The dreaded first, or cold sales “call”, to someone new is ripe with opportunities for things to go wrong.
Whether it’s a phone call, email, or face-to-face visit, these first calls often go wrong before the contact is even initiated. Why is that? Is it because so many buyers are still adverse to a stranger contacting them? Is it because of the discomfort or fear of rejection on your end? It could be, but I think the ONE big thing that kills your first sales cold starts with the objective for making the connection in the first place.
Think about your objective when making a first call… Is it to share information or introduce yourself? How far do you get with those first calls? If you don’t get time with the prospect or an appointment scheduled, the call was a waste of your time and energy…and theirs.
Identifying the right objective is key to achieving a successful first sales call.
Last week I coached a sales rep who wanted to discuss his cold call approach and results when making door-to-door calls. Yes, in his business, that is still one great way to get in front of new people who work in industrial shops. As he explained, summer time leaves a lot of doors open, literally, in the industrial parks where his ideal customers reside.
He explained that he was able to gather information about the owners before approaching the shop but didn’t want them to think he was stalking them or to freak them out. He wanted to introduce himself and make them aware of his company.
His results? He was successful he said because they took his card and brochure and now could put his face with the name of his company.
“Good job,” I said and congratulated him on his achievement because after all he was meeting his objective–an introduction and them seeing his face. Next I asked, “How did that introduction advance your sale or open the opportunity to determine if they had a need for your product?”
Then he laughed and said, “I guess it doesn’t.”
It happens all too often, the objective and expectation are set too low, or too generic to truly qualify prospects, start the real sales conversation, and secure the next step in the sales process.
Productive first sales call objectives include:
- Qualifying the company or person which can include:
- Identifying the decision maker for your solution and securing their contact information
- Identifying whether the prospect has a specific process, product, or service currently in place (then you know you have to remove the incumbent)
- Scheduling an appointment
- Time at that moment to begin the sales conversation
- A specific introduction to someone in or outside of the company
- Any specific next step in your sales process
Those are concrete objectives that can be measured. If you are meeting your objectives, then keep on going. If you aren’t, it’s time to dissect how you are making the call and making adjustments to find the right flow, questions, and information to share for your type of business.
If you want to increase the probability of making your cold calls productive, begin by skipping the one big thing that kills the first sales call, an unproductive objective that gets you nowhere. Replace it with a measurable objective that advances the sales opportunity, collects information you need, or disqualifies the opportunity so you can spend your time on closable sales.
On October 18th Nancy will kick off the first-ever fully virtual Genuine Sales course. Live, facilitated group sessions that are interactive and designed to get you the information you need to sell more, reduce price discounting, and increase your confidence are the key to building the skills you need.
Click here for more information or contact Nancy by scheduling time using her handy dandy calendar scheduler here.