How long should a Cold Call last?

Salespeople often want to know, ‘how long should a Cold Call last?’ Here are some guidelines and advice.

According to a Sales Hacker stat from Jan 2021, “The most striking difference between cold calls that result in a meeting and those that don’t comes down to how long you can keep the prospect on the phone.”

Successful calls, which they defined as resulting in a “held, follow-up meeting”, lasted on average, 5:50 minutes vs 3:14 for unsuccessful calls.

This aligns with my advice which is that Cold Calls should be between 4 – 9 minutes long.

Calls that last less than 4:00 minutes don’t give you enough time to get the information you need and/or reflect the prospect’s lack of interest and attention.

Cold Calls that go beyond 9:00 minutes DO NOT usually result in a meeting. And if you are on for 11, 12 13 minutes, that is usually just wasted time.

It is important to remember that you don’t want to get into a lengthy conversation.  If you are on too long, you will find yourself going into sales mode – which is NOT good!

Cold Calls are for discovery – we are trying to evaluate whether or not they are a good fit and to set an appointment – not sell.

Once you set the appointment, you will have time to research and prepare for that first-time appointment which will be longer. That call should be a 30 – 45 minute conversation.

To get there, make the most of those first 4 – 9 minutes. Have a Cold Call script which is filled with the questions you need answered to determine if this is a qualified prospect. Then be sure to LISTEN to those answers and if appropriate, set that appointment.

The timer is ticking – pick up that phone and get dialing! 

Do YOU need help crafting a more effective Cold Calling Script? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get you and your team up and running with a tight script that gets YOU more qualified leads!

Optimism increases Sales

They say that optimists see the glass as half full. I say that optimists see a full sales pipeline!

Let me explain.

Which would you rather spend time with – a person who is grumpy and glum or a positive, happy person? I would take the positive one every time! And when making cold calls, that positive attitude can be the difference between keeping a prospect on the phone until they set an appointment and having them hang up.

Now don’t get me wrong, hang ups happen, and sometimes, if they weren’t a good fit, that works in your favor – saving you time and effort. But if you want to keep people on the phone long enough to see if they ARE a good fit, a positive outlook is key.

Put on those ‘Rose Colored Glasses’.

Optimism is defined as “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.”

In a business where so much of your day can be determined by the actions of others, it is great to know that this is something you can drive. What you ‘expect’ and what you ‘dwell on’ are both within YOUR control.

Control those and you gain more control over your results.

Data supports the claim.

Studies show that optimists outsell pessimists, in some cases by many times over! Here is an example of the results from a study done by Dr Martin Seligman, an expert in ‘positive psychology’, from just two industries:

                  Insurance 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.

                  Real Estate 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 33 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by a whopping 319 percent. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to be unrealistically optimistic. You need to be able to acknowledge challenges and obstacles. I am suggesting that you confidently address them and move one. That you focus on the silver lining rather than the clouds. Don’t dwell on the hang-ups or the unanswered calls, rather, focus on the person you are going to speak with next. Be present and enjoy meeting them. Learn about their needs and see how you can help!  

And yes, you can take this too far. Being blindly optimistic can be detrimental to your sales goals. Sitting at your desk, or worse yet, on a distant beach, imagining that prospects will start calling YOU probably won’t fill your pipeline.  

But a good dose of optimism WILL boost your confidence, your outlook and your bottom line! 

For more on this see our post Control What You Can in Sales and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for daily sales tips, advice and periodic boosts of optimism!

Cold Calling Tips: How Much Should YOU be Talking on a Sales Call?

How much should you be talking on a Sales call? I recently came across a post from SalesHacker, which suggested that “the best talk-to-listen ratio is 55%:45%.”

They went on to explain, “as a salesperson, you’re taught to do more listening than talking. This is true in some stages of the sales process, but not in a cold call. Gong.io says the most successful talk-to-listen ratio is 55% : 45%, with agents talking more than the prospect. A good rule of thumb is to prepare to carry the majority of the conversation and calibrate yourself to keep your talk level at just over half of the potential customer’s.”

I disagree!

We recommend a 70/30 ratio with the sales person doing only 30% of talking.

A Cold Call is a DISCOVERY call – the only way you will discover if it is worth scheduling an appointment with the prospect is if you let THEM do the talking!

Your job, when Cold Calling, is to engage the prospect in a conversation and ask key, probing questions to determine if they are a good fit for your product or services. To do that, you need to LISTEN more than talk.

Yes, you need to be prepared with questions but you need to be sure to leave time and room on the call to HEAR the answers.

How much should YOU be talking on a Sales call?

Here are some more posts and podcasts on this topic:

Active Listening: It is more than just hearing what your prospect is saying

Prepare for Cold Calling Success

My podcast with Laurel Bernstein on ‘How Active Listening Can Help You Sell More Effectively’

Need help mastering the art of Listening? Give us a call! Our time proven sales system will show you what to say, how and when to say it and how to really listen.

Contact me at 908.879.2911 or nancy@oneofakindsales.com to learn more and to get started TODAY! 

Prospecting Post-Covid

As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I wanted to provide you with some tips for prospecting postcovid and on how to re-engage prospects as the pandemic starts to wind down.

First, let me congratulate you on weathering the storm! This has been a stressful time for all of us and my condolences go out to any of you who have lost loved ones during this difficult time.

