As a sales force development consultant, I have worked with sales teams of all shapes, sizes and industries. Every team thinks they are “different” when it comes to their product and how it should be sold. And while I often hear “our industry is unique. We rely solely on referrals”, I can tell you that every company in every industry relies on word of mouth—yours is no different.
I hear a lot of salespeople say that cold calling is outdated and doesn’t work. The team won’t do it. They’d rather be out selling. No business ever comes of it. I’ve heard all the excuses. Here’s the cold truth: it does work, if it’s done right.
1. Don’t script the call. You can use a script, but using a script outline is better. Your salespeople are going to make hundreds of phone calls and you want to avoid the monotonous tone that materializes after hundreds of rejections. While you want to make sure to have talking points to touch on, you don’t want them reading anything verbatim. Nothing makes me want to get off the phone faster than a “robot” reciting something for the 238th time. People will listen to an engaging voice with something to say, and ignore a tired and defeated one.
2. Find something in common. If there is any connection to the target client, use it. For example, bringing up a school, organization, acquaintance or hobby—anything that might keep them engaged and willing to listen. This might take some research, but simple searches on sites like LinkedIn and Google could yield golden nuggets of information that you can use to keep them talking for a few more seconds; enough time to get them to agree to a meeting.
3. Schedule call sessions. Let’s face it: cold calling is one of the most hated activities of all time, even for people who like to sell. It becomes more palatable if it’s done once a week or once a month for a set amount of time. Everybody does it at once, for a few hours, and hopefully finishes with a few great appointments.
What techniques have you found useful in cold calling?
Howard Shore is a sales force development consultant who works with companies that need leadership development and business management coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about sales force development through AGI, please visit activategroupinc.com, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.