Cold calling does not have the best reputation, and this for understandable reasons.
Reason 1: Nobody wants to be called without notice. Even I, as a salesperson, am usually annoyed when someone calls me unannounced at an inappropriate time. And that’s even though as a salesperson, I’m much more receptive to receiving good cold calls than the average person.
Reason 2: Nobody wants to be disturbed. Those who cold call by phone will inevitably interrupt people during other tasks or activities.
Reason 3: Dishonest sales tactics. Many salespeople still use completely outdated and dubious sales techniques.
Reason 4: Inefficient. In a digital age, cold calls seem inefficient. A salesperson spends only a small portion of their workday actually closing deals. Preparing the cold call, then actually getting a decision maker on the phone, and following up with that contact takes a lot of time.
Reason 5: Finite. If sales stops working, no new leads will be generated.
So, why cold calling?
Quite simply: it works!
With the right approach and technique, cold calling by phone, even in our digital age with email, text messages and social media, cold calling can work better than any cold email.
What are the advantages of a phone call over other modern means of acquisition?
- Immediate feedback: On the phone, you can instantly react based on the tone of voice and response of the interlocutor. You can immediately estimate, what interests he has and also which problems he is facing.
- Direction of the conversation: Through the immediate feedback on the phone, we can react and direct the conversation in our desired direction.
- Personal Connection: A face-to-face interaction – whether in person, via video meeting, or by phone – is the most powerful and influential form of customer engagement. Through voice, pronunciation, and a conversation, we create an instant personal connection, which is not possible through text.
The First 4 Seconds
In my experience, for cold calling to really work, it’s not so much the words you choose that are crucial, but primarily your tone of voice, i.e., how you pronounce and emphasize certain words and phrases.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the friendly lady in the switchboard, the stubborn secretary of the decision maker, or the decision maker himself:
In the first four seconds of the greeting, it must be clear to the person on the other end that he or she is not dealing with just another idiot on the phone, but with a real expert.
For this, it is crucial that you communicate to your interlocutor within the first seconds the following over that your voice:
- You are extremely enthusiastic: This signals to the other person that you really have something great to offer.
- You’re a smart expert (and not a complete idiot): If your counterpart doesn’t immediately get the sense that you’re blazingly smart, they’ll think they’re just wasting their valuable time with you on the phone.
- You are an authority figure: A personality that people respect. From a young age, people are taught to respect and listen to authority figures.
These three points communicate one important fact: You are a person who can help the person you are talking to solve their problems and achieve their goals.
Words are not enough to convey this in the first four seconds. The absolutely most important way to convey these three things is tonality – that is, how you use your voice to emphasize certain words and phrases.
People can be specifically influenced and controlled by how elegantly and effectively, we use certain patterns of tone.
By emphasizing words and phrases differently, they take on a wholly different meaning.
- Do we emphasize a sentence quietly and softly, or enthusiastically and loudly?
- Do we emphasize a word at the beginning, or at the end?
- Do we consciously use pauses?
Certain voice tones control the inner dialogue of the other person, which we can use to control the thoughts of our conversation partner.
Body language is also indispensable on the phone because a confident posture and a smile can be heard in the voice.
However, body language is much more than gestures, facial expressions, or how sincerely you stand.
- How do you move through the room?
- Are you frantic or calm?
- Do you maintain eye contact?
- How do you dress?
- Do you feel confident?
By mastering both your tone and body language, you create rapport, that is, a close connection with the person you are talking to. By creating rapport, our interlocutor feels “in tune” or “on the same wavelength” with us; the best state to be in to sell successfully.
If you consider yourself a very introverted person, and you generally find it rather difficult to communicate with people, I recommend that you look for a Toastmasters Club in your city. There you will learn impromptu speeches, sales pitches and much more in a very intimate atmosphere with like-minded people.
May I Get Straight to the Point?
In the first four seconds, we must clarify that we are enthusiastic, sharp, and a real authority figure.
Because in four seconds we can only speak a few words, we must deliberately use our voice and intentionally emphasize the words enthusiastically, energetically.
