When it comes to cold calling, the most significant aspect is to be unique. Decision makers get spammed all day with calls and emails. To effectively break through the monotony, you can’t sound like a robot, and you must sound unconventional from the competition. When I write and edit sales scripts these are five steps I begin with to help ensure success:
1. Thank them for picking up.
This step goes a long way to separate you from the pack. People like to feel in control, and when you thank someone, you make them feel the illusion of control without actually giving it up; like pumping their ego. The key with cold calling is you need to be in control. You have very little time, so you need to be steering the direction of the conversation.
In addition, you want to respect or honor their time, so get directly down to business. Regardless of the buying style of your target prospect, you want to prime them to be more open to your request. Thanking them, saying respect/honor or words like that can cause them to want to be more polite and accessible to you on the phone.
2. Avoid hesitation and get to the point.
Decision makers are busy people. Getting to the point keeps you looking professional and once again, indicates that you are respectful of their time. You’re asking for time on their calendar, NOT a sale. That’s key. The first step is to sell the meeting, not your product or services. To do this effectively, avoiding using filler words such as “um” or “like”. These words will only hurt your credibility and show a lack of confidence.
You also have to control your body language. I know what you’re thinking, “this is a phone call, how are they going to see my body language?” The posture you choose while talking on the phone influences the tone of voice that you use while talking on it. Sit up, smile, and act like that person is right in front of you.
3. I always provide a response to their objection.
More times than not, the decision maker will always have some sort of objection, and this is where you have to be on your toes. The key is to fully agree with them. Do NOT say “I understand.” That will spell D-E-A-T-H for your sale.
In this day and age of sales, decision-makers are waiting for you to “understand and deflect.” Agreeing with what they are saying (and if they ask about your competitor, even bring out some of the good parts of their product) shakes everything up and helps to bring the prospect’s guard down by making you look more human and trustworthy. They will not be expecting you to agree with what they are saying.
4. I relate their current problem to one we are solving for an existing client.
Ensure your prospect that they are not the only one facing their current challenge; it will bring them a sigh of relief. Imagine you are struggling with a huge problem, and you don’t know who to talk to, then you talk to a rep, and you are reassured that you’re not the first to have that same issue. There’s a weight that is lifted off your shoulder as you not only realize that your concern is valid, but it is solvable.
Furthermore, you play into their incidental similarities, and they begin to see that they are similar to your clients. These similarities build a solid rapport and can lead your prospect to feel much more comfortable with you.
5. I directly ask for the meeting.
Again, you want control of the situation. Directly asking for a second meeting is a great way to take control of the phone call. It’s also the hardest part for a lot of reps.
Directly asking for the meeting is also a great way to get the prospect to engage with you on further objections they might have. And let me be clear: objections are a good thing. Objections mean that the prospect is engaged and they are thinking about what you are saying; further separating you from the rest of the pack.
Before I end, I want to make one thing clear: When it comes to cold calling, especially the first conversation with a prospect, you are selling the meeting, not the product. Answer the objections and don’t be rude, but always continue to try and move the prospect down the funnel toward a second meeting. Here you will have more time to dive deeper into their objections and how you differentiate yourself from the competition.
Of course, cold calling is just the beginning of the sales process. From the initial call, follow up meetings and the final pitch, many steps go into closing the deal. At Catapult New Business, we manage the entire new business development process on behalf of marketing agencies. If your agency is ready to build a sustainable business development process and see aggressive revenue growth, contact us today.