When I started my agency, I began attending every networking event I could get into. Beyond trying to get clients, I chiefly wanted to learn how other top companies were getting clients.
What I learned was every top company, from Verizon to ADT Alarm Systems makes cold calls. So, I disciplined myself to spend a portion of my time each day making cold calls.
When I started, I followed all of the traditional rules.
I came in with a huge claim.
I followed a script.
I focused on forcing the client to accept a proposal which should give me the best chances of converting them into a client.
How Unlearning How to Make Cold Calls Made Me 10xs More Effective
Now, I am a great salesperson. However, I was having no luck making sales calls.
When I can get a meeting with a client, I have a 92% close rate. You're damn right! However, I wasn't getting any meetings and the reason was simple: Everyone I called had heard the same bullshit approach I was learning to do at least 4 times a day!
Let me share a story with you.
In high school, a friend of mine was trying to get a date with a very attractive female he would see when we would change classes.
The problem was, this girl got asked out at least 5 times a week! Moreover, the pickup attempts of these competitors of my friend were both lame and pathetic.
However, we knew what these pickup lines were, just like you and I know all about the traditional rules of cold calling. For example, guys would compliment her smile. Wow, she's NEVER heard that one before!!
They would ask her to the Social (weekly dance) that Friday night. Who wasn't?! Some were even stupid enough to get her number from a friend and call her without her permission. Sound like a marketing tactic you know of?
So, the point is, here we have people carrying out the same sales startegy, on the same person with the same bullshit approach day-in and day-out. Are you surprised this doesn't work?
Now, let me share with you what I (and my friend) did differently to make cold calling (and getting a date with the proverbial prom queen) as effective as a Kardashian getting photographed.
Bullshit Rule of Cold Calling #1: Open with a Giant Promise
This is always the hallmark of the classic cold call:
"We eliminate your debt in 90 days!"
"We get your website ranked at the top of Google within 2 weeks!"
'We come to your home, change your baby's diapers, clean up your dog's poo and make you dinner for less than half you're paying right now."
A big opening around a tremendous benefit is a great way to tell people; yes, you're following a script; no, you probably don't really understand that person's condition; and yes, you aimlessly make these calls all day long.
If the customer has heard that promise even once before in a cold call, they are instantly turned off. Again, he who hath doesn't stand out, doesn't get paid.
So, now that I've torn down that bullshit approach to cold calling, focus on my tip for a great opening:
New Rule of Cold Calling Rule 1: Ask Them on a Date
Have you ever asked someone out on a date, or been asked on a date, successfully?
What you probably noticed is it was a conversion with questions, jokes and relationship-priming language. Did you notice a big promise during that exchange? "I will marry you in 2 months or less!"
The similarity between my buddy from above trying to get a date with.... what was that girl's name? It doesn't matter. What does matter is he was real, funny, lived in the moment, and didn't focus on a pitch that would work if applied to as many people as possible. He planned the right pitch, for the right person at the right time.
The point is this, treat your sales call as if you are literally trying to learn more about the person you're talking to, and how to improve their condition. The problem with pre-determined promises is some focus on increasing profits, which is when you'll hear from a prospect, "profits are fine, efficiency is bad -- no thank you!"
Some sales call promises are focused on increasing market share, when a prospect might respond, "I have enough market share -- I want more money from the customers I already serve."
The point is, how can you begin to know how you fit into a prospect's life before you even speak to them?
So, throw your big promise you would normally start out with in the trash. Making a sales call is all about meeting someone new, identifying their needs, and proposing your solution. That's it, and nothing more.
So, the point is to focus the call on building a future relationship with the lead. Explain to them this is the best way you acquire new clients, and you'd like to learn more about them,, and see if there is a logical and mutually beneficial fit.
After all, isn't that the truth, or were you just hoping to sell them shit they may not even need? A script and bullshit promise ALWAYS screams that.
Yes, the whole idea of the call is to get into a position where they will say yes to a first date (meeting, proposal, vote, donation, etc.).
Bullshit Rule of Cold Calling #2: Use a Script
What's the best way to turn someone off? Call them and tell them something that it's obvious you have told hundreds of other people. People are like feet. Some feet need a big shoe. Some feet need a medically prescribed shoe. Some feet sweat so bad that they need clogs and sandals. Some feet have been all mangled due to some freak lawnmower accident.
The point is, if feet need that much personalization, how much personalization does the human mind require with all of its embedded experiences, prejudices, values, experiences, etc. etc.? My guess is, a hell of a lot to be made to feel comfortable.
Because of this, script reading is like applying one shoe size to the thousands of feet you will be calling. Yes, using a script will eventually have some success. After all, if I throw a ball at a glass window from 500 feet away, you'll eventually be successful at breaking it. However, wouldn't you rather have the best possible fighting chance of getting a client for every person you call?
Of course you would!
New Rule of Cold Calling Rule 1: Salesmen Only Zone
I have been complimented over and over and over again by prospects that I have made sales calls to.
"I get 4 cold calls a day and ignore every last one, but you seem like a cool guy I bet can help me."
This is a very common compliment I hear all of the time. The reason I hear this all of the time is because:
- I don't use a damn script
- I have a valuable product
- I am a great salesperson
Yes, you actually need a salesperson to make a sales call! Can you believe it?
A lot of big companies simply hire people, give them a script and force them to make sales calls day in and day out.
The bottom line is you need to be a salesperson to make a sale, and anything else is like putting a fin on a dolphin and calling it a shark.
Don't compete — DOMINATE.
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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.