“Hello, Mr. Peterson! My name is Marius Schober from [COMPANY].”
“May I get straight to the point, why I’m calling you?”
Again, in the first four seconds, with the help of our voice, we must convey enthusiasm and professionalism. This is the most important point for starting a successful cold call!
To achieve this, we emphasize the last syllable or the end of each word in the first two sentences.
”Helló, Mr. Petersón!!! My namé is Mariús Schobér from COMPÁNY.”
In the second sentence, we literally say that we are professional and want to get to the point. By also pronouncing it quickly, briskly and snappily (almost in one piece), we make even more clear that we are getting to the point and that we have no time to waste.
“May I get straight to the point, why I’m calling you?”
The typical answer to the question in 99.9% of cases is a smiling, “Yeah sure, please”. This means that by asking for the permission of the person we are calling, we are getting their consent to continue the phone call. In addition, we get a first, psychologically important “yes”.
“Perféct!” is also stressed on the last syllable and pronounced with joy, enthusiastically, powerfully, smilingly.
Tonality is by far the most significant mean to influence and convince other people!
The Mental Image
In case you’re wondering why this 4-second rule is so damn important, every person you call has an image of you in front of their eyes within the first few seconds. Whether you like it or not, every person evaluates you within seconds and pigeonholes you based on your accent, voice, energy, etc.
If you don’t immediately convince this person that you are enthusiastic, sharp as a tack, and professional, what image does he have before his eyes?
Probably the image of an annoying salesman who isn’t even worth the time to listen to!
Four seconds don’t sound like much?
When you meet a person in person, that person forms an opinion about you within a few milliseconds. Based on how you look, your charisma and attitude, you are pigeonholed in less than a second and from then on, you have to spend great effort to get out of that pigeonhole.
In both face-to-face conversations and phone conversations, your voice, your appearance, your charisma, and your posture are incredibly important. Yes, even on the phone! The person you’re talking to can hear from your voice whether you’re lying on the sofa in a jogging suit or standing confidently at your desk in your suit.
What You Should NEVER Say
One sentence you should never start a phone call with, and with which you immediately lose your credibility as an expert, is the following:
”Is this a good time to talk?”
Or any other variation of the same question:
- “Are you available right now?”
- “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
- “Do you have a minute right now?”
Why would you never ask that?
First, he answered the phone! That means:
- We don’t seem to be bothering him so much that he turned off his phone, didn’t answer it, or withheld our call.
- Apparently he has time to talk on the phone, or he wouldn’t have answered the phone.
- If the timing of the issue is terrible, he will let us know and tell us a better time to talk.
- Apparently, the person has a minute to talk on the phone. By asking, we are already wasting 20 seconds of that valuable minute.
- If the timing is really bad, or we disturb him with our call, then the person usually won’t answer the phone at all.
Second, What do you do when he says “No”?
By asking him this question, we automatically lose control of our phone call.
Your priority should be to get to the point in the first 30 seconds by enthusiastically convincing him that we are a sharp as a tack and an expert which can help him solve his problems and achieve his goals.
We get to the heart of the reason for our call in one or two sentences. Afterwards, the person called can assess for himself whether now is a good time or not.
Does that Sound Interesting?
We then summarize the reason for the call and put it in a nutshell:
“We are a German software company specialized in the logistics industry. We help long-distance forwarders to plan cargo up to 16% more efficiently and routes up to 24% more efficiently within only 2 months, resulting in cost savings of 30% on average.”
Of course, this is just one example.
However, this passage is pronounced more quietly and slowly!
In this way, we achieve a contrast to the energetic and enthusiastic opening of the conversation, and a mysterious and exciting mood is created.
“Does that sound interesting?”
After arousing our counterpart’s curiosity with this calm and professionally spoken paragraph, we emphasize “Does that sound interesting?” again enthusiastically, in a good mood, smiling and louder!
By asking this short question, we again give our counterpart the impression of leading the conversation, and we get to know how relevant the topic is for him.
