For many of you reading this, you are dead on arrival the minute you open your mouth on a cold call. It is not because you are a bad person, do not have something of value to offer, or aren’t a contributing member to your community, but because you are saying the wrong things from the get-go.
I believe it is true that you only have a finite amount of time to make a compelling case for yourself and, if you botch the opportunity, you will never get that chance again. Although I resolutely believe that there are several ways to penetrate the bureaucracy and get inside the organization you want, you only have one opportunity with each person, so we need to make the initial effort count.
It is astonishing how quickly the prospect on the other end makes up his mind regarding our intentions based upon what we say in those initial few seconds.
Do you sound like a sales person? Are you leading with who you are as a professional? Are you opening with information pertaining to your mission as an organization? These are recipes for disaster and should be avoided at all costs.
Let’s do some imagining for one second. It is a Tuesday afternoon and your day has been non-stop busy. You have attended several obligatory meetings, managed to get out that massive RFP, have been responding to the occasional texts about the family from your spouse, and missed lunch due to the demands on your time.
The phone on your desk rings and, without thinking about it, you pick-up reflexively, give your standard greeting, and hear one of the following four responses:
- “Hi Joe, my name is Paul Neuberger. How are you today?”
- “Hi Joe! Paul Neuberger here from The Cold Call Coach. How are you?”
- “Well, hey there Joe! Paul Neuberger, sales trainer. How are you doing?”
- “Good afternoon Joe! Paul Neuberger. I wanted to speak with you to see if you were content with your current cold call success rate.”
How the duration of the cold call proceeds from this point on is completely irrelevant. Your mind has been made up as to who I am, why I am calling, what my intentions are, and whether you have any interest in the balance of the call.
One of two things are likely to happen. Knowing that you have had a crazy busy day and are underwater as it currently is, you might interrupt me, stop me in my tracks, and politely tell me, “No thanks”.
Or, knowing that many individuals in society are too polite to cut sales people off, you may let me talk, but mentally you checked out right away. You are hearing my sounds, but you are not listening to my words. You let me finish, but then you reverentially demur by saying, “No thanks.”
Why did you assume that the four greeting options that I provided were from a sales person? What was it about the first few words out of my mouth that instantly turned you off and prompted you to check-out mentally?
If you are like the overwhelming majority of sales professionals, you are failing to pique curiosity and buy yourself time on the initial cold call because you are doing one of four things:
“My name is…”
Starting your script with the words “My name is…” is like waving a giant red banner for all to see that reads: “I am a sales person! Proceed at your own risk!” Have you ever thought about what those three words mean?
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If I knew you already, why would I have to introduce myself? If I receive a call from an unregistered number made by a person I have never heard of representing an organization that I am not familiar with and this person is telling me that we have never had a conversation, what kind of call is it likely to be?
A sales call!
The reason for your call
I believe the single greatest way to pique curiosity in a cold call is to treat your approach like a movie trailer. There are certain things that a movie trailer does well to generate interest and get us to go back to the box office to buy a ticket. Can you think of some off the top of your head?
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One of the things that no movie trailer does is give the ending of the movie in the preview. Think about it! Who would pay their hard-earned money to go see something when they already know how it ends?
If you are telling people why you are calling within the first one or two sentences, you are committing the same malpractice!
The organization you represent
Individuals will normally lead with what is most important and relevant to a conversation. If within the first 10 seconds of our initial dialogue I am referencing the organization I represent and the services we provide, what must that mean for the balance of the call?
It sends a loud and clear signal that what I do professionally and where I work is incredibly relevant to the next few words that come out of my mouth. If what I do and where I work is incredibly relevant to the cold call, what type of call must this be?
A sales call!
Your job title
Although not as obvious as where you work, identifying yourself by your professional role and responsibilities is just as damning. I may not tell you which firm I work with, but if I lead with the fact that I am a Certified Financial Advisor, does that still give you an indicationof what my call must be about?
If a realtor owns a car and wants to get her oil changed, would she mention the fact that she is a realtor when she calls to schedule the appointment? If a financial advisor owns a dog and wants to take his yellow lab to the vet for his annual check-up, will he mention the fact that he is a financial advisor when he schedules this appointment?
Of course, not! It would be ludicrous to do so because it is not relevant to the duration of the call. You are making it relevant by leading with it; therefore, the prospect on the other end naturally concludes that you are calling in a sales capacity and becomes disinterested very quickly.
This is not to say that this information shouldn’t be placed strategically within the confines of the script somewhere else, but it is positively critical to avoid leading your call with this self-incriminating information.
I find that most people save the best parts of their cold call script for the very end and are confident that, if only they can get to that portion of the script, they will incentivize whomever they speak with to schedule an appointment and get to know them better.
They are shocked and discouraged, however, when they find that they never even get a chance to get to that portion of the script.
They are hung-up on. They are cut-off and told “now is not a good time”. They can proceed with the entire script, but the person on the other end has already checked-out and is no longer listening to anything that comes out of your mouth.
Your only objectives in the first 10 seconds of the cold call are to do the following: pique curiosity and buy time.
If you can successfully pique curiosity, the prospect will willingly want to learn more and will invite you to proceed.
If you succeed in buying time, with each few seconds you can accumulate, you are getting closer and closer to not only getting to the best parts of your script, but getting through your entire message uninterrupted.
Whether you know it or not, you are killing yourself while cold calling because you are stumbling out of the gates, reeking like a sales person, and are never able to regain your footing and recover.
If you can clean up your introduction, avoid sounding like a sales person, and stay away from the risks associated with self-incrimination, watch how the time you are given in a call and the attention span of the prospect rises accordingly.
Want more detailed information on not only how to make your introduction better, but your entire script, as well? Want to implement several proven, successful strategies for piquing curiosity throughout the duration of the call? Contact us today at 414-313-8338 or email@example.com and let us show you how easy it is to extend your life expectancy on all your calls.