Cold-calling playbook. 10 “hooks” to turn this process from torture to success
Over the years of practice and a couple of hours of structuring and typing on keyboard, I formulated (my own) set of easy-to-remember and useful tips that may help you to increase the effectiveness of the “cold” calls:
1. Cut the distance
Right away. Whoever is picking up the phone — cutting the distance, sometimes skipping those “ corporate rituals” has three main advantages:
a) it relaxes the person you speak to when he or she realises that there is no need to run the “protocol mode” — instead he or she will be able to talk to you in simple “human” language;
b) immediately separates those who try warm their vanity in the rays of your deferential respect from those who might be really interested in your proposal;
c) saves time and cognitive capabilities.
2. Get down to business
As soon as possible. Admit that you understand the limited time of the client and use this time to go straight to the point. The same rule works in e-mail — we usually read the headlines and there are two opposite scenarios: “uninterested” or “well, what’s there?” … “
3. Be the master of “elevator pitch”
…to make the «straight to the point» tactic work. “The product for which you need a manual is the cr*p!” © Elon Musk. Be able to state the essence of the proposal within 60 seconds, do not hesitate to rehears it before the call: “one shot — one dead”.
4. Specify the time needed
… by you in the very beginning of the conversation. While it is important to “light a spark” don’t try to sell the whole product portfolio at once. First conversation longer than 2–3 minutes rarely works on the first contact — so ask for two minutes, and do your to state the message within one. The ultimate goal is to make an agreement on the next step (call, e-mail, meeting, etc).
5. Be assertive and do not fawn
But also it is not necessary to be rude — I saw the “callers”, which shall not be allowed to the phone and the ears of the customers for a cannon shot’ distance. When your proposal is potentially valuable to the client, the ones who refused your call is committing a crime against their company. That crime must be investigated, and the violator — punished. Remember — you brought the value to the customer: saving / profit / joy — carry your banner proudly, and do not use the sentence “sorry for bothering you”.
6. Know your customer
Not globally — if sales are short and frequent, then your head may burst with so much information. People trust what they know and those who know something about them — those who emphasize their achievements, status and so on. Spending couple of minutes on Google will certainly pay off. Improvisation is the skill gained by the persistent training.
7. Any contact can be useful
Have 1–2–3 alternative ones. People with whom you can ask you to connect can simply be not available for any reason (VIP’s , etc). Ask for anyone else who might be in the area of your interest. Do not leave empty-handed — it’s bad for business and for your mental attitude.
8. Find a “story”
…for receptionists or whomsoever picking up the phone first. “Someone important recommended …”, “We’ve met at the expo, the interest in your product was huge, but the contacts were not saved in a hurry, …”. It launches the mechanism “what if my manager will “shoot me down” if I ‘d refuse this person and he or she brings some really important information?” … “.
9. Be careful with Mondays and Fridays
On Mondays, your stakeholders rakes blockages, do planning, “extinguish fires”. On Fridays, most of the are focused on leaving the office on time — do not pop up with your “buy our elephants” message in people’s plans too sudden. Unless you are sure that it is in the interest of the client to buy now or never.
10. Get enough sleep!
Fatigue dulls the willpower (a proven fact!) and makes you mumble — in a literal and in a figurative senses. The energy from you should go straight through the telephone wires and ring in the ears of the client with a juicy stakatto.
11. (bonus) Be grateful
Openly express gratitude for the attention, time, information. People appreciate it. There is an old rule called «the rule Benjamin Franklin”: the one who helped you once will more likely do it again. People are open to cooperation by nature — understanding this may help you to tune yourself properly and to reduce the level of stress.
And of course there is no need to mention that all these principles require constant practice. Go!