Successful Cold Calling Starts with Asking Permission

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 2minute 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. 

For more Cold Calling tips see:

How Long Should A Cold Call Last?

Optimism Increases Sales

 

A Better Approach to Cold Calling

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!

Be Prepared For Success When Cold Calling!

Are you prepared for success?

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” 

Yikes! 

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 and  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!

Be professional 

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’.

How can you be prepared for success?

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 and help you to be prepared for success! 

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!

Are YOU prepared for success? Here are some more tips:

How to Leave  Voicemail When Cold Calling

Addressing Cold Calling Objections

Successful Cold Calling Starts with Asking Permission

Are YOU Ready for 2021?

Are YOU ready for 2021? As we look forward to the start of a new year, here are some stats to think about and suggestions to help you ROCK the coming year! 

Good odds 

The RAIN Group, an award-winning sales training company, found that ‘82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls’. I know it can feel like you hear a lot of no’s when making cold calls but this stat underscores that there ARE a lot of ‘yeses’ out there. Make sure you are doing everything you can to get them! 

What should you be doing? 

Here are some posts with tips on what you should be doing to up YOUR odds of getting a ‘yes’: 

  1. Envision Your Success 
  2. Make sure you are working from CLEAN, up to date, Data 
  3. Don’t give up 
  4. Reach for the Truth 
  5. Focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY
  6. Build an “A” Team 
  7. Plus more on how to build an effective team
  8. And as always, LISTEN CAREFULLY!

Don’t Dread it, just DO it! 

A recent survey of sales agents found that 63% of sales representatives say that cold calls are the worst part of their job.  I think that a LOT of this has to do with people not having a clue as to what they are doing! Too often, salespeople are given a phone and a list of numbers and sent on their way.  

That is a recipe for disaster – I can pretty much assure you of poor-quality results with that approach. And it is demoralizing for your salespeople as well.  

Salespeople need a SYSTEM, TRAINING, MONITORING and MANAGEMENT to effectively set qualified appointments and close sales.  

At One of a Kind Sales, we have seen how successful sales teams can be when they have a comprehensive approach to sales. Our unique sales program, called ‘Conversational Selling’, is a time proven system, coupled with ongoing training, monitoring and management that prepares salespeople to successfully and consistently, deliver qualified leads and appointments.  

Click here to learn about how we can train YOUR Inside Sales Team to use this successful technique. 

Or here to see how OUR TEAM can make Cold Calls and set qualified appointments for YOU! 

Persistence Pays! 

According to a Marketing Wisdom stat, almost half (44%) of sales reps said they stopped with sales follow up after receiving a negative response to a first call. REALLY?!? If you are going to give up that quickly, clearly sales is NOT the job for you! 

That same group found that ‘after reaching a prospect, salespersons need to make an average of five successful follow-up calls to close a deal.’  This is not a ‘one and done’ kind of business and is why you need a system and training to support you.  

Sales is a game of endurance – play the long game or don’t play at all. 

Are you LISTENING? 

TOPO, a sales research and advisory firm, found that 87% of prospects said that salespeople didn’t understand their needs. Well, if you are asking pointed questions and really listening to their replies, this should NOT be the case!  

We provide our teams with scripts specifically designed to elicit the responses we need to fully understand the prospects’ needs. As you can see from the stat, this alone sets us head and shoulders above the competition!  

If you your team isn’t getting the info they need to make real connections, give us a call – we can help! 

OK – so are YOU ready for 2021?  

Do your preparation and give us a call if you need help – we want to see you ROCK the coming year! 

Notes: Marketing Wizdom  RAIN Group  TOPO 

High Kicks, Basketball and Sales

Back in High School, I was the co-captain of our Kick Line Squad where we cheered on our sports teams by performing precision dance routines in the style made famous by the Rockettes.  

This came up the other day on a call with a basketball playing colleague. I mentioned that basketball had been my favorite team to cheer for. I loved the energy, the pace and, most importantly at the time, that it was played indoors! 

Though, I said, I don’t know why they didn’t give each team 100 points and let them just play that last 5 minutes of the last period since that always seemed to be when the game was won or lost. It always seemed to be a tie til those last plays. 

My colleague quickly pointed out, ‘No, no, no! You are missing the point.’ Basketball, he explained, is a game of ENDURANCE. It is a game won or lost based on the focus and stamina of the players over that entire 48 minutes – all four of those 12-minute periods. Yes, it may come down to the last play at the buzzer but the team that trained and practiced and stayed focused the entire game, will be the one who wins. 

