10 Steps to Effective Cold Calling.
Does the prospecting script you are now using merge million dollar principles with your personality? All too often salespeople begin the cold call with dread instead of joyful anticipation.
Everyone uses a script when prospecting. If I were to sit with any salesperson, from the entry level to the seasoned successful veteran, for just three calls, I’d know what they would say on the fourth call. Yet, most people have a negative opinion of using what is an effective selling tool…a cold calling script. This is probably due to the fact that most scripts are poorly organized with the principles of the script being sacrificed for the sake of personality of the salesperson. The ideal script sacrifices neither. The following ten principles of a million dollar script will help you sell a million dollars of products and services.
One: Speak slowly – in a measured way with a pause between each statement.
Two: You must stand out from the crowd. When an individual receives a prospecting call their mental flag is raised and they think – Who is this? What does s/he want? Where did s/he get my name? Until these three questions are answered, they will be mentally preoccupied with them. When you answer those questions immediately, the prospect will have cleared their mental slate – waiting for you to divulge the reason for your call.
Three: Do not ever say “How are you today? “ If you do, you declare yourself as a salesperson and an ordinary salesperson at that. Moreover, you become one of the masses asking rhetorical meaningless questions. Nor would you ask Is this a good time to talk? as it is almost never a good time and you run the risk of hearing a resounding NO.
Four: Continue with the next part of the script by using a mental hook. You achieve this by asking if you can ask a question. When you ask this, their mental slate is cleared in anticipation of having to answer a question. Assume that if they didn’t say no directly this was the invitation to proceed.
Five: Proceed by Gently and Tenderly wounding the prospect. To do this you must be clear on what problem they have, and pain caused by the problem, that you could solve for them. Introduce the problem and the pain and now they’re really listening.
The next statement shows how you can give choice and gently and tenderly wound at the same time, “Let me ask you a question… pause for them to say no and then proceed with, as a business owner, do you always intend to spend time face to face with your clients, competitive proofing your relationship?” The answer here is usually yes. Proceed with, …well what I’d like to do, if its alright with you, is set a time to discuss how you can maintain these high standards without placing extra burden on your time. Does this sound fair to you?”
Six: This last statement/question supplied a tiny band-aid for the wound created in previous statements, and it showed an attitude of support and collaboration. It is vital that your prospect feels safe because discussing issues that affect their customers is the final frontier of trust.
Seven: The next step is to anticipate the typical three objections you receive when you prospect and cold call. My research shows the maximum objections you will receive is six so it is important to know which six you regularly receive. If you don’t receive objections, you generally wont get the deal.
A case in point is the customer who agrees with everything and you set an appointment but before you hang up he says, “But would you mind calling me the day before to confirm?” Not wanting to compromise this piece of luck at actually getting an appointment, the salesperson agrees and when they confirm they are faced with, “Oh, thank you for confirming. As it turns out, I’m busy, and can’t meet with you. So, can you call me back?” Either you do and the pattern repeats itself or you move on to another prospect. This is the pursue, capture, and disenchantment pattern where salespeople quit when they first hear what they don’t want to hear. The typical customer gives a rendition of the following six objections and they are:
- I already have a supplier I’m happy with.
- I don’t have time.
- I’m not interested.
- I hear you are too expensive.
- My budget is spent this year.
- Send me a brochure.
It’s vital to have a self-respectful and customer respectful response to whatever objections you receive.
Eight: You must ask for the appointment after handling each objection. Be willing to handle whatever three objections they give you, asking for the appointment after each one. My research shows that doing so increases your chance of getting the appointment by 90%. When you can engage with the customer at this level, you project yourself as a leader, one who doesn’t fold their tent and move away at the earliest sign of distress.
(When you have a professional script, it becomes your template and bedrock from which to overlay your own personality. Objections, resistance, rejection, and even indifference can be managed by managing your emotional responses.)
Nine: Throughout the process you must give your prospects to the right to say “NO” three times. This is a break with typical training tactics, but think of this, when you’re not given choices are you receptive? Certainly not, and neither is your client. You give choice to say no in a subtle way, such as, What I’d like to do, if it’s alright with you, is set a time to discuss my product and you tell me if we are a match or not.
Ten: Make the calls imperfectly. Twenty calls, with blunders and uncomfortable feelings, will yield greater results than if you wait to make twenty perfect calls.
Those who prospect the most sell the most. You must think of it as a numbers game, where not even Donald Trump wins all of the time. Become willing to be rejected and the eventual rejection will dismantle your resolve less than if you make the calls, doing everything you can so as not to experience rejection. There is a price to be paid for everything we achieve. Prospecting, and the possible rejection inherent in that task, is one of the prices for becoming a super seller.