The Right Person To Talk To
If you are not one hundred percent sure whether this person is also the right decision-maker for this topic, you should additionally ask:
“As far as this topic is concerned, am I first of all in the right place with you as a person?”
In this way, you can ensure that you have actually reached the right person, and you avoid the situation where this person merely acts as an intermediary between you and the actual decision-maker.
If you are with the wrong person, he or she will usually be happy to refer you to the actual right person because he or she has immediately noticed that we are enthusiastic, sharp, and professional, i.e., someone he or she can pass on to his or her colleague with a good conscience.
If the person does not proactively name the right contact person, you actively ask who the correct contact person is and how you can reach them directly (extension + email address).
Depending on the situation, it can make sense to ask this question even if we are already sure we are with the right decision-maker. Because if you are right, this person typically proudly answers with “Yes, you are right with me”. Moreover, this is another psychologically important “yes”.
A Quick Question
If you talk to the right person, he will usually talk openly about what is on his mind, how relevant the topic is in the company and what his plans might be.
As soon as he has finished, you say:
→ Optimistic, happy, enthusiastic, loud emphasis!
Then we get his permission once again to continue the exciting conversation:
”A quick question about that, is that okay?”
→ emphasize curiously, quietly, almost mysteriously!
No one, as far as in the conversation, will reply to “a short question” with “No”.
In doing so, we give our counterpart a certain amount of control over the telephone conversation, but without giving up our control ourselves.
Now that our interlocutor has given us permission to ask a question, the next step is to fully understand his or her situation by asking specific questions.
Even if you realize that your product or solution fits perfectly his described situation or problem, you still do not mention or sell your solution with a single word!
It is all about understanding the person and his situation.
Especially when you start out, you’ll probably think to yourself, “Oh God, I can’t ask that many questions, I would rather not interrogate my interviewer.”
However, if you talk to the right decision maker, who has a genuine interest in your solution or service, and he already noticed that you are enthusiastic, sharp, and professional, he will usually be happy and open to answer all your questions. Often he already shares a lot about his situation, his problems, and the solution he is looking for without us asking a single question.
From the Big Picture to the Specific.
Questions should begin in general terms and only become more specific as the conversation progresses.
In other words, we want to know the big picture first:
- Where is he?
- What is his current situation?
- Where does he want to go?
- What is his ultimate goal?
Only then do we want to understand what his specific problems are:
- What’s holding him back?
- Where does he need support?
- What is his biggest problem?
- What solution does he need?
If we have positioned ourselves successfully as an absolute expert, he will openly respond to all our questions.
Examples of Qualifying Questions
- Have you heard of [TOPIC]? Is this something you are familiar with?
- Have you already committed to a specific [TYPE] software/technology in the company?
- Do you already have a specific software in use?
- How is it currently solved in your company?
- When it comes to [TOPIC], which features are most important to you?
- What should be the functional scope of the solution?
- What would you like to see different or better in the solutions currently available on the market?
- What functionalities are you missing from the vendor [COMPETITOR])?
- What is currently your biggest headache as it relates to [TOPIC]?
- What is currently giving you trouble?
- Why is [PROCESS/PROJECT] taking longer than planned?
- What is your ultimate goal when it comes to successful implementation of your project?
- What would your ideal solution look like?
- How do you envision the ideal (software) partner?
Most Important Factor
- What is particularly important to you in this area and what points are indispensable for you when implementing such a solution externally?
- Have we not yet talked about an important point / detail?
You will find more examples of qualifying sample questions in a later section.
Up to this point, we have already spent several minutes, in some cases already ten minutes, on the phone with our prospect without having sold, offered or even mentioned your software.
What we have achieved so far:
- We have convinced him that we are a real expert: enthusiastic, sharp as a tack, and professional.
- We have gained a clear picture of his current situation and needs, and our prospect feels that he can trust us, and he knows that we want to help him.
Does what he described fit our solution like a glove? Perfect!
“Well, after everything you just told me, it sounds like our solution would be a perfect fit for you!”
