Cold Calling….every sales professional’s nightmare right?
It’s sad to say but often times it is true. Which at times is hard for me to understand because cold calling has been vital for me to be successful as a sales person.
It’s how I keep my pipeline filled. It’s how I get new customers. It’s how I make new sales. And a sales person who looks at cold calling as a chore, necessary only because his boss tells him to is in trouble.
He will always be at a disadvantage to the sales person who understands that cold calling is the fuel that keeps a sales funnel moving forward and refilling.
So below I’m going to go over some of my best advice when it comes to cold calling.
When To Call
When you call can often have an impact on the results you get. Not always, but I’ve found that cold calling at specific times and weekdays tend to yield better results than others.
For example, I prefer to do my cold calling before 8am, between 12noon and 1pm, and after 5pm. Any idea why?
The reason is because gatekeepers are usually not in the office during those times. They often don’t arrive until 8 or after, they take their lunch at a pretty standard time, and they leave work at 5. Executives, and the C-Level suite often arrive early, eat their lunch at their desk, and leave later then the norm.
And when the receptionist or gatekeeper isn’t there, they often answer the phone themselves.
I’ve had amazing success calling at these times compared to others.
In addition I never call on Mondays. Monday’s already don’t put people in a good mood. It’s also the day they have 100 emails to scan through in addition to their weekly team meetings. So yeah, Monday’s are off the table.
From my experience Fridays are a hit and miss. Often times you’ll talk to someone who is just wasting time waiting to go home so they’ll give you a few minutes. Other times you caught them out the door and their impatient to get off the phone with you.
So for the most part I tend to stick to cold calling Tuesday through Thursday and have found them to be solid days to hit.
Getting Past The Gatekeeper
As I mentioned in a previous post, sales people often think that gatekeepers are like Cerberus protecting the Gates of Hades which couldn’t be farther from the truth. What they are are people who take their job very seriously and if their boss is inundated with calls from sales people they aren’t likely to have a job much longer.
It’s important to understand that and respect that. So when I cold call I approach gatekeepers one of two ways.
The first is to be totally honest with them.
“Hi gatekeeper, my name is Johnny Bravo I’m a sales guy and I’m looking to talk with Mr. CEO about your current property management software solution. I’m not even sure if he’s the right person to talk with. Is there someone that would probably be better to speak with?“
When you respect them enough to not lie or try to get around them they are a little kinder to you.
Another option is to use a pattern interrupt to give the gatekeeper pause before instantly jumping to “SALESPERSON!!! Oh no!!!”.
“Hi gatekeeper this is Johnny Bravo. Does that name sound familiar?” or “Hi gatekeeper, this is Johnny Bravo. I probably caught you at a bad time”.
This works especially well with my name but for the most part will work for anyone. The second option is a no brainer. You probably did catch them at a bad time, they weren’t expecting your call.
How To Ask For The C-Level Prospect
A concept I learned early in life is to aim high. That concept has served me well in prospecting.
When you call, you don’t want to ask for the office manager, you want to talk with the CEO. An accountant is nice, but a CFO signs contracts.
Aiming high will put you in front of the people who make the decisions to do business with you. ~Tweet This!
So when you call, know who you’re going to ask for. If it’s the CEO great, but ask for him by first name.
“Hi this is Johnny, Jim please.”
Short and simple. And I always act like I know him. If I were to say something like “Hi this is Johnny Bravo from XYZ Company. I’m trying to reach Mr. Smith. Is he available?” then you are screaming sales person. CEO’s have a lot of better things to do then take sales calls every day all day.
What you want to do is act important. Because you are.
You’re time is just as valuable as the CEOs. I promise you. Sure they may (or may not) get paid more than you per hour. But they have the EXACT same number of hours in a day as you do. So your time is equally important.
By acting important you are letting them know that you deserve to speak with the C-Level executive.
After all you are going to speak with them about something that could change their business for the greater good, aren’t you?
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net