Nine. That’s the number of attempts it usually takes to reach a prospect with a cold call. Yet too many of us give up after 2 to 3 tries. And while repeat business and referrals play a big part in most industries, attracting new regions and verticals is critical for growth. The key to further success will always lie in getting more opportunities to show why your solution or service is not just better, but better for them. And that’s where most reps fall short. Here are 4 tips to secure that first conversation and stop leaving new business on the table.
- Don’t sell on the first call. Sound counter-intuitive? It isn’t and here’s why. Even though you have displayed expert weaving, ducking and bobbing to get your contact on the line, they are probably not in a mindset to hear your sales pitch straight away. Instead, let them know you got in touch to set up a future call to discuss how your product, solution, service or offering can dramatically improve their operations, sales growth, and increase retention rates. Remember: the call before the call gets you a ticket but the show hasn’t started yet!
- Be persistent and consistent. Touch the prospect by being pithy and concise, using intrigue and purpose whether you are speaking to them, leaving a voicemail, sending an email or getting their influential admin on the line. Create a unique value proposition and use it consistently. If one of your appeals is a very easy-to-install software or a lightweight product, then repeat that in a variety of ways. An example of a great value proposition is: “Hi, I’m calling to set up a 20-30 minute call with you to discuss helping your company more effectively monitor website traffic with a software that snaps seamlessly into your CRM.” You may think it sounds like a ‘robotic’ cold call but reinforcing your message every time increases the likelihood they will remember you and be more open to scheduling the real call.
- Calling the decision-makers cell phone. This is never recommended without ‘approval’ but if someone internally suggests that you do, accept the challenge. You won’t know what they are doing at that moment, so it’s very important to use a disarming question here, such as “Your admin gave me your cell number but did I catch you in the middle of something?”
- Don’t hide behind your screen. Remember, regardless of the era or advancements of technology, successful selling will always be people to people, not Outlook to Gmail. But in your follow-up, when email is appropriate, again use consistent messaging and create a call-to-action but hold the good stuff for when you can provide context. For example, if you attach a product brochure to your email, your prospect may read it and misinterpret the value, immediately disqualifying themselves. Instead, send them links to specific information on your website, including relevant blog posts, to give them a bit more information. Pique their interest, but make sure the only interpretation of your product is the one you want them to have!
Ultimately, your job is to create a vision of success for the prospect. Cracking the cold call process to develop and generate new business takes persistence and determination but it also takes skill that can be honed through discipline and repetition. Most importantly, it takes the right attitude. Never, ever assume that a prospect isn’t interested simply because you haven’t yet reached them—if you haven’t heard ‘no’ you can still charge past your competition to win the deal!
About the Author: Mike Scher is CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, www.FRONTLINESelling.com, creators of StaccatoTM, a leading sales software which removes the ‘trial and error’ of prospecting by standardizing the process across company sales teams. FRONTLINE has helped thousands of sales and marketing professionals convert more leads into opportunities, consistently hit quota and close more deals. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on SalesandMarketing.com