Last Updated Feb 27, 2009 10:24 AM EST
READERS: A comment to yesterday's post "Poll: Is Cold Calling Really Worth It?" was so good that I'm turning it into an official post. The below (written by the sales trainer Ron Silver under the handle "argentix1") gives the clearest explanation I have ever read on the subject of why/how/when to cold call. It's a real gem. Enjoy!
B2B cold calling fails because most people sound like they are making a cold call.
"Cold Calling" implies something less than "warm" and pleasant. I prefer to think of it as "Dialing for Dollars". "Dollars" is a more positive mental image than anything that is "cold"!
When dialing for dollars, most people are trying to "get" something from someone. They are trying to "get" an appointment or "get" an order. No one wants to "give" something to someone they do not know, like, trust and respect. This is why most salespeople fail miserably at this process.
But "Getting" is not the purpose of dialing for dollars.
Dialing for dollars is a "discarding" or "disqualifying" process. It is just like panning for gold or digging for diamonds. You have to turn over a lot of dirt before you find the gems. If you do not understand this principle, then you will become frustrated and think that your efforts are not working. Your objective in dialing for dollars is to "disqualify" as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. That eliminates the time, money wasted sending literature to people who will never buy, and it stops the fruitless "follow-up" calls that lead nowhere but to frustration.
You only have 30-45 seconds to deliver a specific and compelling reason for the person on the other end to "want" to continue the conversation. Skip the small talk and get right to the point.
You will be most effective when your 30-45 seconds causes the prospect to identify a problem in their business that you can help them fix. People will talk to you if you illuminate a problem they need to have fixed. Problems in business typically focus around loss of money, wasted time, inefficiencies in business processes or equipment, loss of market share, etc.
If the prospect (not you) identifies something that is having negative ramifications on their business (a problem) AND they are serious about getting rid of that problem, then you "may" have a possible reason to continue.
If there is a possible fit, then you can set an appointment to explore the possibilities of helping that prospect in some way get rid of that problem.
A few essentials:
Here's an example:
- Tell them your name and company
- Ask permission for 45 seconds and tell them they can end the conversation after that if they want to.
- Get right to the point
- Help then identify their business problems by offering a short Ã¢â‚¬Å"menu"
- Never try to convince a prospect, instead let them convince you it is worth your time and effort to meet with them.
- Honor your agreement and let them off the hook if they do not want to engage,
Rick, this is Josh Snider from Ace Delivery. May I take 45 seconds to tell you why I am calling and then you can tell me if we should continue speaking? I work with owners of small manufacturing companies that from time to time are frustrated because their customers do not get their shipments on time as promised, even though you completed the job on time. They are concerned about retaining their customers in the face of more competition and they are looking for ways to increase the reliability and consistency of product delivery. Rick, are any of the things I mentioned issues for you or is everything running 100% smoothly?"
In less than 45 seconds you will know if you have someone on the line who you can help or not. If they do not have any problems that you can fix, then it's over (for now). Remember, they may not have a problem today, but they may have it in the future.READERS: What do you think?
If you make dialing for dollars, a scheduled event in your calendar and you do it with consistency you will be amazed how much new business you will dig up.
The best thing about "cold calling" is that you do not have to do it forever. Once you have a client base and they are more than satisfied with your products and services, they will, with your nurturing, become promoters of your business and you will have more referrals and less need for "cold calls".
UPDATE (1/23): Just got an email from the author of the post above. His name is Ron Silver and his website is www.moresalesnow.net.