your company first. Click. Even if they don’t hang up they’ve checked out mentally. If this happens you have a big hill to climb & hardly will you ever reach the top.
Many of these are old habits & hard to break. You must practice to break away from these internal sales diseases.
I’m going to share with you an opening phrase that will change your life. It will change your results & It will dramatically increase your chances of getting the “greenlight” – verbal permission to move the call forward. It’s been proven in hundreds of cold-calls, published in sales scripts at a Fortune 10 company across 22 states & resulting in double & triple digit increases in appointments set.
First, let’s explain why what I’m about share is so different & why it works. Whenever someone picks up the phone & immediately knows you’re not a friend, a colleague, a family member, an employee, a vendor, or a competitor their defenses immediately go up.
They’re searching for the red-flags & clues that can tell them in 5 seconds or less whether you’re important to listen to or not.
Of equal importance, most people don’t trust salespeople they’ve never met or spoke with. This is what you’ll use to your advantage & guarantee that besides myself, & a few other salespeople in the country, you’ll come across as different, trustworthy, & credible in only 5 seconds.
So what do you do? You tell them the truth. That’s right. That’s the simple, non-fancy, no rocket science, no BS way to get them to listen to you. It goes like this:
“John, we’ve never met or spoke before & I know I’m calling out of the blue.” (Pause)
Why is this effective. They can’t argue it. They need more information before they can tell you to kiss off. It throws them off guard. But, the most powerful ingredient in this “greenlight” territory is the pause after you say this. Pause long enough so they will feel compelled to fill the awkward silence (& they always will) and what you’ll hear is an elongated “OOOOKAY” That’s what you want to hear. It means continue.
This is the power of the pause & psychologically when someone is thinking “okay tell me more” they are framed to be open to your reason for calling opposed to closed & defensive.
Many will email me asking about what to say next or what should I do from there & this post is not a format for custom cold-call scripts that appeal to everyone’s unique situation. But, this opening does appeal to everyone’s situation as long as you’ve never met, spoke, & you’re calling out of the blue.
Many salespeople only think about setting the appointment. What can I say to get the appointment? But, when you stop & think about it you need a win early to continue the conversation. Breaking cold-calling down boils down to this: If I can’t get permission to continue I can’t get permission to set the appointment.
Give the “greenlight” language a try. If it doesn’t work for you call me & we’ll discuss the importance of tonality when using this. If you do use it please share your success stories. I’d love to hear them.
Yours in service.