Nine. That’s the number of attempts it usually takes to reach a cold prospect. Yet too many salespeople give up after two or three tries And while repeat business and referrals play a big part in most industries, attracting new regions and verticals is critical for growth. The key to further success will always lie in getting more opportunities to show why your solution or service is not just better, but better for them. Here are four tips to secure that first conversation and stop leaving new business on the table.
1. Don’t sell on the first call. Sound counter-intuitive? It isn’t and here’s why. Even though you havedisplayed expert weaving, ducking and bobbing to get your contact on the line, they are probably not in a mindset to hear your sales pitch straight away. Instead, let them know you got in touch to set up a future call to discuss how your product, solution, service or offering can dramatically improve their operations, sales growth, and increase retention rates. Remember: the call before the call gets you a ticket but the show hasn’t started yet!
2. Be persistent and consistent. Touch the prospect by being pithy and concise, using intrigue and purpose whether you are speaking to them, leaving a voicemail, sending an email or getting their influential admin on the line. Create a unique value proposition and use it consistently. If one of your appeals is an easy-to-install software or a lightweight product, then repeat that in a variety of ways. An example of a great value proposition is: “Hi, I’m calling to set up a call to share how you can increase website traffic with a software that snaps seamlessly into your CRM.” You may think it sounds ‘robotic’ but reinforcing your message increases the likelihood they will remember you and be open to scheduling the real call.
3. Call the decision-maker’s cellphone. This is never recommended without approval from an admin but if you are sent in this direction, accept the challenge. Calling a cellphone doesn’t always mean the exec will be “on the move” as he could actually be hard at work in a remote location, but even so, mobile etiquette needs to kick in. It is always best to start with the fact that you haven’t gone rogue and actually were “authorized” to call, and then proceed with the same messaging from above. Whether desk or cell, your first call has one goal only which is to turn it into a second one.
4. Don’t hide behind your screen. Regardless of our mobile era, successful selling will always be people to people, not Outlook to Gmail, text to text or tweet to tweet. But in your follow-up, when email, text or social contact is appropriate, again use consistent messaging and create a call-to-action but hold the good stuff for when you can provide context. For example, if you attach a product brochure in your online communication, your prospect may read it and misinterpret the value, immediately disqualifying themselves. Instead, send them links to specific information on your website, including relevant blog posts that provides insight on how your product is the right fit for them. Pique their interest, but make sure the only interpretation of your product is the one you want them to have.
Ultimately, your job is to create a vision of success for the prospect. Cracking the cold call to develop and generate new business takes persistence and determination but it also takes skill that can be honed through discipline and repetition. Most importantly, it takes the right attitude. Never, ever assume that a prospect isn’t interested simply because you haven’t yet reached them – if you haven’t heard “no,” you can still charge past your competition to win the deal. Cats have nine lives and on a cold call, so do you.
Mike Scher is CEO of FRONTLINE Selling, www.FRONTLINESelling.com, creators of StaccatoTM, the leading B2B software suite that accelerates revenue by helping sales professionals create more high-quality opportunities, consistently hit quota and close more deals. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org @sellmoreperiod