When people think about cold calling, they envision an aggressive phone call in which the caller pressures the person on the other end of the line into making a purchase. To me, this is the worst example of cold calling. This is what gives cold calling a bad name. One thing they have right is that cold calling involves making a call to someone the caller does not know, but there is a great deal of difference between what professional cold callers do and that negative image.
My business, One of a Kind Sales, uses cold calling to qualify leads and set appointments. Generally, we work from a curated list of prospects that have been identified because of their specific role in a business. Our objective is to understand whether any of these prospects have a need for or an interest in a particular product or service. This is sharply differentiated from attempting to sell the solution. Often the selling process is handled by a different person who is a solution expert. In our process, which we’ve used successfully thousands of times, if the caller determines there is no need or no interest in the solution, we end the interaction on a positive note. However, if a lead is qualified, meaning that they have a need and an interest, our team sets up an appointment for the expert who will speak to the prospect about the solution.
These cold calling interactions also have the potential to generate referrals. For example, if a lead is not qualified, the caller may ask whether there is another business they might recommend that we speak to that may need the solution.
Beyond the objective of near-term sales, cold calling can be used in other ways:
Market research – Speaking to a potential prospect is an effective way to gauge interest in a new product or service and get a better understanding of market needs.
Competitive research – Talking to your ideal prospects can help you gain insight into competitive activities.
Education – When a product or service is complex, cold calling can be done to provide general information that will give the prospect a better understanding of the product. Sometimes this is done in anticipation of the launch of a new product or service.
No matter the objective, cold calling should always be thought of as a way to establish a positive relationship with a connection that would enable you to re-approach them as a “warm” contact at a future point in time. Well-trained professional cold callers are skilled in establishing rapport quickly, and they have a genuine interest in learning more about their prospects’ needs.
When thinking about cold calling, it’s time to leave behind that old stereotype of the-high-pressure phone call. Given the competitive marketplace and the proven utility of cold calling, we need to think strategically about all of the options in the sales toolbox and deploy them when and where they can have the greatest impact.
If you are wondering whether cold calling could be a good approach for your business give me a call at 908-879-2911 or email me at email@example.com.
Have you ever been in a sales slump? I think all of us have at some point. But one of the things that I’ve realized over the years is that how we think about these situations and how we speak about them makes a real difference in how resilient we are. Ultimately, our resilience impacts how successful we are at managing through a period of slow sales.
I was struck by a recent article I read on the topic of resilience that was published on CNBC.com. A Harvard-trained psychologist said that we can identify resilient people based on how they talk about the situation that they’re in. They tend to be very deliberate in what they say about their challenges. Typical statements that a resilient individual might say to describe a difficult circumstance might be: “I can get through this,” “What can I learn from the situation?,” or “This is something I need to let go of.” To me, these statements reflect a recognition that they have control over how they respond to any given situation.
While the psychologist focused on what was being verbalized, my thoughts turned to ‘self-talk’ – the internal dialogue that we all engage in on an ongoing basis. I think that what we say to ourselves about a situation impacts how we feel and how we are able to respond. Our ‘self-talk’ shapes our reality and regulates our emotions. As a result, ‘self-talk’ can impact the outcome because it affects behavior.
If you find yourself thinking only negative things about a challenging situation like slower sales, you may be headed for trouble. Try thinking about whether you can turn the situation around in your head and look for aspects that you can control, whether it is how much you think about it or whether you can take steps to address a portion of it.
I’m not suggesting that we all become unrealistically optimistic, but I am suggesting that how we perceive a situation (as expressed in our self-talk) influences how effectively we can act. I believe that we can manage our thoughts to achieve the resilience that is going to help any salesperson work their way out of a slump.
Have you recently felt challenged by this? If so, reach out to me, and let’s get a conversation going about we might be able to find a way to help. Contact me at One of a Kind Sales by calling 908-879-2911 or emailing Nancy@OneofaKindSales.com.
Salespeople who are addressing complex customer challenges can spend a great deal of time anticipating and handling objections. In my experience, I’ve seen that the skill it takes to identify and address objections varies widely across salespeople. Here are the steps my team and I take to get at the true objections and discover once and for all whether a prospect is ready to move forward.
Step 1: We listen attentively and seek clarification as needed.
When a prospect presents an objection, resist the urge to interrupt or defend your product/service. Your ability to listen shows the prospect you take their concerns seriously.
Seek clarification using open-ended questions as needed to ensure you understand their concerns fully. This step helps you dig deeper into their underlying motivations and fears.
