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I love cold calling

The articles that say cold calling is dead, I loathe. For it is not. In fact, I argue, it is quite alive and better than emailing. Let me tell you why.

When cold calling, you have the opportunity to overcome objections. In email, not so much. It’s too easy for your prospect to ignore your solicitations via email than it is when they’re speaking to a living being on the other end of the phone. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t go back and forth over email, but chances are they’ll just ignore your second email that is attempting to overcome their objection of why they are not interested, or don’t have time, or can’t meet, or whatever. You’re done.

Cold calling a prospect, on the other hand, usually offers you three chances to “close” them on something. Whether it is a call, in person meeting, whatever. I say “three chances,” because typically after 3 attempts you’ll want to move on anyways.

In a subsequent post, I’ll offer you my, near 100%, fail proof formula for getting a meeting while cold calling, but for now, I want to offer you 4 rules to live by when hitting the phones.

1. Don’t rush into your pitch. You’ll get hung up on. Be normal, relaxed, and casual. More on this later, but say something like this, “Hi Prospect, this is Tristan from Base, how are you?” And then pause and let them speak! (I’ll get into it more on what to say afterwards in my next post.)

2. Don’t talk about your f-ing product. They don’t care at this point. Your onlyobjective is to get a meeting so you can have their undivided attention for ONE hour. Yeah, you might have to give them the one-liner elevator pitch, but keep it high level.

3. Assume the right posture. I’m not talking about staring into a mirror, wearing a suit, or standing up –although these things might work well for some people. What I’m talking about, is coming ready to play. Get your game face on. Think of yourself as a defensive lineman assuming a three-point stance ready to fire off the line. Sit at the edge of your chair, back straight, slightly leaning forward from the hips in an open position. It shows that you are ready and it’ll come across in your voice.

4. Close three times. Ask for the meeting, then ask for lunch, then ask them to meet you in the lobby and at least put a face to the name. I’ve been doing this for years, and only once has someone ever really just met me in the lobby. It always usually turns into an hour-long meeting. Trust me. If after 3 attempts, you still come up empty handed, then ask them if it’s Ok if you check back in in 3 months. They’ll say that’s fine, and the next time you call, 3 months from now, you’ll get a meeting.

The Best Sales Book You Probably Haven’t Read

Adam Grant’s NYT best-selling book, “Give and Take,” might make you question much of what you THINK you know about sales.

Grant’s book explores a potential secret to getting ahead, comparing givers, takers, and matchers, and argues that in a super interconnected world, being a giver actually gets you farther in the long run.

With both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence, Grant’s argument is compelling, and at least for me, made me think long and hard about how I conduct my life.

What are you? A giver, taker, or matcher?

You can probably guess what each term means. A giver is someone who gives and doesn’t expect anything in return –they want to help (and will go out of their way to help). A taker is just trying to get the most from everybody, and a matcher is a tit for tat type of guy –I’ll scratch your back and ask you to scratch mine later.

Increasing your sales

If you’re in sales, and not a giver, you might want to think twice about how you conduct yourself. Grant’s research supports that givers are the top sellers. That according to one study, the average giver brought in 30% more revenue than both takers and matchers.

Part of the secret? Being powerless. A powerless communicator. And what does that look like? Asking questions. And lots of them. “By asking questions and getting to know their customers, givers build trust and gain knowledge about their customers’ needs. Over time, this makes them better and better at selling.”

Takers sell their arguments assertively. Givers, with powerless communication, lead you down a different path.

“The art of advocacy is to lead you to my conclusion on your terms. I want you to form your own conclusions: you’ll hold on to them more strongly. I try to walk jurors up to that line, drop them off, and let them make up their own minds.”

My VP of sales at BaseTravis Huch, always told us this –“lead the witness,” he would say.

“Thoughtful questions pave the way for jurors to persuade themselves.”

Are you asking the right questions in your sales engagements?

You can check out Adam’s book, “Give and Take” here. It’s an amazing read.

Cold Calling Like a Boss

In my last post, I argued why it was better to use cold calling, rather than email, to get meetings with your prospects. And in that post, I offered to tell you my nearly 100% fail proof formula for getting new meetings with your prospects over the phone.

As promised, here it is.

Call your prospect, and once you get them on the phone, say the following:

“ Hi Prospect, this is Tristan from Base. How are you?”

And then pause. Wait for them to answer. Be casual and speak slowly. (Remember the 4 rules from last week.) After they had a chance to reply, say the following:

“Great. I’m calling because I wanted to follow up on the email I sent earlier this week. You guys look like you’d be a great fit for what we do here at Base, and I wanted to set up a time to come by, introduce myself, and learn more about your business/organization. Is there a day that works best for you next week?”

And then pause. LET THEM SPEAK!

You’ll usually get some sort of response, like “what do you guys do?” or “Oh, I’m not interested.”

If you get the first question, give them ONE sentence that succinctly describes the value you could offer them. Mention another client that is similar to them and how you helped them. And so on. But keep it SUPER brief. And then close again.

If they say something like “I’m not interested,” now you have an objection to overcome.

Say something like this:

“Totally understand. (Insert slight chuckle here, “haha”) I know I am calling out of the blue and I figured you had everything buttoned up. I’d still love to meet with you and learn more about your business. That way, if you should ever need anything down the road, at least we’ll have met and hopefully I can be of service. Do you think we can pencil something in for next week?”

Note: Now notice how I end everything that I say with a question. This gets them talking and allows you to continue the conversation and close. Capiche? Saying things like “pencil something in,” is also very disarming and casual.

If they objet again, like, “oh I’m Ok,” it’s now time to overcome their second objection.

Say something like this:

“Got it. Totally understand that you’re busy. How about we get together for lunch? Everyone has to eat, and I’d love to take you out to lunch. Do you think we can schedule something for the next week or so?”

Now stop. Believe it or not, a lot of people will actually take you up on this offer. Which is kind of interesting. Lunch is probably more intimate than meeting someone at their office, but they’ll feel that it is less “business-like” or perhaps more informal. So don’t be surprised if you get a few people to take you up on the offer. Ask them to suggest a place close to their office and get it scheduled while you’re on the phone.

If they object again, here is your last ditch effort.

Say something like this:

“Ok, I understand. Well listen, I am going to be in your area anyways next week, can I at least stop by around 9am on Tuesday and drop off some information? You can meet me in the lobby! (some will laugh here)…at least we can put a face to the name and say that we’ve met. Would that be Ok?”

“Great! I’ll send you an invite for 9am on Tuesday just as a friendly reminder. Thanks, Mr. Prospect!”

If they still balk at this, let it go and ask them if you can follow up in 3 months to check in. They’ll of course say yes (because they will not think that you’ll actually follow up with them), and then when you call them back, you can book a meeting. Trust me, it’ll work.

Your script for when you DO call them back will sound something like this:

“Hey Mr. Prospect! We spoke several months ago and at the time you said you’d be willing to schedule some time for us to get together when I followed back up, is there a day/time next week that could work best?”

Would love to hear from you. What works best when you’re on the phone?