Cold Calling: Rumors of Its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Kraig Kleeman, Author, A Winning Brand: How to Build a Powerful, Personal Brand in Today's Modern, Digital World
Sales professionals of the world, I see you back there, lurking behind your email. Come on out, so we can have a talk. I know why you’re hiding. After all, quite a few thought leaders in the sales industry say that cold calling is dead. They say we should restrict all our sales activity to the digital world, like email and social media selling. Sellers have started to hide behind their emails and their social media selling, and they are abandoning the strongest weapon in their arsenal: the telephone. Now, I’m not trying to devalue digital practices. I strongly believe in them. But, as effective as they can be, cold calling is still one of the best things a sales professional can do to win business.
Even though cold calling can be daunting, it doesn’t need to be a source of anxiety, and it should never be avoided. Speaking to someone on the phone adds a more personal and more “real” touch than an email, and you might discover a common connection that you can use to build rapport and, ideally, a relationship.
Why do I believe so strongly in the telephone?
- Selling as a profession is inherently personalized.
- People want to buy from people they like and trust.
- A lot of digital media outreach de-personalizes an industry that works best when it is personalized.
The key to effective cold calling is to implement an exceptional sales process. Even if you’re not a naturally silver-tongued seller like Zig Ziglar, an exceptional sales process can help you and your team achieve exceptional results. Here are three of the reproducible tips, tactics, and techniques from my successful Must- React System that can help you crush your quotas:
Tip #1 - Kill the Easy Outs
My research has shown that some of the language that sellers use actually hinders them, even though they think it’s going to help them. I refer to that language as “easy out” language. An example of “easy out” language is when you as a seller call a target and say, “Do you have a minute?” or “Is this a good time for you?”
You’re asking those questions to be polite, but it’s what I call politeness at the expense of persuasion. Questions like those give the buyer an easy out. It’s all too easy for the buyer to say, “No, I’m busy, this isn’t a good time.” To be honest, who has time for a cold call? And the result is that your call is over before it really begins.
There is a way to be polite but also avoid giving the target an opening to get off the phone. We asked our sellers to replace those questions with simply “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” For example, “Hi Bob, this is Kraig Kleeman with XYZ Company. Good morning.” The approach is still friendly and courteous but avoids the trap of politeness at the expense of persuasion. It eliminates those easy outs and gives you a chance to move forward in the conversation.
Tip #2 – Lose the sales stench
What is sales stench? It’s when a person communicates in such a way that he / she “smells” like a sales person. Sales stench manifests in a variety of ways. The most obvious manifestation is in the way a person talks. Some research studies indicate that tone represents 80% of what is communicated, especially via telephone. The study cites examples where tone dictated a person’s response to a request or command more powerfully than the words themselves.
It is crucial that your tone remains authoritative but not bossy, and enthused but not so hyped that it’s out of step with the corporate culture. When I do personal coaching with folks, I often spend a good amount of time helping them perfect their voice. It isn’t an easy thing to do. But it will pay off in your sales career. I would advise that you make some recordings of yourself when you are talking to a new client on the phone and then spend some time listening to them critically. Try to think about what your tone is communicating just as much as your words.
Tip #3 – Use reasonable deadlines
Scheduling any kind of call, from an initial meeting to a proposal review or product demonstration or agreement submission, ought to always include a deadline. Avoid getting the brush-off with a vague “I’ll get back to you.” Setting a reasonable, rational deadline will ensure follow-up action in response.
As a seller, I encourage you to come out from behind your email and embrace the power of effective cold calling. If you devote yourself to learning these and other tips, tricks, and tactics, you’ll be well on your way to surpassing your quotas and building personalized relationships with your buyers.
[Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
About the Author
Kraig Kleeman is founder & host of KraigKleemanTV, the world's most powerful sales enablement and personal motivation YouTube Channel. He is the author of international #1 best seller, A Winning Brand: How to Build a Powerful, Personal Brand in Today's Modern, Digital World. Until proven differently, Kraig is the The World's Greatest Cold Caller.