Why Cold Calling Does NOT Work, Using Traditional Methods

So what is the secret to highly successful cold calling? Why is it that some people always seem to get the appointment? Do they use some new fangled tricks that you can only learn at hugely expensive telesales training courses? If you want to find a simple way of boosting your sales, using the phone, without the rejection, then read the rest of this article. So what do you do next – you ask them what I call a “problem statement” question.

Every person that I have ever met hates cold calling. Yet it is hailed as the most important aspect of lead generation that exists. Why do we all seem to hate it? In fact cold calling ranks close to public speaking as one of the most feared things a human being can undertake. Even ahead of spiders, snakes and even dying!

Do you remember one of the most common phrases your mum used to say to you when you were off to school, or going out with your friends?

Don’t talk to strangers!

So with this instruction firmly lodged in our subconscious, we have to go, pick up the phone, and speak to a complete stranger, and get them to buy from us! All of the positive tricks in the world are not really going to turn that stranger into a friend are they?

So what do we get taught to do in traditional cold calling training?

  • Smile when you speak.
  • Stand up.
  • Talk about benefits not features.
  • Focus on your objective, which is either the sale or getting the appointment.
  • Getting past the gatekeeper.
  • Use testimonials when calling.

These are all very valuable lessons, and they all have their place as part of the training, but they miss the most important aspect of cold calling – and that is:

Turn a cold call into a warm call

Obviously it is much better to be calling someone who has been referred to you, or someone that has approached your company through some form of lead generation activity. But let’s assume that you don’t have that luxury yet.

How do you get the ice out of this guy whom you have never met? All of the above techniques that we get taught, will convey to the person that they are just a name on a list, that we are going down, hoping to get lucky.

We have our script ready, we start parroting how we have helped other people in this guy’s industry, and how if he just meets us for 2 minutes, we can show him massive savings or revenue generating opportunity.

Yet he says he is not interested – I mean is he mad, we are going to change his life. This is our best possible prospect and he said no – why? Because my friend, he has had 10 other calls from people going to change his life today.

You are not his friend, he is after all just a name on a database that you bought, and he does not know or trust you. You are just like all the others who have been on the telesales 101 course and he has got wise to you.

So how do I make that winning cold call?

By having a conversation with the person on the other end of the line.

There it is that simple! Start by asking who ever answers the phone, if they have a minute to help you with something.

99% of people will say sure no problem, if they are not currently in the middle of something.

So what do you do next – you ask them what I call a “problem statement” question.

If your solution, for example, helps them save specific cost, in a specific area – ask them if they have an issue with cost in that area.

The goal is to have a conversation

What ever their answer, let them know that you appreciate their answer and time.

If it was a negative answer, then let them know that they have saved both of you time, as you would have tried to go and set up an appointment with them, to see if they could have benefited from [use your testimonial here].

If it was a positive answer, ask them if they would be interested, assuming they had the time, to see if they could benefit [use your testimonial].

Do not try and force the appointment, just try and keep having a conversation. And I mean a conversation, never, never, never ever try to sell on the phone.

By having a conversation with the stranger, they might actually end up becoming a friend and a customer. Which ever it is, they will respect you far more than the other 9 calls they received from those other guys trying to sell them something.

If you need help on cold calling, or indeed any aspect of increasing your sales, please do drop me a line. The best way is to request a free sales and marketing assessment.

This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing – www.3r.ie. For previous articles like this, visit 3R’s Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.