To plan the dance, take advantage of the things you know before you ever place the call:
•Decision makers are busy and get a lot of cold calls. As soon as they know they’ve been “caught” by a cold call, they’re going to want to get off the phone.
•Gatekeepers like receptionists, assistance’s, etc. are trained to detect cold callers and get rid of them.
So, clearly, it’s important to avoid sounding like a cold call. Adjust your opening script and even the way you describe your company so that you’re highlighting needs, challenges and objectives you know your prospect is concerned about.
If you sell truck tires to shipping companies, you’re not calling to discuss their truck tire needs. Say you’re calling to show the prospect how to reduce maintenance costs and increase truck utilization.
Continuing that example, knowing that you’ll leave more voice mails than you have conversations, let’s map out a series of voice mails to leave for a prospect.
So, voice mail one is “Hi Mr. Smith, I’m Sue Jones. I’m calling to show you how your competitors are reducing maintenance costs by 10% and increasing truck utilization by 10 hours per month. ….”
Then call again in a day or two with this message – “Mr. Smith, this is Sue Jones again. I called 2 days ago to identify how your maintenance costs could be as much as 10% higher than the industry norm…..”
And so on. Go on for as many messages as you think are necessary. Eventually though, you’ll want to “Fire” them. This is extremely powerful. You’ll be amazed at how often prospects will return your call when you say “Hi again Mr. Smith. Sue Jones here. I’ve called several times to show you how to reduce maintenance costs and increase truck utilization. Since I have not heard back from you, I’m going to assume that reducing maintenance costs is not a priority for you right now and I’m going to take you off my call list. If there is anything I can do for you, please call me at …..”
People like to be chased. Prospects expect you to keep calling until their ready to talk. When you say you’re going to stop, they’ll call just to tell you they want to talk but, not this month, etc.
The good news is that none of these techniques are difficult to develop for your business. You’ll find yourself enjoying the dance more and getting through to more prospects. However, this won’t work without a system to organize your list of prospects and tell you when to call each one and which script to use during that call. Further, you’ll need to know which leads are still in your lead generation process and which ones have responded and are now part of your sales or closing process.
To reach the kind of call volume that is needed in most cold calling processes, a good sales force automation solution that allows you to apply the entire multi-step campaign to a list of leads is essential. Some small business CRMs allow the user to import a list of leads and schedule the multi-step campaign for the entire list all at once. Then the sales person sees a “call list” in the sales force automation system that tells him which script to use on each call. You may load 1000 leads into your small business CRM and schedule your campaign all at once or, if you get lead lists in smaller chunks, you can load in each list, schedule your campaign and then do it again tomorrow. Your system should make it clear that today you’re calling 10 people for the 1st time and will therefore leave the 1st voice mail in your script, but there are also 15 people to call for the 2nd time. The sales force automation system should make it clear who to leave which voice mail message for.