Article Summary:Cold call sales can be warmed up with these techniques.
There are lots of ways you can warm up a cold call. Let's look at three strategies that will thaw out your prospects and make you more confident when you call.
1. Use A Well-Crafted Pre-Approach Letter
A pre-approach letter is a letter of introduction. The purpose is to introduce yourself to a prospect while creating credibility and interest. Pre-approach letters usually state who you are, what you do and why it would be beneficial to meet. You can include brief reference stories that demonstrate how others have benefited from your products/services. A reference story can provide a subtle yet powerful way to demonstrate your Unique Selling Proposition. If written effectively, your letter should stimulate interest in the prospect to want to know more about you.
Your letter should also include a call to action. A call to action usually invites the prospect to contact you for more information or to set an appointment, but also lets him know that you will follow-up within a few days.
A few cardinal rules about pre-approach letters. First, don't "we-we" all over the prospect. Present your ideas to covey benefits to your prospects. In other words, replace "we do…" with "you will..." Second, get rid of jargon, techno-speak and other big words. Keep it simple. Third, keep it short and visually stimulating. Indent testimonial quotes or key points, bold or underline. Add Johnson boxes, a post script and bulleted items to break up the text and create adequate white space.
There are other ways to communicate with your prospects as well. E-mail, for example, is a great way to make connections. Regardless of your communication method, the more you can personalize your communication, the better. Something that looks like a form letter or junk mail will be treated accordingly.
2. Write A Cold Call Script That Puts You And Your Prospect At Ease
A script will help you stay focused on your key points and enable you to present yourself in a confident manner. It should also be rehearsed sufficiently, so it doesn't sound like a commercial. Let your personality and style come through so your script can be delivered naturally. So it doesn't come across as a "written script," you may want to keep just your main bullet points in front when you make your calls. That does not mean, however, that you should skip the steps of writing it out completely and rehearsing it until you can deliver it with ease. Your telephone script should include the following:
- Introduction/ask for help
- Permission to continue
- The purpose of call
- A brief explanation of why you want an appointment
- Request for an appointment
Remember, you have approximately 15 - 45 seconds to introduce yourself, tell why you are calling and capture their attention. Using your words effectively is critical to your success. The right words will distinguish you from other salespeople and create interest without exerting pressure into the process.
You want to engage your prospects in a conversation, not put them on the defensive. Most salespeople don't even realize that from the moment they open their mouths, they sound like every other salesperson and the prospect is immediately guarded and suspicious. A general rule of thumb here is that if you haven't updated and revised your cold call script in the last two years, you are probably using some "pressure words" or phrases that need to be banished.
3. Prepare Properly And You Can Overcome Objections
It's usually the objections you get that can throw you for a loop. It's easy to get flustered if you stutter and stammer your way through responses. You should script answers to the typical "negative" responses or objections you may encounter, just like you script out your cold call. A little preparation will go a long way in improving your cold calling success ratio. Some of the more common objections to setting appointments include statements by the prospect like:
- I don't have time / I'm too busy
- I'm happy with my current vendor
- We don't have the money in the budget
- Can you put something in the mail to me
- I'm not interested
If you carefully script responses to each of these possible rebuttals, you will increase your probability of getting the appointment you seek. If you don't get the response you want, continue to tweak your responses to improve your odds for success.
Will Turner is the Founder and President of Dancing Elephants Achievement Group. Will has trained thousands of salespeople and business owners and authored over 100 articles on sales-related topics. He is also the creator of dozens of sale seminar programs, as well as the Sales Magnetism program which helps salespeople move beyond consultative selling to the next level of client relationships. He is the co-author of Six Secrets of Sales Magnets. For more information visit Dancingelephants.net