Art Sobczak is a leading sales trainer and coach. He works with thousands of sales people each year helping them get more business by phone. His approach to cold calling is to turn it on its head and to start thinking of it as smart calling.
What is a Smart Call?
A smart call is knowing something about the person before you call them.
Sobczak’s questions whether rejection is something that happens to us or something we define in our minds. Rejection is not an experience. It’s a definition of the experience. So you need to change your definition of rejection or eliminate it from your vocabulary altogether. To change your definition of rejection you can start setting objectives for your call (see below). Setting mini goals will help you realize the value each call brings to you.
How to Smart Call
Let’s assume you have a referral from your marketing team. Here are some steps you can follow to turn your cold call into a smart call. Remember that speed is of the essence. If someone has shown an interest in your organization you need to make contact within 24 hours. Otherwise they will quickly forget about you and use the services of your competition.
- Before you pick up the phone have a primary and secondary objective for your call:
- Primary – what action do you want to see happen at the end of the call?
- Secondary – what can you attempt on every call e.g. asking the prospect if they want to stay on your prospect list or when their existing contract expires with their current supplier.
2: What can you uncover about them through their digital footprint? Google them and also look at their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profile. Can you identify a link between their referral and their online presence?
3: Make a pre-call with the prospect’s organisation to find out further information e.g. if you are selling IT software you might call the IT department and ask them what software they use already.
4: Call the prospect and open strongly by telling them your name and the organization you work for. Never apologize for calling e.g. “I’m sorry to bother you…”.
5: Be clear about the reason for your call e.g. tell the prospect you have been passed their details as they downloaded your white paper. Include some details of the information you have found out online about them or drop in some useful current affairs information. The key here is to come across as being useful rather than a detective.
6: Move the conversation on by saying that you want to check all your prospect’s questions were answered when they read your white paper and that you have some additional information they may find useful (you need to have this extra information prepared before you call).
7: Use open questions to keep the prospect talking.
8: Agree next steps and close.
9: After the call ask your what you learnt from the call.
Sobczak asks people to “think bigger and act bigger” – ask for bigger sales, ask for longer term contracts – this will naturally create bigger wins for yourself.