New and experienced B2B callers can benefit from revisiting the fundamentals of a successful cold call.
At a conference last spring I attended a great talk about rehumanizing the sales process. The speaker Shari Levitin shared this simple and helpful acronym to rehumanize and improve a cold call – CALL – Connect, Ask, Listen, Link.
Breaking down the elements that make up a good cold call and using these as a starting point to tailor your own dialogue can be very helpful, especially if you’ve been experiencing sluggish numbers.
Below are ways that I have applied the CALL acronym, incorporating the experience I have learned after two decades in the B2B lead generation industry.
How can you quickly make a connection with a prospect when they’ve just picked up the phone?
It’s important to remember that today’s decision-makers are being bombarded on all frequencies with offers and suggestions of what would make their business run better and more smoothly.
If you want a better chance at next steps you need to be able to make a connection or create a sense of urgency at the beginning of your call in order to stand out from the rest.
One way to connect is to demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s industry or business. Knowing industry terms and common problems that face that industry will indicate to the prospect that you have enough knowledge necessary to understand their needs or business pains.
Positioning your business solution in the sense of what it can do for their organization, and mentioning the impact that it has made on similar organizations you have worked with, helps when trying to make an impact at the outset of your call.
You want to express this in your message, but also in the confidence you can build through your attitude and interest. Giving the prospect a sense that what you have to offer can really impact them positively and that you want to get them there can be the beginning of a real conversation.
As stated before, most decision-makers are getting many offers in their inboxes or through online advertisements with announcements of new products or services. What they don’t need from a phone call is a presentation about the features and benefits of what you have to offer.
What makes a cold call different from other sales efforts is your ability to get a prospect talking about what they are currently experiencing or problems that they are facing. So, it’s essential to ask questions and ask good ones.
Ask open-ended questions. If you ask yes or no questions, you will get short answers that don’t go anywhere and it puts the onus back on you to spark a conversation.
Know ahead of time what kind of information you are looking for, and frame your questions so that your prospect can’t help but reveal valuable information with his or her answer.
Remember that with your questions you can also make a stronger connection by getting a little more personal. For example, “What are problems are you facing with your current program?” is a solid question, but if you tweak it slightly to “If this were resolved, what would that mean for you and your team?” you may gain more insight and a more productive conversation to follow.
This is perhaps the simplest element, but the hardest to master. Get your prospect talking with the right questions and then listen.
Learn to listen for what is said, as well as to what is unsaid. Listen with the intent to understand and not just to be polite until you can fit in your own talking points.
Focus on what your prospect is saying so that you can ask appropriate follow-up questions. Once you get good at it you will be able to listen as well as guide your prospect towards the talking points that can lead to next steps.
The opportunity you have to connect through calling is far superior to what can be done through an email or whitepaper.
If you’ve asked the right questions and listened appropriately, you should be able to lead your call to the point of providing a real solution and an opportunity to make their situation better.
When it comes time to discuss your solution or service, consider if you are linking this opportunity with what is most important to your prospect.
Have you listened well enough to know what would make a positive difference for their business, and consequently their life?
A Better Cold Call Will Result in a Better Connection
Picking up the phone as a B2B salesperson gives you the opportunity for a real connection and a meaningful interaction. This can make all the difference to a decision maker who has heard most of the sales pitches out there.
Is there a way you can link your opportunity that makes it personal and allows you to build trust that will carry through the sales cycle?
Your buyer is a human, and you are too – making a better connection and in the hopes of helping them will have a positive effect.