Cold Calling: Be a verb not a noun
Selling in a pandemic is different.
Yes, we’ll get through this, but if you sell today the way you sold 9/10 weeks ago, you are in for a wake-up call. We know everybody is struggling. Be open and transparent about your own setbacks as well as your ongoing capabilities in these new circumstances. Part of our job in sales has always been putting ourselves in the buyer’s shoes, and this is still true although empathy and transparency are now more important than ever. Remember that some industries, like hospitality, tourism and travel have been deeply affected.
Many businesses and enterprises benefit from cold calling and since social distancing and isolation regulations keep people at home, selling over the phone is a necessary step for keeping your operation afloat. We shouldn’t make apologies for cold calling, the world keeps turning and your role is essential in keeping the lights on. Without revenue generation there would be no need for other departments and no wages paid. We need to be poised ready to re-energise the economy when the time is right.
There are opportunities and if you consider your messaging carefully, people are happy to continue communicating with you. Consumers welcome normality and people remain open to advertising and if done sensitively it is received positively.
Now is the time to prospect, start filling your sales funnel and do, feel and be the best you can be. If you don’t benefit immediately you will in the long term. Most businesses currently do not know what they need now or in the future and thus conventional demand has gone. It is your role to provoke them to consider the future and be open to preparing for when ‘after’ occurs. Help them prepare to buy.
By re-inventing ways to start conversations we can find a way into the buying process early enough to influence it. Help ease their confusion and ask facilitative questions in order to provoke conversation. Humans value more what they ‘ask’ for and less what is offered. By calling now you put your brand on a stronger footing moving forward.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”Wayne Grezky
Know who you are talking to
Researching your prospect should be a pre-call ritual. By tracking down key information about your prospects, you can deliver calls with value and keep their attention.
Without research it is apparent you have made zero investment into the person on the other end of the phone and your prospects will appreciate the extra effort made. Understand and empathise – question everything you know or thought you knew about your customer and consumer to identify new and future needs, then use those to recalibrate for relevance, this gives insight and foresight. You may be a salesperson but try not to sound ‘salesy’. You have seconds to engage with a prospect so your key objective should be to grab their attention enabling you to buy more of their time. Use hook and then facilitative questions to earn attention, spark curiosity and provoke response. One of the mistakes salespeople make is trying to build rapport quickly, rapport is built over time. On a cold call you should be building respect. The prospect needs to believe what you say is true, to do this you must seek to discover as much as you can. Ask questions and above all listen!
Slow down and avoid filler words
On average a person speaks 150 – 250 words per minute, aim for under 100 words. The key is to slow right down, this conveys gravity, authority, and stresses you have something important to say. This is essential for any orator. Avoid filler words, these convey weakness, use your lexicon, and if the consumer commits to the call tell your story. Stories engage people – we learn through stories, a story simply needs to be a narrative. Get the cue for your tone of voice from consumers, subconsciously have constant conversation temperature checks. Sell the belief and need of your business, people believe what you believe, people buy you and not what you do and all sales are made on emotion!
Nothing happens until a sale is made.Tom watson sr. IBM founder
The Golden Circle
A key point of learning here is Simon Sineks – The Golden Circle. https://simonsinek.com/commit/the-golden-circle. Try to act, think and communicate from the inside out and behave in a way that’s aligned with your values.
Now is the time to invent and reinvent conversations, no one knows what the future holds, your role is to provoke them to consider you as part of their future solution.