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.
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!
I was recently asked what I thought about texting Sales Prospects. Here is my response; it really depends on the industry and the individual prospect.
First some stats*:
As of January 2020, 292 million people in North America use text messages – that’s 80% of the total population.
The country with the highest percentage of mobile users is Russia where 89% of the population sends and receives text messages.
China and India have the most people who send SMS messages – China comes first with 1,081 million people and India second with 730 million.
For prospects who actively text, texting CAN be a HIGHLY effective way to follow-up and keep in touch with them. Some people totally avoid using the phone wherever possible and for them, it may actually be NECESSARY to use texts to interact.
But there are still many industries, especially white-collar organizations in the US, which have not yet embraced texting. Texting a prospect there may be a turn off, or worse yet, may never even be seen!
The same is true of some of the older “C suite” occupants. It doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit or a strong prospect, it just means that texting might not be their ideal choice of platform. And making the prospect COMFORTABLE it key. Texting them, if they are not used to texting, could be the reason you don’t get an appointment. Why take that chance?
We often talk about how you should ‘mirror’ a prospects tone, speech patterns and speed. This helps create a connection and builds trust. The same applies to your messaging. If they are phone people, pick up the phone to connect. If they are wedded to texting, by all means, text them. If you aren’t sure, pick up the phone and ASK THEM.
I also want to caution Salespeople who use texts, to be sure they are not using it as a crutch. In my training experience, I have seen many people who prefer to use texts for outreach, rather than picking up the phone. Yes, it can be easier, and it can give you a (false) sense of control, but it is NOT an effective way to Cold Call and is especially ineffective for building relationships.
Remember, Cold Calling is NOT about SELLING but about creating RELATIONSHIPS. Interaction doesn’t happen on platforms like texting – at best, it is just a messaging platform. The phone allows you to interact, hear, and really LISTEN to the prospect. And then you can pivot and respond appropriately. There are way too many ways to miss what is being said (or being left unsaid) when texting so keep it to appointment confirmations and quick follow-ups.
Another caution is that it can be very easy to get too ‘casual’ when texting. I know that I personally DISLIKE it when someone I don’t know sends me a text or email with a really casual opening like ‘Hey Nan’ or ‘Hi Nance!’. If you are going to use texts, keep them professional. They don’t have to be FORMAL but don’t get too ‘friendly’ in your messages with the Prospect until you are actually that comfortable in person.
Note that I am not asking or concerning myself here with which communication mode the SALESPERSON prefers. That is not a factor. The goal is to identify the platform or mode that the PROSPECT is most comfortable with and then utilize that. For those of you who are not yet comfortable texting, you may want to consider it. If nothing else, it is yet another communication tool for your toolbelt.
As salespeople, we need to take advantage of ALL the tools available to us. Texting is a valuable one for some – use it where appropriate but don’t rely on it exclusively.
Two of the most important components to the success of your business are your Client Base and your Sales Team. Select these carefully and you will have greater success, both in your day-to-day interactions and your bottom line.
What qualities should you look for when building your ideal Client Base and Sales Team? We each have our own impressions of the people we deal with but here are five key characteristics to look for when pursuing Prospective Clients and hiring Salespeople:
- Young: By this I mean YOUTHFUL. Age is just a number and we all know people who are much ‘younger’ (or older!) at heart than their chronological age. Surrounding yourself with clients and a team of ‘youthful’ energetic people who embrace change easily will foster a positive outlook, companywide.
- Attractive: We don’t mean Miss America here. This too, is not to be taken literally. I am talking about looking for, working with and hiring people who attract other people. People who are socially adept and that others like to be around. Interesting people who, in some way, have a magnetic personality. People YOU are attracted to and enjoy being with.
- Verbal: Being able to communicate is a KEY trait in any Salesperson – period, end of story. Hiring people who speak well and are easily understood check this box. Identifying clients who say what they mean will also make your life easier.
- Intelligent: We’re not talking about IQ here. Your team members need not have a degree from Harvard to deliver excellent sales results. Being ‘street smart’ and ‘getting it’ is what we want.
- Successful: This is not about money, but it does impact the bottom line. Here, we want to look for people who can accomplish what they set out to do. They finish things. They are responsive and take responsibility for their actions and their success.
These five traits create the acronym YAVIS. We can train for skills, but these are innate traits that people are born with. Look for them as you interview clients and prospective employees. You may not be able to consistently find people with all five of these qualities but aim for at least 3 or 4.
Once you start looking for and requiring these characteristics of those you work with and hire, you will find that building your ideal Client Base and Sales Team will bring YOU more success!
Which traits do YOU value most in your Sales Team? Is it the same for your Clients? Let us know in the comments below!
This may sound like a hokey statement but there is truth to it. Read on to see how identifying the real root of a prospect’s objection – the truth – early on, can save you time, money and aggravation.
How many times have you had someone tell you they were interested but they need more information. Interested but they are not ready? Interested but they aren’t in the position to make the decision needed? Interested but they cannot afford it? Interested but, but, but.
Selling is a ‘No’ business – you know you will get No’s. Yet it is the ‘BUTS’ that can waste even more of your time and money. Stalls and objections are common in sales, and maybe never more so than now. My advice is to focus on cutting through the BUTS to get to the TRUTH.
If the truth IS that they need more information, ask them for their email address so you can send them a follow-up package. Ask them what services are of interest and make sure you have prepared materials to send. Set-up an appointment to review the information and then follow through.
If the truth is that they aren’t ready, ask them when they think they WILL need your services. Get out your schedules and set a date – be specific – pick a time, get it on their calendar.
If the truth is that they are not the decision maker, ask for names, numbers and an introduction to the correct person.
But if the truth is that they are just trying to blow you off without hurting your feelings, let them know that you would rather KNOW that now, than to waste more time.
Here is a sample of what you can say to get a truthful response:
“Gee,(or something similar, to soften the statement) oftentimes when I am asked/told this it is because the person is afraid to tell me that they really are not interested. I don’t know if this is the case here, but if it is, that is okay.” (at this point, be quiet and let them respond!).
If this is the case, let them know you appreciate the honesty, schedule a call back and move on. A NO is NOT NOW. Recycle them for future contact, perhaps 3 – 4 months. Things change and you want to be in front of them when they do. The truth will set you free – free to move on to your next prospect – moving you closer to a YES and a real sale!