Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tip #350: 7 Secrets To Improve Your Cold-Calling Skills


#1. Do Some Research First: Before you pick up the phone and call a prospect cold, you should take a minute or two to visit the prospect's website. That way, you can familiarize yourself with their company, what they do, what role they have at their company, etc. In fact, this process can go a long way during the actual phone call itself. It adds a more personalized touch to the call, and more importantly shows the prospect that you are genuinely interested in them.

#2. Cultivate A Unique Greeting: Bland introductions are typical among salespeople. But these tend to be a one-way ticket to getting hung up on in the first 30 seconds. Research has proven the impact your greeting leaves on a prospect will determine how long they permit you to engage them. The trick is to strike a balance between formality and casual charm.

#3. Include Your Name And Company: Continuing from Tip #2, your greeting should also contain your name and your company name, as well as a little about your company (what kind of business you are, service or product you provide, etc.). This is in an effort to pique your prospect's interest. You don't want to come off as being vague and elusive just to get an appointment.

#4. Be Upfront About Your Purpose: When speaking with someone, don't skirt around the issue. Just cut to the chase. Think of this as a declaration of your reason for calling. One of the more effective ways to state your purpose is to phrase it in the form of a question. Opening with a question sparks the potential for conversation, which is what most prospects would rather have than fielding an overly rehearsed sales call.

#5. Learn To Accept Rejection: A common concern among salespeople is being too persistent. Unfortunately, many salespeople give up calling a prospect after their first unsuccessful attempt at moving the sales process forward. The truth is, the majority of your calls (about 80%) will go to voicemail (which makes it crucial to have a voicemail script prepared), and those that don't, well, rejection is part of the game. One "yes" is easily worth nine "no's." If you are rejected, accept rejection gracefully. Respect the prospect's wishes and don't press on, or you will be a pest.

#6. Open And Close With Gratitude: After you have introduced yourself and stated the purpose of your call the first thing you should do is express gratitude by thanking the prospect for giving you a moment of their time. This tells a prospect that you understand and appreciate the value of their time. Similarly, when wrapping up a call, thank them a second time and e-mail them your contact information. Don't forget to include a simple, one page summary of your services.

#7. Always, Always Follow Up: Perhaps the biggest area salespeople drop the ball in is their follow-up. Every phone call requires some kind of follow-up, especially if you left a voicemail. A quick e-mail after leaving a voicemail is one of the best ways to follow up on a phone call, especially if you provide useful information. After that, put some time between your next phone touch. A minimum of 3 days should go by before you reach out to a prospect again. Anything less may leave them feeling pressured or hounded.

Executive Summary: Despite the ease and convenience of mass e-mail marketing, the sales game is still all about salespeople's telephone skills. People want to buy from people they like and trust. That is why it is so important for salespeople to put a sincere effort into their sales calls. So observe and heed the advice listed above. By doing so, you will be well on your way to more successful cold calling.

Even in spite of today's fast-paced technology, such as e-mailing and social media, the most powerful tool in a salesperson's arsenal remains their ability to call someone with a powerful "Oh By The Way" call. This is where a salesperson calls someone on the phone and makes their sales pitch. Because cold calling is such a vital part of a salesperson's skill set, we have created a number of tips to help anyone in sales become better at making their calls.

7 Secrets For Strengthening Your Cold-Calling Skills:

Your Next Step: If you want to find out more about how Dale Carnegie® Training can make your business more effective, or need more information on this subject, please send us an e-mail at the address below.

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Bob Dickson, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Western CT
(203) 723-9888

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