How smart would it be if, just before the gun went off to commence the race, a runner strapped lead weights to her ankles? How intelligent would it be for a contractor who needed to hang dry wall first put a sleeping mask over his eyes? Finally, how ingenious would it be for a radio show host to, just seconds before he were to go on the air, take a huge bite out of a peanut butter sandwich?
I think any reasonable person could agree that in all of these examples, the individuals in question would not only be doing themselves no favors, they would be committing an incredible disservice and would make the successful outcomes they are hoping for that much more difficult to reach. Basically, they have lost before they even started.
The same is true for 95% of sales people that engage in the practice of cold calling during their daily routine. Cold calling is hard enough in a perfect scenario, let alone when one commits an unforced error and makes their job even more difficult than it has to be. Just about every cold call is over before it starts due to the first few words out of our mouths right from the onset.
Imagine your best friend calls you on your cell phone. You look down at the caller ID and you see her name and elect to take the call. When you give your greeting, you hear her say the words “Hi, my name is Heidi Johnson, how are you today?” What would you be thinking about at that time? What types of thoughts would be going through your mind?
Speaking only for myself, I would wonder if my best friend had been around too many magic markers over the course of the past few days and lost her senses. Of course I know who she is! She is my best friend and we have spent countless hours together over the past few years. She is someone who needs no introduction and, in my mind, is crazy for even offering one.
In my opinion, most sales professionals lose out on a potential sale, meeting, or opportunity for conversation because they say the three worst words a cold caller can ever utter: “My. Name. Is.”
Think about it! If I know you, value you, like you, and have met you before, you would not need to introduce yourself to me because I would already have a recollection of who you are, where you work, and what you do.
With that being said, the absolute reverse is true if I have never met you. When you utter the dreaded words “My name is…” I immediately start thinking that we don’t know each other, we have never met, we have never had a conversation before, and that this is the first time that you are introducing yourself to me.
Why would someone whom I have never met and never had a conversation with be calling me clear out of the blue on a Tuesday afternoon? More often than not, it’s to sell me something!
Therefore, before you have even gotten a few words out of your mouth, my mind switches from amiable individual answering my phone out of curiosity at the number that I don’t recognize, to a person willing to do whatever I can to get you off the phone. I have not given you a chance to introduce yourself, tell me about your company, the services you provide, nor how you can bring value to my life, which you most likely probably could!
Rather than starting off a cold call with the dreaded phrase of “My name is…” what if you open with “Hello Dan! Paul Neuberger how are you?” Think about if you were greeted by a phone call with that opening line. Now what are you thinking about? I would be thinking, among other things, “Where have I heard that name before?” and “He sounds like he knows me and I don’t want to sound like an idiot so I will play along until I figure out who he is.”
That is exactly where you want to have the prospect on the other line! Rather than working feverishly to get rid of you and end the call, he is working feverishly to try to figure out how he knows you. He is also working feverishly to not look stupid if you know who he is and he doesn’t know you. This dramatic shift in mindset affords the salesperson the time he needs to get a foot in the door and continue on with the rest of his call.
Believe it or not, over the course of the past year I have developed a 98.6% cold call success rate. Because of the success that I have had, I created my business, Cold Call Coach, LLC (www.coldcallcoach.net) to help sales professionals increase their efficiency and effectiveness on the phone, thereby resulting in more sales, centers of influence, and opportunities for growth.
Happy cold calling, my friends!