The emphasis in this sentence is again enthusiastic, happy, optimistic!
We remind him: we are enthusiastic. We are clever. We are professional. We listened to him, and we really understood his situation.
As soon as we mention that it sounds like our solution is a perfect fit, he perks up and is eager to hear what we have to offer in the first place.
Depending on the situation, it can be helpful to additionally ask:
**”Got a minute?” **
No one who is this far into the conversation and is pretty sure he is interested in what we have to offer is going to respond to the question with_”no”_. So, once again, we have asked for his permission to proceed with the conversation.
What follows is very individual and depends on what he has revealed in the previous minutes about himself, his company, problems, and needs.
You have to weigh in real time which of your features to present and in what order.
- The arguments must fit HIS situation
- You do NOT have to present ALL the great features of your product or service, but ONLY the relevant ones that solve his problem or meet his need.
Small and Big Guns
We divide our arguments into two categories based on his individual situation:
- Small Guns: Small, but relevant arguments and features.
- Big Guns: The – for our prospect – most important, relevant and valuable features and arguments.
The power and relevance of the arguments should steadily increase as the pitch progresses.
You start with weaker arguments and work towards the best and strongest arguments.
People remember best what was said last!
If we mention our best arguments right at the beginning, and the less relevant arguments at the end, the person will only remember the weaker and less relevant arguments. In doing so, he will forget the points that are actually critical and relevant for him.
If, on the other hand, we state our best arguments at the end, our prospect will keep these in mind and every time he thinks about his problem, he will think about the relevant, unique and best features of our solution, which solves his particular problem.
Besides, there are some people who try with all their strength to disprove the arguments of the seller. If you have to deal with such a candidate, let them invalidate your weakest arguments so that you can convince them with your best and most relevant arguments.
Before your cold call, be sure to prepare a standard list of arguments. A list of your small guns and a list of your big guns, which you print out and put next on your desk.
Which arguments you will use from the list you have prepared will then depend greatly on the conversation: what has he revealed about himself? What are his concerns? What does he need?
Never introduce features that are completely irrelevant to the customer!
What you must avoid at all costs is to introduce functions and features that are completely irrelevant and uninteresting for the customer.
Even if these features are important to you personally because you and your company have worked on these features for a long time, you should focus solely on what is important to your customer.
If you introduce him to features that are completely uninteresting to him, you will quickly lose the previously good relationship with him!
To close – which could be scheduling a face-to-face appointment or selling your product over the phone – we test the customer’s interest, by asking:
“Does this sound interesting to you? “
To which he responds either:
- with a clear yes,
- a specific question,
- or a no / an objection.
If he answers with a clear yes or with a very specific question, we suggest an appointment (or come to close the sale, if that is your goal):
“Before I talk much more, when does it suit you for a meeting at your site (/ a video meeting)? This way I can demonstrate you the software, specifically address your question, and we can see most easily whether the solution really suits your needs?”.
A Worst-Case Scenario? 20 Minutes
If you have a very busy manager or a very reserved person on the phone, it can be helpful to ask additionally, after a brief pause:
“A quick question, is that okay? “
“Yeah, sure, go ahead.”
“What could be the worst-case scenario if we take 20-minutes, during which I show you how we’ve helped other companies achieve X, Y, and Z, and how we can help you achieve similar results? “
“What’s the worst-case scenario that could happen? “
The answer then, likely, is:
“Nothing, in the very worst case we lost some time.”
X, Y and Z are the most important goals, which the prospect revealed in the earlier part of the conversation.
Time As A Reason
No one wants their time to be wasted. The fear of wasting time during product demonstrations is often the biggest concern, especially for very busy C-level decision makers.
“Unfortunately, the timing is really bad right now, I don’t really have time to deal with this. Can’t you send it to me in writing?”
That’s precisely the reason we can use this “aspect” of time and turn it from a concern to THE reason the person should have an appointment with us.
