Cold Calling—3 Mistakes You Need to Avoid Now
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/
Discover cold calling tips, best practices and techniques to avoid and learn ways that really work on how to make effective B2B cold calls for sales.
With all the technology out there, some people like to say that cold calling and prospecting are dead. But just ask account managers and inside sales managers if they still have to prospect and cold call to develop leads and they’ll tell you absolutely! So, what gives?
The truth is this: while technology has changed the way companies and sales reps source leads and gives them a tremendous amount of intel they can use to make cold calling a bit warmer, in the end, you still have to pick up the phone. Even though technology can make calls for you, eliminating the need to dial in some cases, prospecting for new clients is still a crucial component to selling. Whether you do it after using a tech solution to cull through social media and deliver the best prospects to call, or if you comb through social media yourself, eventually, you have to speak with someone you don’t know. And in that sense, it’s still a cold call.
The real question becomes: how do you get better at prospecting to people you don’t know, and how do you do it effectively? The good news is by avoiding 3 common prospecting mistakes, you can take the “cold” out of cold calling. By following the 3 tips below, you can begin building better rapport with all the sales leads you’ve taken the time to learn more about.
Cold calling mistake #1: Don’t pitch the gatekeeper. A big mistake many sales reps make (both new and senior alike) is to immediately begin pitching the gatekeeper in the hopes that, once they understand how great your product or service is, they will put you through to the decision maker. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To start with, the gatekeeper doesn’t want to hear your pitch. His or her job is simply to find out your name and company name, and maybe the reason for your call, and then to hand you off so he/she can go back to doing their job. They don’t care who you are or what you’re selling. So, stop pitching them.
Also, the moment you pitch them, you just get them annoyed, and they then want to get rid of you. Also, by pitching, you identify yourself as a salesperson, and that kicks in a reaction to screen you out. So don’t do it.
Instead, let them know your full name, your company name, and then ask to speak with the person on your list. And use, “please.” If you need more specific advice on this, see these gatekeeper scripts here.
Cold calling mistake #2: Don’t pitch your prospect—yet. The second biggest mistake sales reps make when prospecting is to immediately dump a pitch on someone as soon as they pick up the phone. Or when they tell you they are doing fine and ask you how you are doing.
The reason for this should be pretty clear: nobody likes to be pitched. Instead, your first goal is to try to make a connection with the person you are speaking with and build some rapport. Ask them how they are and listen to what they say. Acknowledge it if they ask how you are, (“I’m well, thanks so much for asking!”)
And then quickly get into a question early (“I understand you handle the XYZ, is that right?) and allow your prospect to engage with you. Absolutely resist the temptation to give them a two-paragraph dump on what you do, why you’re so great, and what you can do for them. Just stop it.
Cold calling mistake #3: Stop winging it. I know you think you sound so much better when you ad-lib and go with the flow, but you don’t. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to your last ten calls.
Here’s the deal: Even if you wouldn’t be caught dead using a “script,” you already are. When you listen to those last ten calls, aren’t you saying the same thing over and over again? That’s your script.
Instead, do what all top pros do when prospecting or cold calling: script out a best practice approach, complete with rebuttals to common blow offs you get all the time (like, “Just email me something”), and then start practicing and using a better approach. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, it just makes permanent. Stop practicing poor sales skills and start getting better on each call.
Now if you’re thinking, “Well, this is all good, but what exactly do I say in all this?” then the good news is that I’ve written many word for word scripts you can get by searching my blog. Or, you can get 500 word-for-word scripts in my latest book, Power Phone Scripts.
If you learn to avoid the three mistakes above, then cold calling or prospecting—or whatever you want to call it these days—will get a lot easier for you and your team.