Sales is a bit like dating.
Don’t agree? Think about it.
There’s attraction (to a product or service, vs. a person). Persuasion (convincing a prospect to buy, vs. enticing someone to go out). Negotiation (price or conditions of sale, vs. where to go for dinner). Finally, closing (signing on the dotted line, vs. “I’ll pick you up at 6.”)
Continuing the sales/dating analogy, cold calling is the initial approach to the other person. It’s the all-important opening line. It’s the one-chance-only first impression (no food in your teeth, right?).
And, very often, there’s not even a real person involved.
All the cold call planning, all the scripting, all the building up courage … and you get voicemail. Ugh. Letdown City. What now?
Here’s where many cold calls go off the rails. Kind of like a nervous suitor asking their secret crush out on a date, many sales reps start talking … and talking … and talking.
It’s their one chance, they tell themselves. I must make clear that what I’m selling is so great, so compelling, they’ll be dying to call back. I have to get it all in! This is it!
Well, no. As touched on in my last article, a successful voicemail message isn’t about length. It’s about substance. Pique curiosity, provide incentive to call back, and hang up. That’s all.
Let’s return to the dating analogy. You’re a guy, you’re out somewhere, and you spot an attractive woman you’d like to meet. It’s the epitome of a social cold call. What’s the best approach?
You could walk up, say you’re madly in love with her … and launch into an impassioned 15-minute soliloquy about your future together, how many kids you’ll have, and how even Romeo and Juliet would be jealous of the crazy love you’ll share.
Think your chances are good? Or is this maybe just a bit too strong?
You could try a different approach. You notice she’s wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey. So, you walk up, compliment her on her exquisite taste in sports teams … and ask if she’d like to have a cup of coffee sometime to talk about football, or perhaps other topics.
My nickname was never “Casanova,” but I’m betting on the second option.
A successful cold calling voicemail follows this same principle. You’re not trying to close a sale. Heck, you don’t even want to let on that the call is sales related.
How do you leave this momentous message?
- First, understand that, by asking the message recipient for a return call, you’re requesting a big favor. They don’t even know you. A return call takes time and effort on their part. Better be on your “A” game to spur a response.
- Play defense. The moment you sound like a salesperson, you’re sunk.
- State what the call is about. However, don’t reveal the ending. Think “movie trailer.”
- Be a good storyteller … but be brief. Leave them wanting more. Make them say “I can’t afford to not return this call.”
Which usually comes first on a date: Holding hands, or a kiss? Think of a voicemail message as cautiously extending your hand. The kiss can come later. For now, you just need that first contact … and it has to be done right.
My next article will explain how to create a successful voicemail script. The message is everything – and the less, the better. Regardless of your success in dating, you can succeed in cold calling. Given the similarities, maybe one can even help with the other.