“I hear you. Saving time is the primary reason our clients seek the consultation with us. Instead of you spending hours looking at documentation and our website, you talk to an absolute expert from our team, we go over your specific situation in as little as 20 minutes, answer your personal questions. We can immediately address how we can customize the solution to meet your specific needs. “
It’s best to suggest a specific appointment right away,or ask how it fits on a specific day in a specific week.
“For a short meeting, what days of the week usually suit you best?”
“How does next Thursday, at 2:30 p.m., suit you in Pittsburgh?”
Once you’ve figured out an appointment, don’t forget to ask for the email address:
“Great! Then we’ll see you on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at your place in Pittsburgh. To which e-mail address can I send you my contact details and an invitation to the appointment?”
No Appointments via Email
You should never leave the interview without having arranged an appointment by phone. One can quickly find oneself in the situation where one says, “I’ll email you my contact information, and then we’ll find an appointment together.”
If you have someone on the phone, you should never do the scheduling by email.
Because when we try to find an appointment by email, it is quite likely that our email will get lost in his overcrowded inbox, thus creating tedious follow-ups for you. In the end, you will have to call the person again and then schedule an appointment by phone in the second attempt. We can avoid this “extra round”.
The Action Threshold
It will happen very rarely that you call a person and without questions, without objections and without hesitation, they agree with you on everything and buy from you.
Most people, on the other hand, will raise objections about why the price is too high, why the budget for the quarter is already used up, and why it is currently a bad time.
That someone raises objections is normal and happens even if the customer knows inside: “I want to buy the product and I should buy the product”.
Objections are usually not a factual criticism of your product or service itself, but usually a sign that this person has a certain action threshold which prevents them from buying something. Only in really rare cases is an objection a “rock-solid fact”, i.e. a real reason why the person cannot or should not buy your product or service.
Often, the action threshold and the associated objections are the expression of a person’s negative beliefs.
Indeed, people are brought up from an early age with the belief that selling is a bad thing: “Never buy anything from strangers!”
For this reason, the majority of people do not want to be sold something just like that. No matter if the person actually wants to buy the solution or not.
Basically, everyone has a certain action threshold, but it is different for each person.
The action threshold can be thought of as an obstacle in show jumping or hurdling. For each person, this hurdle is at a different level and we have to overcome it first in order to be able to sell something to this person at all.
For salespeople, for example, the action threshold is rather low because we have understood that selling something and having something good sold to us is not a bad thing per se. We see the clear added value of a product or service and are thus very easily convinced.
For many people, however, this action threshold is much higher. The action threshold often consists of a bunch of negative beliefs, which we have to invalidate in the sales conversation through emotional arguments, logic and constant repetition in order to lower the action threshold so low that the person is willing to make the purchase decision.
In other words, we lower the hurdle further and further until, with the person holding our hand, we can jump over this hurdle.
The potential customer’s action threshold can also be thought of as a scale:
- On the left side of the scale is everything positive (good things that will happen when the decision is made).
- On the right side of the scale is everything negative (bad things that will happen when the decision is made).
Your job as a salesperson is to invalidate all the negative points and throw them off the scale so that the balance tips to the positive.
An action threshold is often recognized by a “Yes, but …” For example:
“Yes, but … “
- Yes, but our budget for this quarter is already exhausted.
- Yes, but we really don’t have time to deal with new software at the moment.
- Yes, but we are quite happy with our current solution.
We rebut objections by acknowledging them and emphatically asking:
“I UNDERSTAND what you are saying! But let me ask you a question. Does this idea make sense to you in general? “
If it is an action threshold, your interlocutor will reply:
“Yeah sure, it all makes sense!”
Because we have encountered an objection, we take a step back to re-enter our argument and make it clear:
- Why we are the best person for him to work with.
- Why our company is the best company
- Why we have the best products that solve his specific problems
- How we can help him achieve his goals
So we don’t try to overcome the hurdle yet, but we take the customer by the hand, go back a few steps to lower the hurdle first by targeted arguments.
The Straight Line
Think of each sale as a straight line, with a starting point and an ending point.
