The days of the cold call are gone – there really is no longer an excuse for not knowing your customer.
We live in an age of massive amounts of data and insights, driven by the web and social media.
I want to tell you the tale of two very different phone sales pitches I got this week.
“Did you get my email?”
My first tell tale sign that it was going to be bad was that it was from a mobile number, which I had missed two calls from already and no voicemail. So the third time I managed to answer it.
“Hello, is that Ben? It’s (someone whose name I can’t recall) from (the name of some company read at a speed that is indecipherable), how are you today?” – no wait for an answer, just barrel into the next part of his script.
Off the bat – he didn’t wait for me to confirm who I was. Strike one. Make absolutely sure who you’re talking to.
“Where are you from, sorry?” – again, the response was indecipherable.
Then the lies started.
“We sent you an email last week about our trading platform, did you receive that?”
“No, what email address did you send it to?”
“ummmm, arrr, not sure, I don’t have that in front of me, but you can check out our website for the information”
The problem here is that they never sent an email, they were looking for an opening to the call. If they did have my details, I would expect they would be able to tell me which one they sent it to.
He then proceeded to go into a long pitch about their online trading platform. At no stage did he qualify my interest in the product.
As I work for a large online broker, I obviously have no interest at all. Had this guy had bothered to have done some research on me, he would know this.
Yet, when I told him no, and the reasons why, he persisted.
We talk a lot about overcoming objections and closing on Talking Media Sales, but there is always a point where your prospect will genuinely NOT be interested. Know what that point, or those signals are.
Finally, he hung up. No “thanks for your time”, just a grunt and then dead air.
Let me tell you now about the other cold call I had.
As someone who lives and breathes social media, I download a lot of white papers on the subject.
Last week I downloaded one of interest. I didn’t opt in to be contacted, but this practice is rare, so I didn’t think anything more if it.
Then I got a call.
“Hi Ben, its (clearly decipherable name) from (clearly decipherable company), how are you today?” (pause, wait for an answer).
“Is this a good time to talk, I’ll only take a couple of minutes of your time?” (pause).
“Firstly congratulations on the new job, how’s it going so far?” Big tick, he’s done some research on LinkedIn.
“I noticed you downloaded a research piece of ours last week, can I ask if it was just a researching thing, or if you are considering services like ours?”
Next big tick – he’s qualified his prospect.
“I’d like the opportunity to talk more about it, is there a convenient time that we could maybe have a coffee and we can chat?”
Home Run – I’m busy, he’s promised me he is only going to take a few minutes of my time, and he stuck to it. He qualified that I was interested and took the next step to an appointment.
As I said at the beginning, making a cold call should not be so cold anymore. So before you pick up the phone, you need to not only know something about the business you are calling, but the person you are going to speak to.
So, head straight to LinkedIn. Spend some time looking for the person you need to speak to, not just the company website.
Check out their public facing profile. This will tell you how long they have been there, if they’ve had any promotions.
Look at their interests, reading lists, anything on there that gives you something to open with that IS ABOUT THEM.
It’s an amazingly powerful tool, and it also can go someway to qualifying them before you even pick up the phone.
If you want to know more, check out my post on what you need to know about LinkedIn.
PHOTO – tychay