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Warming Up the Cold Call

As Jerry Seinfeld pointed out in one of his monologues, "According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."  That quote really drives home how uncomfortable people are with public speaking.  I might even argue that cold calling is more of a challenge because of the advantage a public speaker typically has - their audience has usually gathered to hear from the speaker.  A "cold call" takes that challenge up a level because you have not yet earned the right to take up someone's most valuable commodity, their time. 

The art in being a good "cold caller" is being focused on the things you can control and not worrying about what you can't control.   What you can control is the value of your message.  By being totally prepared with a message that delivers a strong value statement to the target audience, your confidence will skyrocket and your success rate will soar.  What you cannot control is the recipient's frame of mind when they decide to pick up the phone.  If you are extremely confident in your message, you will then be able to focus on the prospect's reaction to your message.  Listening is the key to selling and it begins with the cold call. 

  • Listen to hear if your message resonated. 
  • Listen to see if there is an objection that can easily be handled. 
  • Listen to hear if this prospect is qualified to move to the next step in the sales process.
  • Listen to hear if the person may be a prospect but the timing is just not right. 
  • Listen to see if it is an unqualified prospect and you should just move to the next potential customer.

Following are some tips to improve your success:

The right mindset is essential.  Yes, your call was not anticipated.  It is important to perceive yourself as a valued consultant in the space, not an intrusion.  Your purpose is to learn how you can make the prospect's day to day life easier and judge if appropriate to move forward in the sales process. 

Keep it short and sweet.  Keep in mind this is not an anticipated call so remember to be conscious of their time.  Briefly articulate who you are, where you are calling from, and the purpose of your call.  Your first goal and biggest hurdle is to get the green light to continue conversation. 

The debate:  To say or not to say, "How are you?"  Let's be honest, you don't know them nor care how they are. The prospect knows this.  My best advice is to mirror their personality, read into the way they pick up the phone.  If the prospect is short with you, you may want to empathize with their busy day.  If you are fortunate enough to catch a chipper persona, go for it!  Bottom line, treat this like any conversation.  Do what is comfortable to you. 

If you don't believe yourself, who will?   Believe in what you have to offer and your ability to communicate it.  You must believe that your solution will alleviate their pains, is better than the competition, and the prospect will simply struggle without what YOU have to offer! We will continue with the importance probing vs. product dumping over the next couple weeks. 


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About the Author   |   Nicole Puddester

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