The starting point is the moment you pick up the phone. The end point is the successful closing of the sale.
The straight line reflects the perfect sale with a customer who agrees with you and buys your product immediately without objections.
Your goal is to stay as close to the straight line as possible throughout the sale and not deviate too far from the line.
If you encounter an objection, you will encounter a hurdle on the straight line, which you must first overcome to close the sale.
Imagine standing on the straight line, taking a step back to re-enter the argument.
Because you take a step back, and then move back along the straight line towards closing the sale with new arguments, we can also describe this step as a loop. Especially because we repeat this argumentation, with each objection, until really all objections are solved and the action threshold is so low that the person can cross the hurdle and thus is ready to close the sale.
To better understand when and how often we need to loop on the straight line, to successfully close a sale, Jordan Belfort introduced the 10-out-of-10 concept.
For someone to buy from you, they must, on a scale of 1 to 10:
- Rate your offering (product or service) a 10 out of 10,
- rate you as a person and seller with a 10 out of 10,
- rate your company with a 10 out of 10.
If you are not getting anywhere in the sale, the fault lies in one of these three scales: either your potential customer is not yet completely convinced of your product, of you as a person or of your company.
So, should you encounter objections or defensiveness, take a step back and, through targeted repetition, sell your product, yourself as a person and your company over and over again until your customer rates all three with a 10 out of 10!
- If you encounter an objection, you take a step back, loop around, and sell him again on your product and why it is the best product for his specific situation.
- If you encounter another objection, you loop back and emphasize the integrity and vision of your company.
- If you encounter another objection, you go back, loop, and explain why you are the best and most honest person from whom he can buy.
The Objection Cheat Sheet
Similar to how a guide helps you cold call, an objection cheat sheet helps you when it comes to mastering objections from potential customers.
You can create such an objection cheat sheet by opening a blank document and writing down the 25 biggest objections you constantly encounter in the acquisition process and then answering all 25 objections in a maximum of three sentences.
Then ask your colleagues and friends for feedback on the answers and, if satisfactory, print out this objection cheat sheet and internalize the answers.
This way, in the future, you will be able to respond to the most important objections with confidence and without hesitation.
Typical objections include:
- That is too expensive
- I have to discuss this with my boss/consultant/wife/partner
- I would like to, but now is a bad time
- I need more information
- I would like to look at it first
- My boss is killing me
- I need to familiarize myself with the subject
What you should keep in mind, however, is that very few objections arise on a factual level. Your interlocutor is probably not dealing with your offer and the functionalities of your product on a factual level at all during the conversation.
It is not enough to argue and answer on a logical and factual level. Often there are emotional reasons or negative beliefs that prevent the person from buying from you. Perhaps they have had a bad experience with a salesperson before or have simply been told by their parents not to buy from salespeople. It can also be fear of being manipulated or deceived or fear of hidden follow-up costs. It may also simply be his lunch in front of him, which is getting colder by the second, leading to a dismissive attitude.
It is not uncommon for the customer to think, “I want to buy it, I should buy it, but …”
The job of you as a salesperson is to locate this negative “but” and eradicate it through targeted looping and the 10-of-10 method.
Missing features as an objection
Especially if you sell software, a missing feature is a common objection.
Your task with a specific objection, like the request for a new feature, is to find out how important this feature really is, i.e. if it is a real objection or again an action threshold.
Initially, I often made the mistake of responding as follows:
- “Currently we don’t have that feature yet, but it’s already in our development pipeline”
- “We don’t have this feature because … (excuse or explanation)”
- “Currently we don’t have the feature yet, but I am discussing it in the team. I’m sure we can implement it.”
However, these answers are wrong!
The best way to clarify missing features is from a developer’s perspective. The best way to respond to an objection regarding a missing feature is to ask the following counter question:
“We don’t have that feature right now. Can you tell me why you need it and how exactly you plan to use it? “
With this counter-question, you will elegantly find out what the customer specifically needs the feature for and what the use case is.
