What I Learned from a Cold Call
By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
For those people in sales who have never had the opportunity to either receive a cold call or listen to one from the receiving end, I’d highly recommend it. All of the techniques that are part of a salesperson’s repertoire are just theory until you pick up the phone and start making sales calls. Likewise, these techniques remain abstract for many of us until you get the opportunity to see the effect they have on people who are on their receiving end. By adding this perspective, salespeople can gain a greater appreciation for what their tactics are designed to do and some of the common pitfalls that hamper the efforts of others.
For many salespeople, it can feel like prospective decision makers are completely uninterested until you make them interested. Lack of interested could very well be an indication of something wrong with either the approach or the targeted prospects. In many cases, decision-makers are always on the lookout for new opportunities to move the business forward. Whether in the form of new technology or service offerings, salespeople provide one more channel from which to gain information.
The reality of picking up the phone and cold calling someone is that you are catching them unprepared for a conversation about what you have to offer. In some ways, this can be a benefit as you may be able to get past biases that they may normally have in place. With that said, catching someone by surprise also makes it difficult to have an in-depth conversation about their needs and your product.
While this dynamic can make for challenging conditions to start a conversation, it does not mean that they are uninterested. Instead, what is often the case is that they may in fact be interested in finding out if you can benefit them. The challenge here is to engage them quickly by making it easy for them to make a quick determination about whether what you offer would be of interest.
Is it going to be 100% successful? Of course not. Simply put, your solution won’t be a good fit for everyone. The goal of your first encounter on a cold call is less about qualifying the lead, so much as helping the prospect qualify you. Make it simple for them to make a judgment call on you. Making this determination easy is critical, because the default answer is always “no”.
It’s amazing, having been on the receiving end of cold calls, how many salespeople fail to understand this basic tenant. Instead, their opening pitch is filled with a smoke and mirrors approach that has the effect of hiding what it is they’re after. It’s a shame really because behind their pitch may very well have lurked something that would have been useful.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about opening a sales call that is new or original. Be authentic, be direct and relentlessly focused on their needs. In spite of the conventional wisdom, there are far too many reps who either don’t trust their value proposition, or are too cowardly to approach it directly. Don’t be another speed bump to getting things done. Instead, be the advisor that surprises me with something revolutionary.