Marketing Tip of the Week
"Hi, I'm Calling to Interrupt Your Dinner with a Totally Irrelevant Sales
(How to Open a Cold Call, If You Must)
As I'm known mainly for my opposition to
cold calling, I was surprised to get an email recently that asked me
to give advice about cold calling. My correspondent wrote, "I'm
getting a lot of hang-ups. I need a script."
Here's my answer. My techniques for getting rid of cold calling
involve a marketing technique called "lead generation" - the idea is,
people call you rather than you calling them.
As for cold calling techniques themselves, I don't believe any of them
work (think of the lame scripts people read to you at dinnertime)
because the chances of you being interested in talking to a complete
stranger at that moment about the thing they want to talk to you about
is practically nil. The odds are so poor, if you're good at sales, why
wouldn't you want to spend your time selling to
qualified prospects. And if you're bad at selling, why attempt it in
the most difficult situation there is?
If you must cold call because of company policy or because you
donít have 10 cents to spend on advertising, the thing I would do is
immediately distinguish yourself from the army of cold callers
battering down your prospects' doors every day.
Think about your prospects: what's on their minds? Who else has tried
to sell to them this week? Why on earth would they talk to you at this
moment? Now, if you have to cold call, what's the first thing you
could say to lower their defenses?
Certainly not a canned script with a rhetorical question, like, "You
want to save money on your long distance telephone service, do you?"
Nor an insincere question, "Hello, my name is Howard Jacobson. How are
Depending on what you're selling and who's answering the phone, you
need to come up with a genuine statement that respects their time and
their intelligence and makes not talking to you as OK as
talking to you.
How about, "Hi, this is Howard Jacobson from xyz. This is a cold call
about abc. Is now a good time to talk?" By identifying yourself and
your motives up front, you take away some of their suspicion. By
asking about their time, you show respect. How would you respond to a
sincere voice asking that on the phone?
Or when dealing with a gatekeeper, "Hi, this is Howard Jacobson from
xyz, calling for Big Boss about improving her abc. She doesn't have
the vaguest clue who I am - can you help me see if this is something
she'd be interested in right now?" You donít try to blast past the
gatekeeper, but help him do him job - protecting his boss's time from
clueless cold callers.
Resources for Cold Callers
First, I'd look at a book called "Selling
with Integrity," by Sharon Drew Morgen. Many of my cold calling
suggestions (which, thankfully, I'm totally rusty at) are inspired by
her brilliant analysis of the selling process. Get it by clicking
Second, I'd become familiar with direct response marketing. My own
Leads into Gold, can help with cold calling, even though its
express purpose is to eliminate the need for cold calling entirely. If
you must cold call, the marketing techniques (especially the toolkit
section on "Getting Down with Your Market") will prepare you to hone
in on what's really important to your prospects, and at least have a
chance to make your pitch. And if you'd like to beat the cold
calling addiction, you can do that too! Download two chapters for free
Let it shine!
To find out how I can help you stop cold calling forever, email me at
call me at home during dinnertime - I'M JUST KIDDING!
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