Mastering Cold calls
Minimize the Sales Cycle
The goal of cold calling is to get to the decision-maker as quickly as possible so you can minimize the sales cycle.
The key to effective cold calling is knowing what to say to the gatekeepers, how to build interest quickly, and who is the most likely to buy.
Appointments are costly and extend the sales cycle (remember your time is money), so your cold calls should be designed to generate quality leads quickly. And it’s important to get to the decision-maker as early as possible. Planning is everything. There are eight rules that you need to follow when developing your plan. These eight core rules will make you much more successful at cold calling.
One of the hardest people to find and talk to is the decision-maker – the person who can make the purchase. To get past the gatekeepers choose off-times to call: noon, early morning, and before and after regular work hours. If you encounter a gatekeeper, try the following approaches:
Ask the participants to come out how they would get past gate-keepers. Some sample examples are given below:
If you do not have a name and need to find the decision-maker.
Receptionist: “This is Dean; how can I help you?
Salesperson: “Hello, Dean. This is Mike from the XYZ Company. I wonder if you can help me, please. I am looking for the person responsible for purchasing cloth in your company.
Receptionist: “Yes, one moment.”
Salesperson: Make sure to say before she transfers you, “Dean, before you transfer me, can I have the name and extension, in case we get cut off?
Thank you for your help.”
After you are transferred, you need to verify that you have the right person.
Salesperson: “I’m Mike from the XYZ Company, I was transferred to you because I was told you are the person who is responsible for purchasing cloth. Is that correct?”
Using this method, you will not spend valuable selling time with the wrong person.
If you do not have a name, you can call a company and make up a name to start your conversation.
Receptionist: “Excel Industries. How may I help you?”
Salesperson: “May I speak to James?”
Receptionist: “I am sorry, there is no James working at this company.”
Salesperson: “I thought James was the cloth buyer for your company. Could you please direct me to the person who is responsible for purchasing cloth?”
Receptionist: “I will transfer you to Catherine.”
Salesperson: “May I have her extension in case we get cut off? Thank you for your help.”
In both cases you have solicited the receptionist’s help to find the right person, and you have gotten the extension just in case you get cut off. These same approaches can be used in cold call visits to an office or business. If the person you want to see is not in, you will at least end up with a name and phone number. If she is in, you can, at worst, schedule a later appointment; and, at best you can get in to see her right away.
Cold Calling Rules
There are eight cold calling rules to follow. Keep these rules in mind when you develop a successful action plan.
- Set a self-appointment to make your calls. Set aside a time that you are at work making your calls and stick to it. Prospecting requires discipline.
- Make as many calls as possible. The more calls you make the more success you will have. If you set aside an hour for cold calling, do a full hour of calling.
- Gather your list before you call. Always have your phone list or addresses ready when you call. You don’t want to be side-tracked into gather phone numbers and addresses during your cold calling time.
- Work steadily. Interruptions can break the flow of ideas and energy.
- Call at different times. Find the best time to call or drop by, by trying a lot of different times at first then narrowing them down.
- Look organized; be organized. Have all your papers in hand and ordered. Also, keep your day timer and car neat and functional.
- Visualize the goal. Without knowing where you want to go, you will not be able to set your sails in the right direction.
- Keep cold calls brief. Your cold calls should spark questions and generate leads quickly by being focused