How To Cold Call Effectively: What To Say First
“When prospecting via phone and the contact picks up, do you ask for their time? Or do you go into your spiel?”
This question was asked on Linkedin and below is my public answer:
This is a great question and there are many ways to approach this. Assuming this is a pure cold call and they are not expecting your call, the first thing I would recommend doing is put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to hear? How would you want to be treated? Start there and you might find your own answer…
Here are just some of the ways to approach it below, and the key is finding what works for you! If I were able to learn more about your particular style as well as objectives, we could create something more custom and authentic. That is what will work best for you. I also want to underline that it is important to know why you are calling in the first place. What is the purpose of every call you make?
Be clear on that before you make the call. For example, are you calling to set a meeting such as a phone meeting or an in person meeting? Are you calling to determine if there is a mutual fit? Are you calling to sell something on the spot? Make sure you know what you want to accomplish and your results will increase.
Here are some openings that may help you approach this from a few different perspectives:
1. “I know you were not expecting my call, so I will make this brief…”
2. “Hi John, my name is Sally with ABC Consulting. Did I catch you at a bad time?” (You are using a negative here on purpose. When are you going to catch someone at a good time? How might they respond to this question: “Yes, you did catch me at a bad time, but go ahead, quickly.” or “Yes, please call later.” or “Yes and please don’t call back.” Any of those responses are okay. You respected their time by asking the question.)
3. “Hi Jane, my name is Jim with ABC Consulting. We help businesses get in front of more qualified prospects and close more sales faster. Is that something you want for your business?” (This is a very direct approach on what you do, takes about 10 seconds to deliver, gets to the point, and doesn’t waste their time. Keep it simple.)
4. “Hi George, my name is Sarah with ABC Consulting, I help directors like you who are (struggling with or challenged with…or looking for ways to…etc…) would you like to set up a time to discuss this further to see if there might be a mutual fit/to see if we can help/to explore this further?” (Focus on their needs here, not yours, learn/listen.)
Sales people in general are often trained to simply deliver information, to give it the wow factor, to persuade, and to convince, that is an ‘old school’ approach that is not very effective. Shift your mindset. Focus your energy, listening and attention on to the prospect. All the bells and whistles don’t mean much to them, until they know you understand their challenges first. No one wants to be sold, they (might) want to buy.
You don’t need to persuade or push if you sell the way you would want to be sold to…from a place of authenticity and focus on what the prospect wants and needs. Ask questions and let the client be heard. If you can’t truly listen, you won’t be effective with your solutions, nor will you be effective in developing a relationship or partnership.
Again, these are just a few examples to get you started. There are 100’s of ways to approach this!