Is cold calling dead? Well, if it were, somebody forgot to tell the people who ring me from time to time enquiring after my insurance needs or my stationery needs and so on. Unless you are on the "do not call" register, chances are you will receive these calls, and maybe you are one of the people who makes them, in which case, you have your job cut out for you, don't you!
Where most people go wrong in cold calling is in feeling they have to tell their contact everything that their given product or service does, while they're on the phone. Nobody plans a slot in their day to receive cold calls and most business people are very busy. So, the first thing to do is remember what the person on the other end of the line is thinking. More than likely, he or she is going through a series of questions similar to the following:
1. Who is this person? How did they get my name/number?
2. Why are they calling me? What does this person want?
3. Is it important?
4. What does it have to do with getting my job done?
While their objective is to get rid of you, your objective is to get the appointment. Nothing else.
Your first step is to get the person's attention and to identify yourself and your company. (Answering the question, "Who is this person?")
Second, give a reason for the call and identify features and benefits of your product or service. (Answering the question, "What does this person want?")
Third, ask a question that will attract their interest and lock them into a conversation. (Answering the question, "Is it important?")
The fourth step reinforces the second, emphasizes the benefits and reacts to the objection.
The fifth step concludes the call by asking for an appointment.
Sometimes a "cold call" will lead to discussing the reason for your call in more detail, but fear of rejection prevents many salespeople from making the first move. Try this practical advice for confident, successful cold calling.
* Learn as much as you can about the prospect's needs before the call. Ask yourself, "Why should this prospect listen to me?" This will help you to identify problems and focus your sales call to fit the situation.
* Potential customers will listen when they realize that you understand what they want and offer a product or service of real value. Lead off with the prospect's needs and interests.
Address current issues and new developments in the prospect's field.
* When appropriate, ask permission to tour the prospect's facilities. This will help you to learn about the company's problems and demonstrate your interest in helping them.
* If you have made contact but have not yet been able to set up an appointment, send a letter every few days with a useful suggestion or an article from a trade magazine. Do not, however, send a product brochure, as this will allow the prospect to make up his or her mind without talking to you.
* Remember that you are offering to share information gained from your experience helping other customers, you're not just trying to sell a product.