5 Tips For Handling Today’s NEW Cold Call

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

22 November, 2011

Woman callingIn the recent post, “Today’s Warm Call is the New Cold Call,” I uncovered the fact that with today’s modern prospecting avenues, sales people are often able to establish some contact with a prospective customer before making a telephone call.  In that sense, the traditional cold call is becoming a thing of the past.

However, I also pointed out that the ensuing first telephone call to the prospect, while a bit warmer than in the past, still offers similar sales challenges like the cold call.  Following are five powerful tips to keep in mind when making that new type of cold call.

#1:  The Gatekeeper Screen
Just because you have made contact with the decision maker (DM) and may even have established some rapport, does not mean you will not face a gatekeeper screen (GK) when you call.  You cannot assume that the DM has informed the GK of your call, or that the DM may even recognise you by name when you call.  Hopefully, when you inform the GK of your previous contact or that the DM is expecting your call, you get right through.  However, you must be prepared to face and overcome a screen much like you would when making a cold call.

Also, do not over exaggerate your relationship with the DM to the GK.  Do not make it sound like you are long-time pals just because you shared a few emails or say that the DM is expecting your call if he or she is not.   If you overstate your relationship with the DM to the GK; it will come back to bite you!

#2: Do Not Smile and Tone Down the Enthusiasm
Just as in a cold call, you have to be careful not to project the image of a stereotypical telemarketer.  It is a shame to invest a lot of time establishing rapport with the prospect via e-communication, only to throw it all away by coming on with the old Smile & Dial persona in the first call.

Keep in mind that until you speak to the prospect, you still have not yet established a solid first impression.  Your website, emails and other e-contact helps to set the stage for your introduction, but does not replace it.  You must project the proper image within the first few seconds of the call.

#3: Proper Introduction 
Of course this depends on the extent of the contact you established before the call, but keep in mind that you and the prospect have not been “properly introduced.”  Also, remember that today’s modern buyer may have dozens of similar contacts from tons of other people, and may not instantly remember or recognise who you are.   Don’t assume that the mere mention of your name will spark warm and cordial feelings from the DM.  Introduce yourself and the nature of your call.

Sales Person:
“Yes, Steve?  James Smith, AAA Widgets.  We met on LinkedIn recently, and I’m calling to follow up on your question…” 

#4: Confirm Time and Convenience
Like a cold call, you want to confirm that the timing of your call is convenient.  Even if you were able to set an appointment time to call; remember that things come up and plans change in the course of a normal business day.  Reconfirm that your call is well-timed when you reach the DM.

Sales Person:
“Yes, Steve?  James Smith, AAA Widgets.  We met on LinkedIn recently, and I’m calling to follow up on your question about extended warranties.  How is my timing, Steve? Do you have a quick moment now?”

#5: Confirm and Qualify
You may need to reconfirm information and electronic correspondence that the prospect is supposed to have received.  Don’t assume that the prospect has received all of your information or has read the material.  Also, depending on the situation, you may want to re-qualify the DM.  This does not have to be a long and elaborate undertaking if you have positive foreknowledge.  Just double check to make sure you have proper ID on the real VIP.

Sales Person:
“Yes, Steve?  James Smith, AAA Widgets.  We met on LinkedIn recently, and I’m calling to follow up on your question about extended warranties.  How is my timing, Steve? Do you have a quick moment now?”

Prospect: 
“Sure.  This is ok.”

Sales Person:
“Thanks, Steve.  Let me just double check…did you receive the brochure with the updated pricing I emailed?”

Prospect:
“Yeah.  Have it right here…opening it up as we speak.”

Sales Person:
“Great.  And you handle the maintenance as well as the actual purchasing of widgets and warranties for ABC Corporation, is that right?”

Don’t take that warm call for granted.  Remember, you have invested time and money in the lead, but you still have steps to complete in the sales process.

Remember that with today’s modern and sophisticated buyer, that warm call is still a bit chilly.

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
Bestselling Author, Sales Authority & Speaker On Modern Day Selling Methods

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