“Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

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Have you ever had to cold call a prospect? Some people love it, others hate it and many of us fall somewhere in between. Why do people hate it? Because it is essentially inviting rejection.

For those of you reading this that are unfamiliar with what a "cold call" is, it's when a salesperson calls on a prospective client unannounced. They often do this either in person or over the phone and normally with the intention of setting a meeting. Though the less savvy try and sell their products on the spot.

You have likely been sitting at home, enjoying your dinner when some asshole of a salesman, scum of the earth, calls you soliciting money or a donation for x, y, z... whatever. Right? Those bastards! -That is cold calling at it's lowest, most deplorable form.

cgod knows what I'm talking about. The guy just opened a small business and is getting a deluge of phone calls from low-level salespeople trying to sell him over the phone. I'll admit, it's the worst.

Today, we are going to focus on cold-calling at a higher level of selling. The face-to-face B2B cold-calling. For the sake of the discussion we will pretend we sell accounting software. Our company specializes in tax software for CPA's.

Today, we are knocking on the door of a large CPA firm. There is a right way to do this and many wrong ways. Let's assume for the sake of conversation that we walk in to a large CPA firm and one of the partners of the firm is at the front desk and gives us a minute to introduce ourselves.

First the wrong way:

Partner: Okay, you're with tng software, I've heard of you guys before, I have a couple of minutes, what can I do for you?

TNG: Great, you've heard of us. Then you know that we have the most comprehensive software in the market. It will save you time, money and help you retain customers

Partner: We already have software that we use and we're pretty happy with it.

TNG: What are you using?

Partner: We are using VeenSpace digital pro.

TNG: Our software is much more user friendly and typically more cost effective. In fact we have over a 98% retention rate. It will definitely save you time and money.

Partner: Thanks, I appreciate you letting me know. Just leave your card with insom at the desk, we'll be in touch.

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-Guess what? They're NEVER calling you.

Rule #1 when cold calling. Never sell the product, sell the appointment.

One more wrong way:

Partner: Okay, you're with tng software, I've heard of you guys before, I have a couple of minutes, what can I do for you?

TNG: Well, I'd like to get some of your time so I can learn more about your business and see if some of our solutions could help you save time and money?

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Guess what? You just essentially told him that you don't know shit and want a free tutorial. Guess what? YOU ARE THE CONSULTANT. You need to be teaching HIM. -This is the biggest mistake most salespeople make.

Rule #2 in cold-calling: "tell me about your business" is no longer the right approach. Your prospects don't want to teach you.

Now the right way:

Partner: Okay, you're with tng software, I've heard of you guys before, I have a couple of minutes, what can I do for you?

TNG: You've heard of us, that's great. Then you know that I work with hundreds of CPA firms, here in your market place. I know you only have a minute, so I would like to set up a time to discuss some of our findings in the North Carolina market. In my discussions with your competitors in the market, I have determined that there are three common challenges that firms like yours are having: 1. attracting and retaining new talent, 2. Sustainable profitability and 3. data security. Are these challenges that you face in your firm as well?

Partner: Not so much the profitability, but we could definitely improve our talent retention and data security is increasingly important.

TNG: That's good to know, thank you. Let's set up a time to have a more comprehensive discussion. I have a tremendous amount of insight to share with you and I can't do it in two minutes. What day of the week is typically best for you?

Partner: Usually Wednesdays.

TNG: Wednesdays morning's are good for me, but I have a hard stop at 11am. How is 9am? I would need you to allocate at least a 1/2 hour.

Partner: Sounds good

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Rule #3 in cold-calling -Have a good Warmer Statement

What is a warmer statement TNG?

A warmer statement: is designed to quickly let the prospect know that you are worthy of their time. You have key commercial insights that would be valuable for them to hear. You can break down a warmer statement in to three parts; relate, demonstrate and validate. Let's break down my warmer statement from the dialog above:

1. Relate: (this is to show that you know their industry via practical experience) Then you know that I work with hundreds of CPA firms, here in your market place.

2. Demonstrate: (What they've found...) In my discussions with your competitors in the market, I have determined that there are three common challenges that firms like yours are having: 1. attracting and retaining new talent, 2. Sustainable profitability and 3. data security.

3. Validate: (are you experiencing this too?) Are these challenges that you face in your firm as well?

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Once you start incorporating a warmer statement in to your cold-calling process and start focusing on selling the appointment, you'll enjoy the process much, much more. Why? Because your success rate will dramatically improve.

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KEY TAKEAWAY

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It's really, really hard to not start selling when given the opportunity. That said, even if the CEO of a company gives you two minutes, sell the appointment. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES begin selling the product. Use a warmer statement to show your relevance and peak their interest via a few key insights directly relevant to their industry. The more specific, the better.

TIP FOR THE EMAIL AND PHONE COLD CALLERS

If you are sending a cold email or phone message, be very selective about what you say. I am a big fan of using a tactic I learned from a great salesman named Roger that I used to work with. He would send a short and succinct email that had a warmer statement, but would conclude it by saying or writing: "I've been thinking a lot about your business. I have some ideas that I want to bounce off of you. I think I have an interesting new take on how you can drive some incremental net-new revenue. Let's set up some time to talk."

I've been thinking a lot about your business. -That line goes a LONG way. That said, if you get the appointment, you had better have some concrete and unique ways to help drive new revenue. Don't make promises you can't keep.

Happy cold-calling!

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ASK HUBSKI

Have you ever had to cold call? Was it in person or over the phone? What did you think of it? Any tips for the rest of us?


_refugee_:

I had to cold call. I sold accidental life insurance. Real scuzzy product let me tell you. I fuckin' loved it.

The thing that I have always been able to do, when selling someone else's product, is separate a customer's rejection from myself. When people are mad at telemarketers, they're never really mad at the person on the phone. They're mad at the representation: the intrusion, the problem with buggy dialers, etc. When they turn you down, they aren't turning you down. They're turning down someone else's product sold by someone else's script.

I believe that being able to separate the rejection I was getting on the other end of the phone from me, was what helped me persevere and become a good telemarketer (for the 8-9 months I was one before the contract was pulled from my little telemarketing employer for it being a scuzzy integrity-free place).


posted by thenewgreen: 818 days ago