And congratulations for having a business that is still alive. As I said early on, it won’t be easy and the strong and persistent will be the ones that are still standing at the other end. Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishment.

In sales, we tend to only look forward but this is a moment, if there ever was one, to look back, take stock and appreciate what you still have. 

OK, enough of that – back to looking forward! Here are 5 ways to re-engage prospects as the pandemic starts to wind down and you are prospecting post-covid.

1. Pick up the phone: 

Yes, the phone is still one of your best tools for engagement and in this case, re-engagement. Dust off that list of prospects who didn’t have the time/budget or bandwidth during the pandemic and start dialing.

2. Be human: 

Be a bit more patient and compassionate as you reach people. A lot of people have been struggling and may need to re-enter slowly. A hard pitch is NEVER the right approach but now, more than ever, warmer, more human outreach is needed.

3. Adjust your script: 

If you haven’t been re-working your script all along, now is the time to re-visit your wording. Consider adding some warmth, updated stats and some post pandemic optimism.

4. Go live: 

As the world starts to re-open, consider making some live appointments. Not everyone will be receptive but offering this option may help you stand out in the crowd and make those authentic connections that lead to real sales.

5. Don’t quit! 

Use all your Social channels and resources to connect and engage with your prospects. Don’t be discouraged.

When prospecting post-covid, picture yourself as a shark in the ocean – keep moving!

As we all begin to re-enter the wider world, I want to thank you for being a part of my community. Thank you for reading and sharing my content and please let me know what you would like me to address in the future.

Drop me a line at Nancy@OneOfAKindSales.com – I am always looking for great questions to answer here!

Thank you and stay well. 

For more tips on prospecting post-covid, check out these posts:

How long should a Cold Call last?

Optimism increases Sales

 

Cold Calling Objection #1: “Send me an Email”

‘Send me an email’ – are YOU hearing this Cold Calling Objection? It is always one of the top five Cold Calling Objections Salespeople face. In this post I will address why you may be getting this objection and how to deal with it.

Send me an email 

Does this sound familiar? There you are, in the middle of your conversation and the prospect says, ‘send me an email’.

This is frustrating and, if you are not well prepared, it can leave you flustered. But you CAN turn this around.

First let’s look at WHY they might be saying this and then some things you can say to keep the conversation alive.

Why are they saying this? 

When prospects say ‘send me an email’, they may mean any number of things. Your job is to figure out which it is so you can respond more appropriately.

    • Are they trying to blow you off?  

If they are blowing you off, (and chances are good that they are) you want to professionally challenge them to get to the truth.

My comeback is, “I am not suggesting this is you, but often, when people say this, they are not really interested but don’t want to hurt my feelings by saying so. Is that the case here? Please let me know – it’s OK”

This can save both of you time and free you up to move to your next prospect.

    • Are they just trying to get off the phone?  

Maybe they really are short on time, going into a meeting or onto another call. Maybe they were in the middle of something and really can’t talk. Respect their time and ask to schedule a time that would work better for them. This will probably get you farther than just plowing ahead.

I’m sensing this is not a good time for us to speak, what day/time would be better? (if they don’t commit to date/time they may be blowing you off)

    • Maybe they prefer to read vs hear information 

Some people do really prefer to read information or they know they will need written documentation to make a decision. Be sure that you have quality, written collateral that you can forward via email and schedule a call to discuss it.  

Make sure they commit to the follow-up call date and time. If they don’t, especially if they say, I will get back to you, then they are probably blowing you off. Send them the information. move on and recycle the lead for a future conversation.

What NOT to do 

Most sales people will just say, “Sure, give me your email address and I will follow-up in a day or two”. That is typically what happens and then you just sound like everyone else.  We never recommend doing that!

What to say 

If they do ask you to send an email, get that email address. It is a crucial addition to your database.

Then, explain that you need a bit more info to be sure you send the materials that are right for THEM. Try, “Sure, and please let me know what you would like to see” or “what would you like to learn more about?” 

Other tactics 

Another way to address this is to explain that you have entirely TOO much information to send and would like to be sure to only send what is relevant. Ask them, “What have I spoken about that is most relevant?” or “Which of our products/services seem like the best fit?” or reinforce, “What are the issues you are experiencing right now?” 

Jeb Blount, a well-known Sales trainers, has a great tactic – he says, “I am happy to bring you information, it all comes attached to me, see you Thursday at 2”. As he points out, this only works if you are super confident.

Either way, be sure to add “The content is much easier to understand with my explanation” and set up a time to call back to discuss it. 

Buy yourself some time 

All of these options buy you a bit of time to ask the key questions you need answered to see if they are even worth pursuing as a prospect.

Be confident 

We always train our salespeople to be clear and confident when Cold Calling. Ask them if they are busy or just blowing you off. No matter what the real objection is, getting to that TRUTH, sooner than later, will save you time and frustration.

Click here to read more about this.

Facing objections is never fun but when you are prepared, you can more successfully address them and move on! 

If you and/or your team need help practicing how to effectively address this and other frequently heard objections, give us a call at 908.879.2911. We are Cold Calling pros and can get you up to speed quickly! 

Studying Larry King’s Interview Style Can Make Us Better Cold Callers

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 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. “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.
  4. “The less I know (about the guest), the better.”Larry King would do twohour 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.
  5. “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 reallife practice you need to get you and your team up to speed!