Thursday, April 23, 2009

The First 7 Seconds Of A Cold Call

image Plan Your Approach - Use Power Calling Checklists

Did I introduce myself first? "My name is ... with ... We have an office in ..." Does the prospect sound distracted, rushed or annoyed? "You sound very busy." What do I know about the prospect that I can use to start off the conversation?

'I hear that you are ..." "I noticed that your company ..." "I was reading about your company in the newspaper ..." What do we have in common? "I came across your name (business card) and it occurred to me..." "You may recall reading about ..." "It's been a long time since we talked. I remembered that you mentioned..." What do I know about this contact? "I understand that... you're the person that I should talk to about ... you're starting a business." What does this prospect have in common with my clients? "We're working with..." "We're helping our clients cut back on their ..."

Dear Joan,

I really don't mind cold calling. In fact, I dial the phone and jump right in without a problem. But it seems that I barely get through introducing myself and into my script when my prospects interrupt me to say they are not interested. What am I doing wrong ? What do I say after I say, "Hi, my name is John Doe with Company X, how are you today?"

It's amazing you have such a positive attitude toward cold calling after reporting such discouraging results. Good for you - outlook is one of the most important elements to a successful cold call! After reading this column, you'll truly be on your way.

But first, let's listen to what your prospects are saying. "I'm not interested." Yes, that sounds like an objection. But is it valid?

I always notice where the objection occurs during the cold call. If my prospect is saying "I'm not interested," in the beginning, he's probably trying to get me off the phone. The prospect simply doesn't know enough about me or my company to say "no" so quickly. So chances are he's not objecting to my product or service, but to my approach.

Answer the questions that probably come into his mind when he hears a stranger on the other end of the phone. Who is this person? - Why is he calling me? - What does he want? - How long is this going to take? Now, here's what I've learned not to do in the first 7 seconds of a cold call:

1. Don't ask, "how are you?" In a cold call, you want to be genuinely helpful and direct. Asking "how are you" is canned conversation that doesn't carry much meaning.

2. Don't make outrageous claims. This approach immediately gives the prospect a point to argue. And it puts you on the defensive. That's pretty shaky groundwork to lay in the first 7 seconds. I believe in the soft-sell vs. the hard-sell routine. Rather than saying, "I know I can ..." try saying, "There's a good possibility I can help ..." And rather than saying, "What if I could save you $10,000 this month, would you be interested? Try saying "There's a good possibility I could save you a lot of money - that's why I'm calling."

3. Don't launch into a monologue or script. Start with a broad statement and get the prospect interested to hear more. This gives him time to catch up with you for a two-way conversation.

Engage in useful dialogue. By being genuinely helpful, you set yourself apart from other cold callers.

Joan Guiducci is the author of "Power Calling - A Fresh Approach to Cold Calls and Prospecting." To order a copy call (800) 728-2805 or (415) 383-4780. Workshops and training available.

Source: All Business.