Why you’re not having success cold calling

Proof Sales People Are People Too

Sales people are people too (shock!). I help train them and – believe it or not – they are good people who are just like you. They don’t want to be sold and they don’t like people interrupting their day with calls about a product or service they neither need nor want.

Yet, as soon as the salesperson pick up that phone, he forgets these sentiments.  He forgets what it’s like to be the recipient of that call. And the salesperson goes into the stereotypical sales role: me, me, me, me and me. Oh, and me some more!

Why does this approach fail? Because besides your mom and maybe your dog (but, definitely not your cat): NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU.

A Few Tips for a Successful Call

Before you pick up the phone, remember this golden “cold calling” rule: the call you’re going to make will interrupt someone who is thinking about themselves, their issues and their struggles. They’re not thinking about you and how they can help you. So, in order to avoid a disastrous call and waste of everyone’s time, make the call fun, interesting and about them. Here’s how:

  1. Be prepared. This goes beyond just understanding your product, the market or the CEO’s name. Know everything about your client. If they’re struggling to find a new a new location, have a notoriously horrid landlord or are in growth or loss mode, know it. Understand their problems. If you’re going to interrupt their thoughts about themselves, you better have a solution for them.
  2. Be funny or interesting. We all watch weird videos on YouTube to be entertained. If you make your call entertaining, you’re in. Funny and interesting openings are your hook.
  3. Be honest. Opening up to people will bring down their guard and they may be more open to reciprocating. Give and take is a social norm – especially if you’re being vulnerable. For example, tell them that you hate making these calls, just as much as they like getting them, so you promise to make this as painless as possible and worth their time. Or, that you were once in their position and that’s why you started your company – to help people achieve [insert outcome of using your product/service].
  4. Be sharp. No one wants to listen to someone who is, frankly … zzzzzzzzz …. or has no product knowledge. Talk quickly during the opening of the call and then slow down for the details of the offering.
  5. Be scarce. Have something they want or need and given reasons to act now, such as a hot market with signs of slowing or a one-time offer.
  6. Be enthusiastic and SMILE. The WORST is getting a call from someone who sounds distracted, bored or angry. When you’re talking in a monotone voice, it comes across as disinterested and rude. No one is going to put up with that. We like nice people and we’re much more open and forgiving with a nice person than a rude person. Especially if they’re interrupting our thoughts about us.
  7. Be other-oriented and curious. The call is not about what you want, your sales quota or your service. It’s about them. This means you should be doing very little talking. You should be doing a lot of listening and asking questions. Ask about pain points and follow up with “tell me more about that”. You should also, in most cases, a) NEVER “SELL”, b) NEVER PUSH YOUR PRODUCT and c) NEVER ASK THE TYPICAL SALES QUESTIONS, such as are you looking to sell your house? Are you looking to buy a car and spent thousands on this random person who just called? The answer will be – NO! They don’t trust you and you come off sooooo salesy  – ew!
  8. Be generous. Ask them if you could shoot over a quick email with some information that is RELEVANT to them. State what is and why they can’t just find it on the net (e.g. exclusive report). You’re sending this for free and when you do and DO NOT SELL ANYTHING in your email. If they need something, they will ask. The first interactions are not to sell. Rather, you’re there to prove you’re valuable.

The above tips are just ice breakers and there’s no guarantee that they’ll love you. Nonetheless, you’ll make a much better first impression which will ease your nerves during the call and lose the “sleazy salesperson” stigma.

The take home lesson is that it’s not about you. It’s about them, so focus all of your attention on who is on the other line and not your nerves.