Step 2: We empathize and acknowledge their concerns.
Show empathy by acknowledging their objection without dismissing or belittling it. Let them know that their concerns are valid, and you appreciate their honesty. Establishing a genuine connection will encourage openness and trust.
Step 3: We carefully explore the root cause.
We’ve found that objections are often smokescreens for deeper issues. This is why it is so important to “get to the heart of the matter.” Skillfully probe your prospect’s reservations and encourage them to share candidly.
Step 4: We confirm our prospect’s interest before moving forward.
Armed with a deeper understanding, it could be time to present tailored solutions. But before you invest the time, confirm that the elimination of the problem would result in a project that is likely to move forward. A genuine prospect will show signs of receptiveness. If they are lukewarm despite your offer of a tailored solution, it is an indicator that it is time for you to move on to the next prospect.
Step 5: If appropriate, we offer the solution and ask for a commitment.
Once they have reviewed the customized solution, you might ask them what they believe the next step in the process should be. You’re looking for a commitment to the next step – a willingness to move toward a close.
Remember, not every objection can be overcome. Sometimes, we may uncover that our prospect is genuinely not interested or current circumstances prevent them from moving forward. Respect their decision and gracefully accept a “No.” Cherish the truth, as it allows you to focus on more promising prospects. By following these steps, you’ll be equipped to navigate objections with finesse and determine when it’s appropriate to continue a sales process.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love sales and cold calling in particular. If you need help with bringing your sales team to the next level or if you would like to outsource your cold calling, give us a call at 908-879-2911.
Communicating your expertise and product knowledge to your prospect leads to a successful sale:
I came across this question in a session with a world-class expert in the Sandler selling method. This is one that can spark a lot of debate.
I’m aware that many salespeople are trained to be product experts. In fact, product or service training may be the lion’s share of the formal training that they receive from their company. Often, salespeople are coached to share their knowledge in order to establish their expertise with a prospect. This might be because the business perceives that the offering is so differentiated that once a prospect fully understands it they will jump at the opportunity. So, an encyclopedic knowledge of the offering and the ability to communicate it is often perceived as a major sales success factor for a salesperson.
However, consider the problems that could arise with this approach. What if we miss something critical because we are so busy “communicating” about our offering? When we first meet with a prospect, I believe it’s important to let the prospect communicate with us. What are their current issues? Why are they even talking to us about our offering? What problems are they trying to solve? If we move into “presentation mode” without knowing the answers to these questions, we risk losing the prospect’s attention by not addressing their core concerns. In order to get at these concerns, we need to take the time to ask the right questions and then engage in active listening so that the prospect can communicate with us and so that we can internalize what they are saying. We need a two-way conversation and, particularly early in the discussion, it’s ideal if the prospect does most of the talking. This is where we learn what we need to know in order to confirm if they are a good fit for our solution and then close the sale.
So what’s my answer to this question?
False: I’ve concluded that product knowledge and expertise aren’t enough to close the sale.
Avoid getting into the “nuts and bolts” of a product presentation immediately with a prospect.
Slow down and take the time to get to know prospects in order to learn what motivates them.
When you truly understand their situation, you can then start to use your understanding of your offering to highlight how your solution will make a real difference for them. In my experience, taking this approach will improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to sell and are lifelong learners when it comes to selling. Cold calling is our specialty. If your business needs help with getting appointments with qualified prospects, give us a call at 908-879-2911.
In this post, I will show you the results of our End of Year, 2021 Prospecting Survey and share my takeaways.
First, a big thank you to everyone who participated – I truly appreciate your taking the time to share your experience!
The survey was short, only 3 questions. The goal was to see what is working for YOU and to identify YOUR preferred methods of prospecting.
People were allowed to pick multiple options and to write in any that were not on the list.
The first question was: “What mode of communication is most effective for you when prospecting?”
As you can see from the screenshot above, Email came in first. As a die-hard Cold Calling fan, I was happy to see that Phone Calls came in a close second.
And I will note that one person wrote in, ‘direct mail’ as their choice.
Which tactics do YOU prefer?
The next question was, “What is YOUR preferred mode of communication when prospecting?”
Someone wrote in Direct Mail for this question as well.
It was interesting to see the same first and second place entries and I wonder if some of this is because people tend to use the tactics they are most comfortable with.
The third question asked people to indicate their age range. We did have a good mix of participants and because there weren’t any large discrepancies in the results, I didn’t drill down to cross reference by age.
