How to Develop Rapport in A Cold Call

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

15 July, 2011

Cold Calling words with telephoneIn a prospecting cold call you have but a precious few seconds to accomplish a whole list of objectives, one of which is to get the prospect to continue to listen to you.  Of course, to do this you need to create some rapport with the prospect.  Following are three tips to help you instantly create a stronger rapport with the prospect in a cold call.

#1- Reflect a Like Attitude

First, listen.  Listen intently from the very moment the telephone begins to ring.   Every sound you hear is an important clue as to the prospect’s state of mind.  Listen and reflect back a similar or like attitude.  This does not mean mimic or copy the prospect.  Just slightly adapt to the prospect’s current temperament.

As an example, the prospect answers and you instantly detect an upbeat, enthusiastic and cordial demeanor.  In such a case, you should respond with a similar tone.  Conversely, should the prospect answer with a very business-like, somber attitude, then you should be a bit more subdued and direct.

Drop the Smile & Dial Enthusiasm: The old idea that if you are excited and enthusiastic at the beginning of the cold call, then the prospect will magically become excited and enthusiastic also; is as outdated as the smile and dial era it came from.  Someone who is having a horrible day and is in a miserable mood is not suddenly going to feel better at the sound of your over-animated voice.  Slightly adapt your attitude so that you are on the “same page” with the prospect.

#2 – Adapt to the Formality of the Prospect

Listen carefully in the beginning of the call and the prospect will give you clues as to how formal or informal they are.  Should you refer to this prospect as Mr. Dillon or Steve?  To “warm up” with talk about the weather with some prospects, is the worst thing you can do.  Conversely, with other prospects, not to engage in some small talk could spell disaster.

#3 – Stay Level with the Prospect’s Pace of Speech

Very simply, if the person with whom you are speaking talks very slowly, then you may have to slow down a bit.  On the other hand, should the prospect be a very fast talker, then perhaps you need to speed up a little.

Adapt your attitude, formality and pace to that of the prospect.  Here is an example with the same sales person speaking with two prospects that have very different personalities.

Example 1

Sales Rep:        “Yes, Ethan Roberts, please.”

Prospect:         “This is Mr. Roberts.  What can I do for you?”

Sales Rep:        “Yes, Mr. Roberts, Susan Taylor with Nifty Brand Tools—the reason I’m calling is our records indicate that your compressor warranty is expiring soon.  Do you have a quick minute?”

Our sales rep went straight into business and maintained a similar tone as the prospect.

Example 2

Sales Rep:        “Yes, Ethan Roberts, please.”

Prospect:         “You got him!”

Sales Rep:        “Hi, Ethan! Susan Taylor here at Nifty Brand Tools?  How are you?”

Have a planned not canned telephone interaction and adapt to the prospect’s mood and attitude and you will develop more rapport.

Happy Selling!

Sean
Sean McPheat

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