Hate prospecting? Most sales people do. Rejection isn’t something that most of us actively seek. But it’s way more than that.
Most professionals I talk to dislike prospecting because it often involves “techniques” – techniques that are manipulative, inauthentic and devised to trick the prospect into saying yes. No wonder those of us who pride ourselves on helping others succeed and doing the right thing, hate doing it.
Here’s another reason I hear about why folks hate prospecting: Prospects have so often been tricked (or others have tried to trick and/or manipulate them) that they expect every cold caller to be devious. Protective armor clicks on as soon as they recognize they’re being “cold called.”
Today, though, every sales person needs to reach out to new prospects. Here are 5 ways to align your cold calling strategy with your values:
1. Be honest! Tell your truth.
If you don’t know them, tell them how you found their name:
Hi Bill, This is Sue Hershkowitz-Coore and your name was given to me by the Phoenix Convention and Visitors bureau. They told me you’re looking for great local speakers for your 2010 meeting in Phoenix. We don’t know each other so I’m hopeful I’m not being a pest. (Then, wait to hear what they say.)
2. Engage them in the conversation – slowly
When you don’t know someone, you have no right to ask them how they are! And, really, do you care how they are? So knock off the fake stuff. Ask permission to ask your questions.
Hi Bill, This is Sue Hershkowitz-Coore and your name was given to me by the Phoenix Convention and Visitors bureau. They told me you’re looking for great local speakers for your 2010 meeting in Phoenix. We don’t know each other so I’m hopeful I’m not being a pest.
Oh, thank you. I’m wondering if I can ask if you’ve selected your speakers yet. (Then, wait to hear what they say.)
3. Learn what matters to see if your solution fits
What would you authentically say if they answered your question? Maybe it would sound something like:
That’s great news! May I ask what criteria you’ll be using to select your speakers? (Then, wait to hear what they say.)
4. Clarify – Earn the right to advance (Thank you, Michael Hills!)
Listen as they tell you what is important to them. Be courteous. Start your response by thanking them (authentically) for their candor.
Thank you. So, it sounds like I fit perfectly into 2 of your 3 criteria categories. Would it be okay if I told you how I fit and how I might not? (Then, wait to hear what they say.)
You mentioned that you’re looking for a person with credibility and not just someone who speaks for a living. I’m a published author and not self-published – McGraw Hill and Prentice Hall are my publishers and one of my books, Power Sales Writing, has been translated into 3 languages. Both books are 5 Star rated on Amazon.com. You said that someone with a global viewpoint is needed for this group. I speak internationally and have had the privilege of speaking in Australia, Singapore, the UK, Mexico and Canada. I only speak English though, is that okay? (Then, wait to hear what they say.)
I’m not sure if I fit into that third category about low fees though. Does it help that I discount my fees a10% when I work locally? Does that help? (Then, wait to hear what they say.)
5. Question to see if your solution is best before saying it is
Thank you. Yes, my standard fees are XXXX and XXXX. With no travel expenses…
Ideally of course, I would have preferred to learn more about his topic needs, number of people, etc before launching into a discussion of fees but he had already told me the 3 things that were important to him. Topic wasn’t one of them. And the call was about connecting with the buyer not pushing my agenda.
Cold-calling can be easy and profitable when you focus on being authentic and helpful.
What do you do to “keep it real”?