I was surprised that LinkedIn came in so low. Clearly, more people need to tap into the power of that platform. I will address this in a future post.
And it seems that video is also underused. As much as I LOVE Cold Calling, it really is only one part of a comprehensive outreach plan. Remember to use all tools at your disposal!
Some takeaways and insights
Again, it is clear that people are still uncomfortable picking up the phone and talking to a stranger. They are still more comfortable with text or email – but neither of those tactics offer human connection. And we KNOW that human connection drives engagement and sales.
A lot of people think they need to reach out to a potential prospect via email before cold calling – to ‘warm them up’. That is a falsehood. Emails don’t warm anyone up and opening an email doesn’t mean they read it. When they pick up a phone, at least you KNOW you are talking to them.
And you know that you are standing out. Not lost in a sea of emails in an inbox.
We have found, over and over, that people are happy to talk to strangers – it is just how you approach it.
When you launch into selling mode or start off by listing your features and benefits you can be sure they will be turned off and disconnect.
No one cares about Features and Benefits – they are busy and care only about their own world. Showing them that you understand that world and explaining how your service and insights can help them succeed and get ahead in that world, IS of interest!
ADDING value to the prospect’s day and business is all that matters. Focus there.
You must keep in mind that what the person values is key – not necessarily what you are there to sell. And to understand what they value, you need to ask the right questions and LISTEN to the answers!
Click on the links below for some articles on the right questions to ask and how to actively listen:
To all of those who didn’t choose Cold Calling as a tactic that works for them, I challenge you to TRY it!
I don’t mean to just pick up the phone and dial. I mean to really set up an effective Cold Calling Campaign and see the results. Or better yet, have us implement one for you (click here to learn more about how we can make Cold Calls and set qualified appointments for YOU.
What do YOU think?
If you didn’t participate and you would like to take the brief survey, click here
I will keep it live through the end of March and I will revisit/ revise this post if there are any significant changes.
I want to get straight to the point and address the elephant in the room. Covid is still raging and its presence is still impacting our businesses. We have made some headway and there is reason to expect the year to improve but for now, I want to give you some advice for selling during covid – a 2022 edition.
2021 brought us a vaccine and a bit of freedom. It also brought us face-to-face with some things we never really had to address before.
Supply Chain Issues
Supply chain interruptions have disrupted businesses of all stripes. The medical supply, electronics and automotive industries have been hit hardest but if you manufacture ANYTHING, it’s a good bet that these supply breakdowns have affected your ability to build and deliver your products. Things are starting to get back up to speed but you need to keep these disruptions in mind and be sensitive to those whose businesses and bottom lines have been negatively impacted.
Yes, you should stay optimistic, but be cognizant of your prospects’ struggles.
Business As UNusual
Business structures have also changed, in some cases, quite radically. On one hand, you have companies that are back up and running, in person, as they were before the pandemic. On the other hand, there are some that have embraced a new, virtual only, existence. And many are still figuring it all out, trying to make some hybrid of the two, work.
Don’t assume that everyone you call is sitting at a desk in an office or that they are still just down the hall from the decision makers. Be aware of the multitude of configurations now in play and be flexible. Ask what method of communication works best for them and then use it. Selling during covid means that now, more than ever, being flexible and adaptable is mandatory.
Patience is a Virtue – and a Real Necessity
In addition to adapting to these new work logistics, most of us are also juggling numerous personal, family and health changes and challenges. People may have shorter fuses and less patience. Remember that this is in no way a reflection of your worth or skill.
Ask people if it is a good time to talk. If it isn’t, ask when might be better. Be patient and you will be rewarded with their time and attention.
Do NOT Waste Time
When you are able to speak with someone, make sure that you are ready! It is very rare that people ever really have time to kill but for most prospects, time is tighter than ever. Be considerate and don’t waste their time – or your own.
Do NOT Sound Salesy
It is NEVER a good plan to go into hard-sell mode or to sound salesy. But with people’s time and patience stretched thin, sounding like you are trying to sell them something just isn’t going to work.
How are Things Still the Same?
As much as things have changed, most of our tried and true tactics are still effective.
As Mark Hunter pointed out recently, the new year levels the field. We are ALL starting at zero. The high performers, those that missed their goals last year and everyone in between. Don’t focus on the last year, but the one ahead.
Your Mindset Will Determine Your Outcome
Keep your eyes on the horizon. Focus on what you want to have accomplished by December of this year and stay optimistic.