The Anatomy of a Cold Call

Jeb Blount teaches you how to structure an effective cold call.

Jeb Blount

The Anatomy of a Cold Call

The reality in most sales jobs is if you don’t cold call you will fail. The good news is cold calling is not complicated. It is important, though, to understand what a cold call is.   

When you pick up the phone or walk in the door and interrupt the day of someone who is not expecting you, and whom you do not currently have in your sales pipeline, it is a cold call. You can argue the degrees: warm, hot, cold; but the simple fact remains that you are interrupting their day to talk about something you want them to do or buy.

Make the Cold Call Quick and to the Point

Consider how you feel when your work day is interrupted by someone who is calling you unannounced. It can make you feel irritated, angry or resentful because in most cases the call comes when you are right in the middle of something. So the best case scenario is that the caller gets right to the point and you get off the phone quickly so you can get back to your work.

Now try standing in your prospect’s shoes. They are people just like you who resent having their day interrupted by an unscheduled caller.  Your goal is to make the call quick and to the point so that you achieve your objective, which means qualifying the prospect, setting an appointment, or closing the sale.

Create a Structure and Script to Follow

To do this effectively, cold calls must be structured and scripted so that they are consistent and repeatable. Having a consistent, repeatable structure takes pressure off of you and the prospect. When you are not “winging it" each time you call you won’t have to worry about what to say. And, because you are focused and deliberate, it is respectful of your prospect’s time. Finally, since you are moving fast you make more calls in less time, which in turn keeps your pipeline full and gives you more time to spend presenting and closing.

The key is keeping it simple.

Cold calls must be structured and scripted so that they are consistent and repeatable.

Start with their name. If you know the person’s first name use it. This get’s their attention because nothing sounds sweeter to them than their own name.

Tell them who you are and why you are calling. Never forget that you are interrupting their day. They will appreciate that you are straight forward and get right to the point.

Give them a reason to listen to you. The person you are calling couldn't care less about your product, service, or features. They only care about what is relevant to their problems.

Ask for what you want. Don’t waste any time here. If you are qualifying, ask for the information you need to determine your next step. If you want an appointment, ask for a day and time, and if you want to close the sale ask for the business.

Then shut up. The single biggest cold calling mistake salespeople make is they keep talking instead of giving their prospect the opportunity to respond to a request.

A well structured, scripted cold call should sound like this:

“Hi Julie, my name is Jeb Blount and I’m with SalesGravy.com. The reason I’m calling is I just read an article online that said your company is going to add 200 new sales positions over the next year. That’s a pretty big hiring objective and we believe we can help you. Right now several companies in your industry are already using Sales Gravy exclusively for sourcing sales candidates and they are very happy with the results we are delivering. Most people in your position like to schedule a demo of our online sales recruiting tool before talking any further. I’ve got a few slots open on Wednesday afternoon or Friday morning. What do you think will work best for you?”

That’s it – Quick and Dirty style: Use their name, tell them who you are, let them know why you are calling, give them a reason to listen, ask for what you want, and shut up.

When you follow this process you’ll find that you stumble over your words less and get what you want more often.

Anticipate Objections

Will there be objections when you ask for what you want?  Absolutely.  This is reality - in sales there are always objections. However, because you wasted no time getting to the objections you will have more time to respond to them, which in turn will give you a better chance of achieving your cold call objectives.

We’ll continue our series on Cold Calling next week. For an additional resource on selling over the phone I highly recommend The Real Secrets of the Top 20% - How to Double Your Income Over the Phone by Mike Brooks. This award winning book is one of the ever written on the subject.

This is Jeb Blount, the Sales Guy. If you have a sales question please send it to salesguy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Sales Call image from Shutterstock

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