Thursday, January 22, 2009

What makes "Cold Calling" such a hot topic?

Cold calling is an old and fundamental sales skill like closing. 10 years ago a sales person might use direct closing techniques like assumptive closes. Today smart sales people let the prospect close themselves by constantly injecting soft closes in the discussion. No one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy. Leading the prospect in direction you want them to go builds long lasting relationships.

Cold calling is another very old sales technique that has changed over the years. It doesn't make sense to start dialing through the phone book. There are just too many defensive strategies that your prospects have already engaged. They are inundated will sales pitches. The old adage that you have 3 seconds to get 3 minutes to get 30 minutes applies. If you can't say something in the first 3 seconds that gets them to stop multi-tasking and respond, you'll never get to your 30 second elevator pitch.

What that means is that you need to already know what would stop them in their tracks before you dial the phone. As a cold caller you will need to segment your market so that each group has a discrete business problem that they would stop what they're doing to hear more about. You can't use a shot gun here, its work for a sniper. You have to be able to present that business problem in the form of a question that they would respond to. And then you have 30 seconds to hook them into a conversation.

Most cold callers are dialing machines. They could care less what the response is on the other end. They assume they will lose 98% of the time. They are trying to get through the no's to get to a yes. This is brutal on everyone. If you really planned out your approach you might only get shot down 93% of the time. Your probability of success goes up if the caller knows and expects you to call. That is where referral marketing, web marketing, snail mail, and e-mail marketing can help. It's like artillery bombardment before the beach landing.

If this is an important tool in your sales arsenal, then it makes sense to think the entire process through from the prospects end before dialing the first number.

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