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A Foolproof Cold Calling Script

Last week, a Sales Machine reader by the name of Mike Kroll posted a LONG comment to an older post. His comment laid out a method for cold calling that transforms the runaround that prospects often give you into a way to build a customer relationship. I like it because it's simple and straightforward.

Because Mike's script has "branches," I've laid it out a set of pages, so that you can click on the pages as you work Mike's script.

To get you started, here are Mike's opening remarks:

I believe the biggest fear we have in cold calling is being rejected. But if we can adopt a mentality that we are professional sales people and that there is no such thing as being rejected, things become a whole lot easier.

What's the easiest way to this mentality? Realizing that your whole goal is to present yourself as a professional. You are looking to develop a relationship, which is different than rapport building or talking about last nights game (every peddler on earth does that.

You are there to build something - not sell something. If the prospect does not want to build a relationship right now, then you can build it later. Therefore, there are no rejections.

READERS: An easy-to-follow system for selling B2B is provided in my new book How to Say It: Business to Business Selling available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.
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CONGRATULATIONS!

The prospect has asked to you call back, so you are now past the "cold-call" stage.

The key here is that you MUST call back at the time they asked. Most sales professionals do not do this, so you will separate yourself from the peddlers who are just looking to find somebody who will speak with them.

When you call back, one of two things will happen.


This is NOT a setback. It is a relationship-building opportunity.

Leave a message like:

"Joe, you asked that I call you around this time, but it looks like you're out. Call me at XYZ number but if I don't hear back from you by this Friday, I'll call you on Tuesday."
Then be sure to ACTUALLY call back when you said you would. When you actually do so, you'll separate yourself from 95% of the folks out there.

When you call back, one of two things will happen.


Once again, this is NOT a setback, but a relationship-building opportunity.

Leave a message like:

"Joe, I've called you last week and this week and you must be very busy. You can contact me at XYZ number otherwise I'll try you back in three months."
Then be sure to ACTUALLY call back when you said you would. When you actually do so, you'll separate yourself from 95% of the folks out there. Needless to say, this requires you to be ORGANIZED. Most sales pros aren't.

When you call back, one of two things will happen.


STAGE 2: THE FOLLOW-UP
CONGRATULATIONS!

You have now begun to build a customer relationship.

By not being pushy and (if you didn't get a chance to speak at first) continuing to be prompt and professional, you've earned the right to explain the reason for your call. Say something like:

"I know I'm calling you out of the blue, Joe, but sometimes, if I don't know anyone at the company i'm calling, this is the only way to develop a relationship. All I want to do right now is quickly introduce myself, my firm and my offering to you. As I mentioned, I'm with [your company] and we help companies [what your your company does] and I was wondering how I would best position myself to determine if our product may be a fit for you?"
That's it. No big "sales pitch" or "we do this and that, which may help you deal with this and that and is this something you are interested in right now?"

The reason you don't do that typical sales routine is that it may lead to a "no" for your product and then you've wasted your time. In addition, the typical sales pitch is exactly what people expect, because everybody does it. You're being different. You're being a professional.

All you want to do is position yourself as someone that can be trusted on and counted on to deliver what they say can deliver.

The prospect will respond in one of three ways

CONGRATULATIONS!

Contrary to common wisdom, this is not a brush-off, but another opportunity to build a customer relationship. Say something like:

"In order to start developing a timeline to go through our offering when should I next follow up with you?"
Then FOLLOW UP as stated! Again, so many sales people are unorganized they never follow through on the date they say they will do so.

What does that tell them about you when you DO follow through? That you can be counted on! That your are trustworthy! So don't be like the crowd! Follow up when you say you will!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Contrary to common wisdom, this is not a brush-off, but another opportunity to build a customer relationship.

Here's how to make the literature request work. Say something like:

"We have many pieces of literature. What exactly would you be looking for?"
Get the answer, then say something like:
"Once I send this Joe, will you read it within a week or two?"
When the prospect promises to do so, say:
"Great, I'll follow up with you then and we can mutually decide whether we should take the next step."
According to Mike, the reason that literature requests don't turn into sales opportunities is mostly because the sales professional never bothers to follow up.
STAGE 3: DEVELOP THE OPPORTUNITY
You are now WAY past the cold-calling phase and are beginning to develop a real relationship with the customer. If you've been hitting the call-back targets, you've shown that you can be trusted.

And by not being pushy, you've shown that you are there to solve, not sell. You are there to give value, help them build their business, and in turn help you build yours.

In other words, be a professional first, and only after you've done that, you've earned the right to show them the value of your product and how it will benefit their business, and if it fits their needs.

Mike says: if you follow this process, I promise that people will want to buy from you and you won't need to "sell" them.

READERS: Was this useful? I like the way it takes what's usually taken as a setback and turns them into something that moves the sales opportunity forward.

STAGE 1: THE INITIAL CALL
When you get through to a prospect, use the following opener:
Hello [prospect's first name], this is [your name] from [your company], have I caught you in the middle of something?"
That first statement is important because it prevents the possibility of rejection. If the prospect cannot talk, I just may have caught them at a bad time.

In most cases, the prospect will respond one of three ways: