I, like almost all Americans, knew of Larry King. I knew his name and that he interviewed people. I knew he wore suspenders. But I had not really listened to him or watched his shows.
Since his death last month, I have read a number of interesting articles about him and I realize that I should have been following him more closely as there is a lot to learn about Cold Calling by studying Larry King’s interview style.
What Can Larry King’s Interview Style Teach Us About Cold Calling?
In this interview, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/larry-king-interviewing-tips.php from a podcast episode of “The Turnaround” with Jesse Thorn from July of 2017, Larry King talked about being an interviewer and indirectly gave us all some excellent Cold Calling advice.
These 5 points jumped out as useful tips:
- Keep questions simpleIn his case, he did this to draw people out and to let the interviewee shine. As a Cold Caller, this is not the time to show off, it is your time to ask simple but pointed questions.
- Stay curiousKing enjoyed talking to people who were experts in areas he was unfamiliar with. When you are curious is it easier to stay engaged.
- “The key of interviewing is listening”He listened and engaged with his guests. Listening is key to Cold Calling success as well.
Click here to read more about Active Listening.
- “The less I know (about the guest), the better.”Larry King would do two–hour interviews with people without knowing who they were in advance. I guess that helped him stay curious.
When we teach people how to use our Conversational Selling technique, we don’t have them spend a lot of time researching the prospects before the Cold Call. There is plenty of time to do that if/ when they become a real lead.
- “No one’s ever done the perfect interview.”This is true for Cold Calling as well. Obsessing over getting it ‘perfect’ will keep you from dialing, engaging and successfully setting qualified appointments. Pick up the phone and get dialing!
But this is where the similarities end.
King didn’t believe in having a long list of prepared questions. He talked about how this allowed him to focus on the answer the person was giving to the current question, without worrying about how he would get to the next question. He relied on his experience, skill and wit to carry him through and come up with what to ask next.
When Cold Calling, I strongly believe that having a script, with your questions as well as some basic information, is vital to achieving success.
I totally agree that you need to listen to what is being said, rather than focus on your next question. Having a script provides you with the structure to stay on task and on message. It will help you address the objections you will likely face and save you time by helping you quickly and effectively identify who is, and who is not, a good prospect.
Larry King also felt that you didn’t need an agenda. Clearly, that worked for him – he had a 60+ year career – but he was talking to people who were paid to spend time with him. As Cold Callers, we don’t have that luxury. We need to tightly plan our calls to get the most out of the (often short) time we have. Scripts provide that ‘agenda’.
So, while Larry King may not have made a great Cold Caller, his interview style and expertise leaves us plenty to admire and learn from!
R.I.P. Mr King
If YOU are struggling with Cold Calling and need help crafting a script to keep YOU on message, give me a call at 908-879-2911 – I may not have 60+ years under my belt yet but I am a Cold Calling PRO. We can help you with scripting, training and provide the real–life practice you need to get you and your team up to speed!
I have always found that successful cold calling starts with asking permission. The other day, it really paid off!
It started with a routine call to a branch bank manager. The woman who I spoke with listened for a while then explained that she had zero need for my services. Rather than get flustered or frustrated, I replied, “Well if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!” and went on to ask her for a referral to someone who might be a better fit.
What she said next, made my day!
“You know, I LIKE you Nancy!” and she explained that she really appreciated that I has asked her permission to start our conversation. “You are GOOD at this!”
She went on to say that I sounded “different” and proceeded to give me the direct dial number of someone in corporate since other branches might, in fact, need my services.
Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!
Her closing comment was, “when you are in my area, you come visit me honey!”
This a great example of my ‘Conversational Selling’ approach to cold calling. I teach people to have CONVERSATIONS that are both memorable and that lead to qualified leads and SALES.
I show people how to have meaningful conversations that are genuine – not salesy, where the goal is to build a relationship as two equal business professionals. We know that relationships like those that last longer than the typical 2–minute sales call will lead to more work and sales today AND down the line. That type of successful cold calling starts with asking permission.
