Thought it would be good to follow up on the cold calling tips that I put out about two years ago.. Over that time not only has my approach changed but so have the people I’m calling.

Here are some thoughts based on my own experiences of selling and being sold to.

Things I hate

  • People who are only after the sale and don’t care about my goals
  • Overly scripted calls
  • Those who aren’t clear about their intentions

Qualify Early

People are way too used to being sold to badly by sales people who want to close on the first call. As soon as you start talking to someone you need to capture their attention and prove that you’re going to be worth talking to.

  • I’m not trying to get you to buy anything
  • Tell them how much time it’s going to take
  • Social proof

Have a reason, go softly

This was one of the hardest things when I started calling people. All calls need to have a reason, ‘why are you calling me’ is going though your prospects head at 160mph..

  • To see if there’s a good fit
  • Our products don’t work for everyone..
  • Get on the map with you (popular in tech)

What’s your best reason? Comment below..

80:20

You know that friend of yours who can’t stop bragging about their car, their cute kids, their awesome life or how they’re an absolute machine in bed?

Well if the person you’re calling isn’t talking, then that is you my friend..

Once the person you’re talking to understands what you’re calling about and you’ve given them a reason for you to ask them questions. You want them to be talking.

Add Value – If I don’t think you understand our business…
What I hate is when someone trys to sell me something without knowing what my needs are. This happened two weeks ago. A web agency got in contact with me and I could tell their only goal was to get me to commit to a monthly retainer. They tried that on our first call.

I didn’t feel that they understood what I wanted to achieve. He added zero value and didn’t really get me to explain what we do in a structured way.

Best sales call I ever got
There’s a small business insurance company called Hiscox. When I was starting EveryCity one of the things I worried about was being sued for taking peoples servers offline. So I called around all of the insurance companies I could find.

Hiscox won.

They won because they asked the right questions. They proved that they knew about my business by asking things only someone who know about hosting would know. Even questions that we probably should have known, but didn’t at the time.. Questions like ‘How many ┬úpounds of transactions happen on your servers each month’, ‘Are you storing credit card details’, ‘What are in your SLAs’… No one else even got close to these questions, they just wanted to know our turnover.

5th call

These guys don’t give up, neither should you..

It’s easy to tell someone to go away once. Much more difficult to do 5 or 25 times. Eventually they’ll give you the time of day. Quite simply sales won’t happen unless you make the calls.

Exit strategies

I’m not talking about exit strategies for you. I’m talking about the client. You need to give them the opportunity to say no without burning your relationship. Senior people respect this as you’re acknowledging they are busy and it shows maturity on the side of the sales person.

Brits especially are notoriously bad at saying no go away so you need to make it easier.

So early on:

  • Are you busy?
  • Is this a good time to talk?
  • This will take x minutes and if you’re not interested just tell me..
  • I know you’re really busy right now so won’t be offended if now isn’t a good time…

Closing

The worst thing someone can say to you is ‘Send me some information’. This doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s an objection and needs to be handled off the bat..

Your carefully written sales material will be going here:

Ask a direct question rather than fannying around
‘On a scale of 1-10, 1 being not at all interested and 10 being really interested’ what do you think about what we’ve just talked about?

If you’re under 5 then they’re not interested or it’s not a priority. You can either troubleshoot and see if you can make sure they’ve properly understood what you do or give up. ‘So what would make you a 10 or even a 6?’

An offer they can’t refuse
What can you get them to commit to? A next call? A meeting in their/your office where you’ll show what you’ve been doing in their sector…

Record everything

Google analytics doesn’t just record visits to a site every so often. It captures every visitor, what they looked at and where they ended.

So do the same with your calls. Keep notes, who did you speak to, what did they say, when was their childs birthday again? What did you ask them and what came out of the call at the end.

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