Cold calling is the art of approaching someone, professionally, openly and meaningfully, with a sensible proposition. The solicitation of potential customers who were not anticipating such an interaction. It is a technique whereby a salesperson contacts individuals who have not previously expressed an interest in the products or services that are being offered.
a) Supersede existing suppliers
b) Preempt the competition
c) Identify and create huge new business possibilities
The sales person's role between supplier and customer is the most significant and pivotal at the cold calling stage.
The sales person at cold calling stage determines the interpretation, direction and cooperation between customer and supplier.
'1st Law of Cybernetics' - it relates strongly to cold calling. The 1st Law of Cybernetics states that "The unit within the system with the most behavioural responses available to it, controls the system".
Preparation - self, environment, knowledge, and the represented party
Introduction - key phrases explaining and positioning the purpose
Questioning - help, facilitate and enable rather than assume, sell and push
Objectivity - the mark of an advisor - not to sell
To Listen and interpret - not to sell
To Inform and educate - not to sell
To Involve and coordinate - not to sell
To Keep in touch - to keep notes and to keep informed - to keep ultimate ownership
Decision-makers in most organizations soon grow weary of the large number of salespeople phoning them. So if the sales personnel are not well trained when they cold call, they are more likely to get slapped with a lot of rejection.
On the other hand, when they are professionally trained, cold calling is easy and tremendously profitable. Here are 7 steps to boost the cold calling success.
Sales personnel will have to keep the list of people they're going to contact within easy access so that they can make several calls without stopping. They can create their list through trade association directories, chambers of commerce and even their local library. They can also purchase lists from private companies listed under mailing lists in the yellow pages. The best list is the referrals they obtain from current customers.
It's also a good idea to have a contact management system to keep track of their calls and when they'll follow-up.
Sales personnel will have to be clear about what the goal is for their call; be it to set up a meeting, send literature, or whatever. Then write a script to achieve that goal. That's not to suggest that they'll recite the entire conversation, just the first few key statements. Though this may seem artificial, most successful salespeople use a script to ensure that they consistently have a strong impact. On the telephone they wouldn't have time to make mistakes. Every word counts, so they must be prepared.
In some cases, the decision-maker is not necessarily the person who does the buying. The organization may have a separate purchasing department for that purpose. So the sales person will have to ask the switchboard operator or the receptionist to speak with, the person who makes the decision regarding.
When attempting to contact the key person, they should avoid leaving voice mail messages the first two times they call. Unfortunately, it's relatively rare that people who have buying authority return unsolicited sales calls. If, after the third attempt, they still can't reach them, then they may leave a voice mail message. But they will have to make sure they've scripted a powerful message that has a compelling reason for them to return their call. That's another reason why it's important to prepare a script in advance.
Sales personnel should not ask a stranger on the telephone. How are you, today?. The listener will realize that the sales person doesn't know them and that they really don't care how they are. So the listener may think it's a waste of time.
Here's how their conversation with the decision maker might begin: Hello, Julie. We haven't met yet. My name is Stephen, with Angel Seminars. I wonder if you might help me. The reason I'm calling is that I understand that you're the person who's in charge of staff training. Is that true or has someone been spreading a rumor?
This is a clear, simple statement that indicates what the benefit might be of them doing business with the cold caller/the represented company. For example, the reason I'm calling is to find out if we might be able to enhance your staff's ability to gain and keep customers.
At this point they've said enough. It's time for the other person to get some control. So, that benefit statement will have to be followed with. Do you have a moment to talk? If they do, then they can go on to the next step. If they don't, then they should ask when would be a good time to call them back and then follow-up accordingly.
Here's how this might sound, "I want to make sure our businesses could be a match, so I'll give you an example of what we do, and you can tell me whether there might be a fit. Hope that is fine with you, We did a front line training seminar for the XYZ Company. The result was they increased turnover by thirty percent. That created approximately $230,000 in additional revenues and reduced the amount they spent on training by over 70%."
The more specific the case history can be, the more compelling the proposal will be. Hence the need to give actual numbers and percentages if possible.
Then the caller should ask them if they fall into the category that makes this benefit possible for them. So they might say, "In order for us to be able to help you, you need to have a staff of at least 5 full or part time employees who interact regularly with customers. Does that apply to you?" If they qualify, then they can go to the next step.
If their goal is to set up a meeting, they can suggest to the person, "perhaps we can sit down together and.." (give them a general idea of what you'll do in the meeting).
They should keep in mind that some prospects are so leery of telephone solicitors, that they have to be completely sold on the phone before they'll agree to see the caller in-person. So the caller needs to know how to probe, summarize, make an emotional connection, ask for the order, and deal with objections all the aspects of selling - before they start cold calling.
Training is the Key
Cold calling doesn't have to be a demoralizing knuckle-biting activity. It can, in fact, be motivating and extremely profitable - providing the callers have the right training.
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