October 4, 2011 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: communication, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, negotiating, Sales meeting ideas, training
The opening moments of a cold call are the most critical. The primary challenge in those opening moments?
It’s to get the prospect past the “I’m not interested” or “I’m happy with my present supplier” responses.
The best way to do that is to get prospects interested enough in your opening statement to give you time to make a presentation.
4 characteristics of successful openings
A successful opening has four characteristics:
- It’s provocative, opening a dialogue instead of delivering a simple selling message
- It’s short, able to be understood in a matter of minutes
- It’s credible, because the salesperson believes in the message being delivered, and
- It creates value by uncovering an unrecognized problem or revealing an unanticipated solution.
6 tips for top-notch openings
Here are six ways open a cold call successfully:
- Establish rapport immediately. Studies show that getting an appointment during a cold call depends 65% on the rapport the salesperson establishes with the prospect and only 35% on the product or service. Unless you get the prospect’s attention quickly, having the best product or service won’t result in a sale.
- Identify key problems. Prospects become customers when salespeople solve problems for them. The difficulty with problems is not in finding them but in getting prospects to admit them. To overcome the initial barrier of resistance, try to find out exactly what’s important to the prospect and why.
- Distinguish the prospect’s goals. A salesperson becomes invaluable to the prospect when the salesperson shows that he or she understands the prospect’s goals and has the ability to help the prospect reach them.
- Develop the ability to persevere. Once problems are identified, back up your solutions with persistence and determination. Don’t consider the possibility of failure. The ability to persist is what it takes to overcome the most difficult obstacles in opening new accounts.
- Understand the objectives and strategy of the prospect’s current supplier. It’s not enough to think about how to convert a prospect to a customer. You also have to think about winning the battle with the present supplier, your competitor. Try to evaluate the present supplier’s position, strengths, weaknesses, strategy and resources.
- Demonstrate credibility. It’s not enough to tell prospects you offer better service or quality than your competitors during a cold call. Prospects want to hear specifics about why you’re better.
Adapted from the book Lessons from 100,000 Cold Calls by Stewart Rogers, a sales trainer.