Looking Forward to Cold Calling?
It’s Friday, a day to look back on what worked this week and plan for what you want to accomplish next week. If you’re like most, cold-calling, or new business development, is on your to-do list but it’s hardly something you happily anticipate. Do these lines sound familiar?
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
“I’m just stopping by…”
“How are you today?”
“Your account has recently been assigned to me…”
“I’m calling to learn about your business…”
“Did I catch you at a bad time?”
Those would fall in the category of “worst opening lines on a cold call.” They may have worked 30 years ago, but today’s business owner is savvier, more pressed for time and needs more help than ever. When you make a cold call, you need to answer three questions in the first five seconds of the call:
1. Who are you?
2. How long will this take?
3. Why are you calling?
They should be done in that order. Too often, we act like we are an intrusion into the prospect’s day, thus the need for phrases like “did I catch you at a bad time?” We need to stop acting like we are begging for their time and begging for an appointment. We have nearly magical powers to transform businesses; they should want to meet with us. We shouldn’t have to beg.
This week, I learned a new technique from Brian Burns, host of the Brutal Truth Sales Podcast that I wanted to share. It’s quick and effective. In order to answer those three questions, Brian suggests the conversation goes like this:
“Brian, this is Jeff, I only have a minute. I attended a webinar this week and learned that some retail shoppers are looking forward to getting back into stores this holiday season while others plan to do more online buying. What do you think your customers will prefer and why? (valid business reason then ends with an open-ended question.) I’d like to share this research with you and see if we can help you maximize the holiday shopping season. Would Thursday at 2:15 work?”
Remember the three questions?
1. Who are you? Answer: Jeff
2. How long is this going to take? Answer: I only have a minute. This is a psychological spin that you are busy. You’re not asking if they are busy, but you still answer the question of how long it will take.
3. Why are you calling? Back to the basics of RAB training, a valid business reason followed by a question and a request for the appointment.
Are you willing to give this a try next week? It’s simple, straightforward and it answers the three questions and positions you as a busy person trying to help.
If you do try it, we’d love to know how it worked. Please shoot us an email here.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.