Cold Calling: Your Secret Weapon to Selling
Most business people hate the very thought of cold calling. Yet, whether you’re calling to sell your company’s product or simply “sell” yourself, knowing how to work the phones can be your secret weapon. What you say — and how you say it — could make the difference between a sale today and a “why-don’t-you-get-back-to-me-in-six-months” answer.
G.A. Bartick of R3 Consultants, author of Silver Bullet Selling, shares some tips for impactful calling.
Q: Does anybody enjoy making cold calls?
A: Nothing strikes more fear in the heart of a sales professional or business owner than the cold call. Anyone who tells you they enjoy making cold calls is probably lying! The key is to learn the methods and strategies that turn calls into sales.
Q: What are some strategies for “closing the sale”?
A: The first thing is to get rid of the idea of the so-called “soft-sell.” That’s where you call up and say, “Hi, this is so-and-so, and I was just calling to introduce myself.” That’s certainly a safe, nonthreatening way to get your foot in the door. After all, you’re just calling to “introduce” yourself, right? Well, that approach may have worked several years ago, but now businesses are struggling to do twice the work with half the people. They have no time for you to “introduce” yourself. You have to call with a clear benefit for the customer and a hook to engage their interest.
Q: What about voice mail?
A: I know it goes against traditional thinking, but I’m a fan of voice mail. I am realistic, and I know that it’s going to take three to four touches before I actually get to talk to this person. So, I leave a strong message focusing on results, something like, “We helped a company just like yours in Denver get 150 percent …” I always leave my phone number, twice. Finally, I close with an active statement, such as, “It’s 11 a.m. on Monday, and if I don’t hear from you by end of day on Tuesday, I’ll call you back.”
Q: Are there any basics everyone should follow?
A: Sure. There are some basics that go into any call that has a desired outcome, whether it’s to get your vendor to hurry up and send you those parts, or you’re calling a satisfied customer and asking them for a referral. You start by beginning with the end in mind. Think about what you need to accomplish with this call and make note of it. Write down your “talking points” if that helps, and make note of any questions you need to get answered. If you feel nervous or uncomfortable, take a moment to visualize the conversation in your mind and take a few deep breaths.
Q: Are these tools just for sales professionals?
A: Absolutely not. They apply to small businesses just as profoundly. If you’re in business, no matter what the business, you have customers. Those people are always looking at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. So you are always selling … selling yourself, selling your company, selling your reputation. Basically, you need to sell the customer on the idea that they are the reason for your business, not an interruption of your business.
Q: Any final words of advice?
A: Know that top performers don’t wing it. They follow a very specific process. They are prepared. They understand the needs of the prospect they are calling, and they offer a message of value to that potential customer. Do that, and you’ll turn those calls into sales!
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.