And if you are lucky, on a good day, it may end with making a new friend in a new city!
Do YOU need help figuring out how to have more productive cold calls? Give me a call at 908-879-2911 or click here to set up a one-on-one with me to see how we can help YOU and your team build real relationships that convert to more sales.
According to the RAIN Group, a sales training and consulting firm, 58% of prospects say they currently find cold calls useless. Wow! Are YOU wasting YOUR time making ‘useless’ calls? Here is a better approach to Cold Calling.
What is a ‘useless’ call?
If a prospect is finding your call ‘useless’, it is a good bet that you are calling people and doing what I call the “F&B Dump”. You are dumping a bunch of information, about the Features and Benefits of your product or services, on whoever is unlucky enough to pick up your call.
That, or you are monopolizing the call with info about you, you, you.
Or maybe you are just launching into a hard sales pitch.
Or worst of all, you do all of the above!
A better approach to Cold Calling
A better approach to Cold Calling is to start by confirming who you are speaking with. Make sure they are a decision maker and that they actually have a minute to speak with you. If they don’t, set up a time that works better for them. You are both busy, why waste each other’s time?
Asking permission like this can set you apart from all the other cold callers they encounter and sets you up for a CONVERSATION, among equals.
Make sure they are worth YOUR time
Once you are speaking with them – not talking AT them or SELLING them, you should have a few, tightly scripted questions you can ask to determine if they have a need for your product or services.
Ask your questions and then really LISTEN to their answers. Use that information to determine if they are worth pursuing. If they are not a good fit, ask for a referral or a recommendation of someone they know who might need your product or services and then exit the call (click here for more on how to ask for a referral)
Make it worth THEIR time
Another sales study found that 84% of buyers complain that sales reps are annoying in their efforts to convince them to buy.
If prospects are finding YOU annoying (as evidenced by rushing off the call, hanging up or otherwise uninterested in speaking with you) it is probably because you have either rushed to the sales pitch or bowled over them with all your talking.
The initial cold call is not for hard selling – it is an exploratory call to see if they are a good fit. Going into sell mode will definitely annoy your prospect.
Respect their time, identify if they have a need you can fill and if they ARE a good fit, move to set up a first meeting. (click here for what to cover in that meeting)
Useless calls are a waste of time for you AND your prospects. Use our approach to have real conversations that convert to qualified appointments and sales.
Need help? We train salespeople in the skills and tactics that deliver RESULTS – give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn more!
Sales is a hard job – you hear a lot of ‘No’s’ before you get to a ‘Yes’ and actually make a sale. You need, as they say, to kiss a lot of frogs before you find that prince or princess.
But what if I told you that you are probably WASTING half your time?
Marc Wayshak, a well-known Sales Strategist shared this important stat last year: “At least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell”
Many of you are probably spending way too much time on the phone with prospects who just aren’t going to convert to customers.
At One of a Kind Sales, we train our people to QUICKLY identify whether a prospect is a good fit or not and, if they are not, to efficiently end the call and move on. Let me show YOU how to do this yourself – how to be prepared for success.
It starts with your Call List
Make sure you are calling from a clean list with RELEVANT contacts. Click here to read more about this process.
Your script is your road map
Make sure your script includes questions that will elicit the information you need to QUICKLY determine if the prospect is a good fit or not. Ask pointed questions and then LISTEN carefully for the answers.
Have an escape plan
Your script must also include verbiage to EXIT the call QUICKLY once you have determined that they are not worth pursuing.
For example, “gee, based on what we discussed, I feel we would not be a good fit and I certainly don’t want to waste your time”. This allows you to acknowledge that you have been listening and that you respect their time.
Practice, practice, practice!
Being comfortable and CONVERSATIONAL is key to making an effective connection with the prospect. If you feel awkward about re-directing and leaving the conversation once you determine they are not a good fit, you WILL end up wasting your time – and theirs!
We are NOT advocating that you rudely ask questions and then abruptly leave once you have your answers. That certainly won’t help you close more sales.
