I’ve enjoyed the pretty active discussion in the Sales Management Association Group on LinkedIn in response to the post, “I am facing the problem when cold calling on how to handle the initial resistance: I am not interested; We already have a supplier; I don’t have the budget.” A number of the responses offer helpful insights and would serve sales professionals in need of script/strategy updates to get more out of their outbound phone (cold calling) efforts. I added my two cents:
The warm call concept is the right approach. There are many things that need to transpire before the call and live connect that can dramatically improve your opportunity to elevate interest. Most importantly, RESEARCH. Call with POV (point of view and position of value that is compelling and differentiated) based on thorough preparation – use the web and all of the available research tools to understand how/where your solution may benefit their specific situation. Have an example at the ready. And make your lead introduction all about them: ie. (I noticed in your recent press release; in conducting some web research I learned that). It shows insight, effort and prep work that most salespeople ignore. Cold calling is sometimes necessary, but truly one of the least effective and potentially most inefficient uses of a sales professionals time. VALUE based lead generation is the way to go. Educate your TAU (target account universe) and be the ‘go to’ resource to minimize the need to rely on calling strangers in the hope they answer the phone or return a call (we all know, they usually don’t). There is a new way. A better way. A ‘game plan’ for professional selling in the knowledge economy.
While cold calling may still be standard practice in some sales organizations, more progressive (and successful) sales organizations have realized that by creating value in their specified market segment, preparing more thoughtful and customized introductions and earning the reputation as experts in their category minimizes the reliance on spending the day leaving voice mails that won’t ever be returned. When you’ve created value first and have a brand/reputation that precedes you the calls become warm (or HOT) and conversion ratio’s can skyrocket.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.