I got it. And I immediately realized the similarity to the SALES process! 

Sales too, is a ‘game of endurance’. It can be a tiring slog and can frequently come down to a last minute play – a close – at the buzzer, but it is the player and team that has trained, focused and practiced that will more reliably deliver and more importantly, succeed. 

Do you and your team train regularly? When was the last time you actually had someone ‘coach’ you on your sales approach, scripting and tactics? 

At One of a Kind Sales, we train you and your team on the sales tactics and techniques that WORK. Then we monitor progress and meet to track and improve delivery. This work helps ensure that you can get past all the ‘no’s’, properly identify and convert the ‘yeses’, to deliver the leads and sales you and your company need to succeed.  

Think YOU or YOUR team could benefit from some sales ‘coaching’? Click here to set up a time to discuss how we can get YOU and YOUR team into the big leagues!

More Sales tips and advice:

Successful Cold Calling Starts with Asking Permission

Overcoming Cold Calling Objections

A Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success: Step 3 How to Overcome Objections – Pt 2

This is Part 2 of our post on how to Overcome Objections when Sales Prospecting. (Click here to see Part 1)  

Objections are often a Salesperson’s nightmare, keeping them up at night and making them reluctant to pick up the phone to make calls in the first place. Knowing you will face objections and having a plan and scripting to address and overcome them, is a sure way to reduce some of the frustration. Here are some techniques for re-directing discussions once objections have been raised.

  • Say something they DON’T expect

Frequently, when on a call or in a meeting with a Prospect, we can find ourselves going into ‘sales’ mode. And Prospects, in response, will go into ‘defense’ mode. You are using all the stereotypical ‘sales’ techniques and they are responding in kind. But that gets you nowhere.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, I suggest saying something they do not expect. Rather than doing and saying what is EXPECTED – a classic hard sell – we can approach it differently in order to get a different, more positive, response. We show our people how to ‘sell’ differently – in our case, through conversation and building relationships – and Prospects respond differently, by trusting us and doing business with us.

When someone says, ‘we’re good’, they often think that will get them off the hook. With most salespeople, that means the conversation is over. You can change the outcome by continuing to talk with them, asking them ‘gee, what are you doing right?’. By continuing to be curious, you are no longer pushing a ‘sales call’ but you shift it to ‘having a conversation’.

  • Stay curious

The goal is to keep Prospects talking about their problems. You do this through questioning and listening. When a Prospect starts speaking, you begin ACTIVE listening.

Follow up with questions and make statements such as:

“Wow, I can’t believe it’s been going on that long”

OR

“Wow, that must be frustrating! Tell me more.”

Sometimes you may need to play ‘Dummy’ to keep the conversation going, saying something like:

“Gee, you know, I’m really not sure I am getting it, can you please explain that again?”

Stay curious. Include statements and questions which will elicit conversation. LISTEN to their answers.

  • Call their bluff

Sometimes, Prospects will say, ‘We don’t need help, everything is great!’. I suggest asking more questions or making more statements and possibly calling their bluff. You can say something like:

“Wow! So, you and your sales team will hit your quota, even despite the pandemic? How have you managed to do that?”

This will allow you to continue the conversation and to learn more. If they ARE in fact in great shape, you may not be able to help but might learn some insights about how the organization works. If they are NOT doing as well as they originally said, it is an opportunity to add value and to continue the conversation.

No matter what, be POLITE! We are trying to create relationships here, not burn any bridges.

  • Rule of 3

I train our salespeople to address objections and stalls three times. After that, if the Prospect is still not on board, I suggest you ask for the referral and move on.

  • Memorize your script

Yes, hearing obstacles may feel like a kick to the stomach but by expecting them, have SCRIPTED responses (which you have memorized) and being prepared, you can take much of the sting out of them.

  • Stay UNemotional

Stay unemotional – this is NOT a verdict on your self-worth or a personal failure. It is a ‘no’. And this is a business where you will hear a LOT of no’s. Move on, your next call is waiting to be made – Keep Dialing and get to that ‘YES’!

If you or your sales team need help with scripting or preparing to address obstacles, give us a call TODAY at 908-879-2911- we provide the words, encouragement and support you need to face obstacles like a PRO!

Other posts in this Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success series:

Step 1 – The Cold Call

Step 2 – The First Meeting

Step 3 – Part 1: How to Overcome Objections

Step 4 – The Close

More tips on how to overcome objections:

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