Be professional, prepared and succinct – they will appreciate it and you will save time.
Ask for leads
Once you have determined that a prospect is not a good fit, you should always ask them if they know of anyone who might need your product or services. This is a great way to make the most of your time and to turn a current ‘no’ into a possible, future ‘yes’.
So, how much time do you calculate YOU have been wasting on calls with prospects that just aren’t a good fit?
Implementing these sales tips will help YOU stop wasting your time when making Cold Calls!
Contact us for help with your scripting and click here to learn more about how we can train YOUR staff to use our proprietary, One of a Kind Sales skills. And give us a call at 908-879-2911 to see how WE can make Cold Calls for YOU!
Who would you be more likely to buy from, someone who called you, out of the blue, or someone recommended by a friend or colleague?
Study after study have proven that referrals and recommendations are the BEST source of sales prospects. This post will show you why, when and most importantly HOW to ask for a referral.
First, let’s look at WHY we should ask for a referral.
A Nielsen study on trust found that “84% of buyers are mostly influenced by recommendations from friends and family”. And trust is KEY to building relationships that convert to sales.
When you are working from a referral, they already trust you. This is a huge benefit, saving you time and, as long as you remain trustworthy, can actually speed up the relationship building and sales process.
Along the same lines, an IDC study found that “almost 75% of executives prefer to work with salespeople who’ve been referred to them”. Executives are busy, being a referral saves them the time of vetting you. Get a referral.
A Wharton School of Business study found that “Customers won through referrals are about 24% more profitable than other customers”. In addition to being easier to start a relationship with, once they are customers, they are less likely to leave.
Clearly, referrals are a potent source of quality leads.
Leaving money on the table
But while 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals!
Why don’t salespeople ask for referrals? These seem to be the top excuses – along with suggestions on how to overcome them:
- “They won’t know anyone who needs my services” – you call prospects because they fit some basic criteria. It is a very good bet that they know others with the same criteria, or if they can’t use you, they may know someone who is an even better fit!
- “It will make me look needy or desperate” – no, it will make you look like a ‘professional’. You aren’t begging for scraps; you are asking for an introduction. Executives know how important networking is – if you have impressed them with your knowledge and listening skills, they will be more willing to make a connection.
- “I have enough leads” – if this were true, you probably wouldn’t be reading article this so, go work on getting referrals to get more, and higher quality, leads.
- “They would refer me if they knew anyone who needed my services” – no, they probably have a dozen other things on their to do lists and helping you get leads is probably not one of them – BUT, if you ask, they may take the time to do it, so definitely try!
- “I forgot” – make it a part of your scripting, a closing step to your pitch so it is something you do automatically. It is not an ‘afterthought’ but a final step in your sales outreach process.
HOW to Ask for a Referral
- Happy Clients: Whenever you receive a glowing call, email or words of praise, ask them, “is there anyone else you know who might be interested in our services?”
- New Prospects: Even if they don’t convert right then, ask them, “is there anyone else you know who might be interested in our services?” or “I know that we are not a good fit for your company right now, but is there anyone you know or work with who might be a better fit?”
- At the end of the buying process: As a last touch point, make sure you ask for a referral! This can happen at a last meeting or as part of a follow-up email.
- Bonus Points: At the BEGINNING of the buying process, at your kick off meeting, mention that you will, in a few weeks, be circling back to see if they know of anyone who might also be a good fit for your services. This gives them a quick heads up that you will be asking, makes asking a bit easier, as they expect it and gets a small ‘buy-in’ that that is part of the process. It also makes you look like a consummate sales PRO!
Salespeople who actively seek out and follow-up on referrals earn 4 to 5 times more than those who do not – make sure that YOU are asking for them!
Do you and YOUR sales team need more tips on how to be more effective? Our ‘Call Center in a Box’ program provides the training, management and monitoring your team needs to improve the quality of their interactions, the quality and quantity of leads and their SALES. Give me a call at 908-879-1322 or click here to set up a one-on-one call with me https://calendly.com/nancy-calabrese/one-on-one
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