Often when I’m running my cold call training sessions, I notice that some people seem to be far too nice when it comes to cold calling! It’s almost as if they’re apologising for the call, before they’ve even started!
In this article, we explore why lots of people are too ‘nice’ on their cold calls, the problems it can cause and what we do about it.
The Challenge……You’ve built the proverbial “better mousetrap” – or at least you think you have! The problem is, not everyone else seems to feel the same way about the product or service you’re selling! So you think to yourself….”Surely if I’m nice to people….they’ll buy…….won’t they?”…….
Unlikely. Interested in finding out why?
Because sometimes we find it difficult not be nice and very polite on our calls, don’t we? After all we’ve been told for years “the customer is king” haven’t we? Yet we often don’t realise how this could negatively impact on the perception of our cold calls.
Let me give you an example…..
On my Cold Calling Workshops, I always find out what strategies the delegates are currently using, in order to give me a “gauge” of where they’re at and what we can potentially tailor and improve.
This is a phrase one of the delegates had been using previously (bearing in mind he was already through to the decision maker).
“I wonder if you could possibly help me?”
No, No, No, No and No! This is wrong on so many levels!
Now I know some of you are thinking “What’s wrong with that?”.
The challenge is because we’re brought up to be polite and we’ve been brought up with phrases like “the customer is always right”, “look after your customers – or someone else will” and “always make the customer feel important”.
Now I’m not necessarily disputing these phrases (and some of the are good advice) but don’t forget, we’re on a cold call here! The decision maker hasn’t been expecting our call, so we’re probably interrupting them on some level. Therefore our first few words are crucial to the success of the call.
When I was training the European cold calling team of a Global IT company out in Munich earlier this year, their VP of Sales said to me “Andy, if I receive a cold call, they’ve got 15 seconds – after which I decide if I’m putting the phone down or not!”. Now I don’t know the exact figures across industries, but I’d be prepared to bet that it would be fairly similar as to the first initial impression and how your call is perceived.
Now, most salespeople tell me they want to be viewed as different to their competition, to be seen as an equal, as powerful and consultative “value added” suppliers who can add value to their client’s businesses. However, they then make calls that sound EXACTLY like their competitors!
And if we truly want to be seen as powerful, as equals, as consultative people that can add value to our clients businesses, do you think opening phrases like “I wonder if you can possibly help me?” to decision makers achieve that?
I didn’t think so! The impression transferred when you use phrases like that is more like “oh no, another market research call!” or “here comes another junior salesperson to waste my time”. Is this achieving our objective? I think not!
We want to appear senior, authoritative, confident and like we know what we’re talking about – but we’re coming across in an entirely different way aren’t we?
In those vital first few moments of the cold call, if you come across as junior, weak and unimportant, don’t be surprised when senior decision makers treat you as such!
And do we think that decision makers are paid to help us out? Or give us “a few moments of their time?” How much value is there in that sort of call for the decision maker – pretty much none at all I’d say!
If you’re getting responses like “speak to my secretary” or “the person you really need is…” (only to find out later that this person was really the decision maker) or “send information” – or an even harsher response – that’s a clue that the decision maker doesn’t perceive us at their level, so isn’t treating us like an equal.
One interesting question to ask yourself is “Do I sound like a decision maker when I cold call, or just another salesperson?”. If your answer is the latter, are you really surprised at the responses you’re getting? If you want to be perceived as powerful, consultative and on the same level, then at least sound like a decision maker or someone of that level would do!
If the prospects you’re calling seem to perceive you the same as your competition – saying stuff like “we’re happy with who we’re using”, “we’ve got an agency/company we use for that” or the more blatant “you guys are all the same” then there’s a clue that you’re using the same approach as your competition! If we want to be perceived as different, we have to have a different approach don’t we?
Andy’s Top Tips For Getting Better Responses From Decision Makers
Tip No 1 – Sound like a decision maker, not a salesperson
Tip No 2 – If you want to be perceived as different, use a different approach to your competition
Tip No 3 – Converse with a decision maker on their level, using things that will interest them, instead of telling them what your product or service does
Tip No 4 – Prepare and practice a compelling opening that will engage decision makers, not bore them
Use these strategies and watch your sales soar!
If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may be curious about how we may be able to help you with your cold calling skills or follow up calls? You can find out more here…..