Is cold calling a part of your lead generation process? If so, then this article may contain the secret to doubling or even tripling your appointment rate. Let me give you an example. I received a cold call from a stockbroker just the other day. With his name and the name of his firm changed to protect their privacy, here was his opening statement: "Mr. Beverly, My name is John Smith. I am with XYZ Financial Services. We are a full service brokerage firm and offer everything from stock, bond and options trades, to banking relationships such as CD's, checking and loan services. Our investment advisors are recognized as some of the best in the business. I would love to have the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss how we could help you get the most from your money."
What do you suppose my response was? "Well, Mr. Smith, I do appreciate your call, but I currently have a brokerage firm that provides all of those services." "I understand," he said, I have found that we are able to offer our clients excellent customer service. I'm sure you are interested in great service aren't you?" I said, "I certainly am. I get good customer service from my firm now and wouldn't be interested in changing, but thank you for calling." "OK," he said, "but if you change your mind be sure to give me a call."
Now, I'm sure many of you are looking at this and thinking, "That's terrible. I would never make that many mistakes." But you might be surprised. How many of us start our conversations with prospects by telling them all about our company and our products? It may sound gross, but I call this "puking on your prospects." In most cases it is about as welcome as that. Telling me that your firm has been in business for 50 years, or that your service is "second to none," or telling me about all of your wonderful products does nothing for me except make me want to get rid of you.
Now, let me tell you what would have gotten my attention and when applied to your product or service will get the attention of your prospects. How about this instead, "Mr. Beverly, this is John Smith with XYZ Financial Services. I wonder if you could help me for just a moment? (This may be the most important question in your opening. You will be amazed when 87% of your prospects agree to continue. Be sure to wait for a response. When you get the yes, you have just received permission to tell them what you can do for them.) My company specializes in helping our clients achieve returns superior to those they have achieved in the past, while minimizing their tax liability. If you have just 2 minutes, I would like to ask you a couple of questions to see if there might be a reason for us to have a more in depth discussion." You'll get 82% affirmative here. Now, you have asked for and received permission to gather information about your prospect. No phony promises, only the promise to find out more about your prospect so that you can deliver the best possible solution to their needs, rather than a canned product or service that you provide to the masses.
The reason that this works so well is that you have indicated an interest in your prospect, and they have given you permission to do so. This works exactly opposite of the "puking" method which tells your prospect that you have no other agenda than to sell what you have to offer, regardless of their needs. You have successfully brought down the wall that sprang up immediately after your prospect realized he was speaking with a sales person. While the wall may not completely disappear, at least you have lowered it enough to begin a relationship, which will in turn give you your best opportunity to find his needs and wants and meet them with your product or service.
WIFM, or "what's in it for me," is the key here. Never forget that particularly on that initial contact, your prospect could not possibly care less about your company or your products. He only cares about how it is going to change his life for the better. Be prepared to answer that question or be prepared to underachieve in your sales career.