In dialog, you will understand the customer’s workflow and needs, so that you can offer a workaround if necessary, or – if the suggestion makes sense to many other customers as well – actually discuss it with the team.
In the conversation, you’ll also realize how important the feature actually is. And best of all, if the feature is just an objection, i.e. an action threshold, your conversation partner will also realize that the feature may not be that important.
If you come across someone who intentionally asks very critical questions about features that are deliberately not feasible at all or only feasible with a great deal of effort, it’s best to answer this person with a counter-question as well:
“I think it’s good that you ask this question, because this is really important to some of our customers. In which use cases do you see this functionality and what is particularly important to you here?”
By returning the question, we learn his background, why he is asking this critical question, what he is actually getting at, and what is important to him.
Checking for the close
Signs that your customer is ready to close the sale may include:
- Specific questions about price, further details, or delivery,
- A sudden friendliness,
- Signals via body language such as a touch on the chin (the person is thinking about closing).
Once you sense such a sign, try to close the sale.
You can probe this close by asking, for example:
“Does this idea make sense to you? “
“Yeah sure, it makes sense so far.”
“Then let’s move on to the next step. We will send you an offer (/framework agreement) today. Is that okay? “
Other ways to ask for closure include:
- “Now that all the issues have been resolved: Do we do business?”
- “Then I suggest we meet next week and you get your own idea of the solution. When is convenient for you: for example, Wednesday?”
- “Then I suggest we move on to the next definite step! What do you think?”
If the customer isn’t ready and voices another objection, it’s your job to take a step back, loop around, and once again sell yourself, your product, and your company until all three, in your customer’s mind, are a 10 out of 10!
“I understand what you are saying …”
To sell yourself and your business, you can use everything at your disposal:
- Features and added values that are absolutely relevant to the customer.
- Quality awards
- Licenses of your company
- Well-known shareholders or partner companies
- Your personal experience, education, etc.
- Recommendations from customers
- Case studies
- Vision of your company
- Promise of guarantee
It often happens that interlocutors digress and completely deviate from the topic.
Instead of talking about the specific topic, we suddenly talk about how our conversation partner once lived in Austin and how he liked to walk his dog along the Colorado River.
As a professional salesperson, you must never engage in small talk!
Instead, respectfully acknowledge what has been said and then get right back to the topic.
“What a coincidence! I love to go jogging with my dog along the Colorado River! Speaking of Austin, our developers are based there and have spent a long time looking at the issue you raised. One solution to the problem is … “
In the beginning, one of my biggest mistakes was making small talk. I always assumed that by making small talk I would create sympathy and thus increase my chances of a successful deal.
However, what I had to learn is that small talk in cold calling never leads to sales success, quite the opposite!
By engaging in small talk, however, you deviate too far from the straight line and enter a “death zone.” In this “death zone” you lose control of the conversation and at the same time your interlocutor will doubt your status as an absolute expert as well as an authority figure.
We don’t want to be his friend, but his absolute expert, whom he can trust and who will help him solve his problems and achieve his goals.
For this reason, you should never engage in small talk. Your job is to bring your customer back to the straight and narrow.
Always stay as close to the straight line as possible, use the right tone of voice, loop around to overcome action hurdles, and repeat until your prospect is ready to close the sale.
After the phone call
After the cold call, you should record all relevant information from the conversation in your CRM system as a memo.
It’s best to write down all the information in keywords or complete sentences:
- What did he say?
- What are his preferences?
- What didn’t work in the phone call?
- What is his character like?
- How was the chemistry between you?
- What did you talk about?
- How can you move into the next conversation?
Conversation notes should become your habit. Because if you talk on the phone a lot, in 3 months you won’t be able to remember the last call in detail. Then it is extremely handy to have notes with which you can resume the conversation.
My tip is to dictate conversation notes quickly by voice dictation. On my MacBook, for example, I use the Siri button, which allows me to dictate everything relevant within a few seconds.
Moreover, make a note of necessary tasks and create a follow-up appointment in your CRM system.
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