How can we make cold calls “work” when we’re talking to someone we haven’t met, about something they may not need?
Well, it’s really simple. First we look at how to relate to them rather than hoping they’ll relate to us and our solution. When we approach cold calling with a question about what their needs are, potential clients respond much more readily to the idea of talking with us.
To help you with this, here are a few examples of dialogues within four very different industries.
In the staffing or recruiting industry, the goal is to call a company and identify whether they need help finding new staff. The old cold calling approach is, “Hi. My name is… I’m with XYZ Staffing Company, and we offer these services. I’m just calling to…” And by that time, the person pretty much says, “We’re not interested,” right?
With this new cold calling approach, the idea is to think about the problem you’re solving. The problem you’re solving is helping them find good people. So I would start the conversation with, “Maybe you can help me out for a second?” And they usually say, “How can I help you?”
I reply, “I’m just calling to see if your company is still looking at finding good, quality employees to hire?”
The response to that is likely to be, “Well sure. Who’s this?” This is a normal response which we want to be ready for. I would simply say, “My name is Ari and I’m with XYZ Staffing Company and we help companies identify and find good people. I’m just calling to see if your company is in a situation now where you’re looking to hire and find new people.”
Let’s say you’re in the software industry, and that you sell software to improve the productivity of an organization. What you want to do is focus on the problem that you solve specifically. What most software salespeople do in cold calling is say, “Hi, we sell software to help improve productivity.” But that doesn’t really identify the problem it solves. You have to focus specifically on an issue.
So, for instance, the software might solve a problem with lost paper-based documents. That’s a very specific issue. In this case, I might call and say, “I’m just calling to see if your company is having issues with lost paperwork because of manual paper-based filing systems.”
See how specific that is? It’s very directed to the problem in their world. This is in contrast to, “I want to see if your company is looking to buy some software or looking to improve productivity,” or something similar.
Advertising is a very good example. Typically, what most advertising sales folks start with is an introduction. They talk about their advertising product or services that they offer. But with our problem solving approach, the question becomes, “What does advertising solve for people?” The first thought usually is that it gets people leads. It gets more branding.
Let’s go deeper than that. What do leads do for companies? Leads provide sales, right? So if I sell advertising, I might call and say, “Maybe you can help me out for a second. I’m just calling to see if your company is open to new ideas of generating leads for your business.”
From this place, the discussion unfolds around their world, and not your advertising. That’s the real shift in making cold calling relevant to their world.
Another example is the collections industry. Typically, collection agencies call companies to see if they can be hired to collect invoices that are unpaid. They usually talk about their services as opposed to making their cold calling focus on the problem.
The client is looking to bring in more revenue from invoices that aren’t paid. So an approach might be, “Maybe you can help me out for a second?” The reply is once again, “Sure, how can I help you?”
“I’m just calling to see if your company is still having issues with unpaid invoices.” And the response probably will be, “Well, yeah, we are. Who’s this?”
You can then respond in a very relaxed tone, “This is John. I’m with XYZ Collection Agency. I’m just calling to see if you’d be open to some new ideas on how to better solve that problem.” These are some examples of how to make your cold calling relevant to the other person and his or her needs. Practice this, and you’ll find that your cold calling conversations become more relaxed. You’ll no longer have to shift into an artificial “salesperson” role.