Why spend time making a cold call when you can make warm calls instead? Avoid cold calls altogether by using the following strategy. When making the call, you need to first identify why the customer would be interested in you. In addition, your second goal should not be to close the sale, but to be able to earn the right, privilege, and opportunity to continue the discussion with the prospect.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re talking to a prospect. When you’re making a cold call, don’t view the other person as a customer. Customers are those who have provided you with information that is not normally known by others. Prospects are those with whom you have not been able to develop a detailed dialogue with and, as such, they have not provided you with some key information.

When making the call, keep in mind that you have only 10 seconds to convey your passion and interest in desiring to serve the person on the other end. Begin by addressing them by their first name only. Using the person’s last name makes the call more formal. Second, state your name clearly. Don’t waste time by giving the person your title or company name, unless it is compelling enough to generate their interest. Next, you should make a single statement that both serves as a compliment to the person and peaks their interest. An example of this might be: “You’re fortunate to be employed by one of top 100 companies to work for in America and the reason I’m calling is that I assist companies in making sure they stay ranked there.” You would then follow it by saying, “May I ask you a question?” If the prospect doesn’t allow you to do so, ask if there might be another time when they would have 3-5 minutes. This communicates that you’re not looking for a lot of time. Often, the person will ask you to continue right then. If they don’t and won’t give you another time, finish the call and move on. Always avoid getting sucked into the trap of allowing the prospect to drive the outcome with a response like: “I don’t have time right now, but go ahead and send me some information.” This of course is the kiss of death!

When the customer allows you to ask your first question, keep in mind that it must be short and open, while, at the same time, beginning to convey your expertise. An example might be: “We often work with companies like yours that know the value of being a great place to be employed because they understand what it takes to be great. What are you currently doing to help your sales people be more productive?” A follow up comment might be: “Lately, I’ve been talking to a number of buyers who have shared with me some concerning information and I’m struggling in know if it’s accurate. May I share with you a couple of their comments?” Keep in mind, I’ve only made two comments / questions and, as a result, I will most likely be able to either keep the conversation going or will have earned the right and privilege to contact the person again. Either way, the cold call has been successful since I’ve achieved my goal of being able to continue the dialogue.
Voicemail, of course, is where the vast majority of phone calls wind up. When making the first call to a prospect, if you are connected to voicemail, do not leave a message. The chances of getting it returned is extremely low unless you’re a doctor, attorney, or banker. You should only leave a message on the third attempt, assuming you’ve varied the time of day and day of the week when you’ve made the other two calls. (The best time to prospect call is from 7:30 – 8:30 AM and the best month is late in December.) When you leave a message, don’t give enough information to allow the prospect to rule out why they don’t need you. Your message should be upbeat and enthusiastic. In no more than 12 seconds, you need to leave your name, phone number (slowly), and one interesting comment to get them to remember you. An example I might use would be: “Hi, I’m Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, and I’m calling you to compliment you on being named as one of the best companies to work for in America. You can reach me at 402-445-2110.” Notice I didn’t try and sell anything. All I did was let them know who I am and compliment them. I have also accepted the fact that the customer will probably not return the call, but the compliment I left will serve to make them more receptive to me the next time I contact them.

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