Rifle or shotgun: Which describes your approach to sales?
If your answer is “Huh?” understand that the analogy refers to stark differences between the firearms.
A rifle fires a bullet that must be perfectly aimed to hit its target. A shotgun shell contains pellets that spread into a pattern, requiring less accuracy to strike.
In other words: Do you know exactly who your prospects are, or do you kind of fire away and hope that you’re close?
If you’re like most self-assured sales reps, you answered “rifle.”
You qualify your prospects. You’ve done the research. You know who you’re going after, and why. You don’t waste time on fruitless outreach.
When the time comes to make those cold calls, you do so confidently … unless you don’t.
As I’ve reiterated countless times, sales isn’t easy. Cold calling can be one of the hardest parts. Yet, every sales rep has to do so, at some point (and probably more).
Don’t be afraid of cold calling. Embrace it. You have a LOT more control over the process than you think. A sound, strategic plan – built on putting in the work upfront – creates untold potential for business growth.
No doubt you are qualifying your prospects … to a point. Unlikely, however, that you’re doing the intense, ultra-specific drill-down that REALLY identifies those people and organizations who need your product or service … and are waiting to hear from you (though they might not know it).
Herein lies Strategy, the first Pillar of The Three Pillars of Cold Call Success.
As mentioned in my last article, every person or company you cold-call should (metaphorically) be named Ideal Client. They need what you’re selling. An introduction is the last missing piece.
How do you know this? Your comprehensive strategy (the Pillar) narrows potential targets to an extremely tight, focused group.
You use at least six objective, quantifiable, and specific criteria to identify prospects – criteria such as:
- Type of operation – service, manufacturing, retail, etc.
- B2B or B2C
- Where located
- Number of employees
- Market segment
- Annual revenue
- Age of organization
- Recent “life events,” i.e. leadership change, merger or acquisition, new office(s) opening, regulatory infraction, significant award … oh, there are many, many more!
Your prospects should meet all your criteria. Not three, or four, or five – ALL. Only then will you truly be employing a targeted, rifle-like strategy – not a scattershot, shotgun approach.
There’s more. Your cold call strategy needs meat on the bone. What value-add are you offering the prospect? How do you save them money or time? Make their job (or life) easier? Enhance the long-term prosperity of the organization?
Remember, the prospect doesn’t care about you. They care about what’s in it for them.
How do you get your message across, in the often painfully short time a cold call allows? This landmine blows up far too many sales calls. You’ll get the answer in my next post, which will examine Structure, the second Pillar of The Three Pillars of Cold Call Success.
Excited? Want to really dive in and learn more? Consider attending or live streaming my Feb. 28 Three Pillars of Cold Call Success seminar. Your head might explode from all the knowledge you’ll absorb. How’s that for a sales pitch?
Similarly, your cold call strategy should formulate a good one for your product or service. Keep in mind that your goal, on the initial call, isn’t to close a sale. It’s to set an appointment.
You, being a smart sales professional, can take things from there. You’ve put together a winning strategy. You’re armed and ready – and no longer shooting in the dark.
Paul M. Neuberger is President of The Starr Group, as well as the Founder & CEO ofThe Cold Call Coach. Struggling with cold calling in your sales outreach? ConsiderCold Calling for Success or Cold Call University. Contact Paul at 414-313-8338 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.