4 steps to warm up cold calling conversations
Our thoughts are always at the basis of our behaviors. If our thoughts are fixed on the goal of making a sale, then we’re not really being forthright. We’re not focused on the conversation or the truth of a situation. We’re chasing people — or at least chasing the sale.
Here are 5 important steps to help end the "chasing game" in our cold calling efforts.
1. Avoid reading from a script
Life is not a script, nor are normal conversations. When we read from a script, we’re not being natural. We’re playing a role. And that means we’re chasing a sale rather than enjoying an opportunity to meet someone new and find out if we can help them.
Allowing a conversation to naturally flow helps you enter into a dialogue based on trust, which lets your potential client’s real issues emerge.
Formal scripts, on the other hand, don’t give you the freedom to take conversations in the direction they may naturally want to go. And this feels stilted and awkward.
If you begin to view your cold calls as conversations or dialogues, you’ll find it easy to let go of the idea of scripts. And you’ll sense the shift of the energy in your conversation when the emphasis of the call is about the person you’re talking with and not about your making a sale.
So generate a spontaneous conversation, based on the problems you can help the other person solve. This will diffuse your feelings of being awkward and artificial, and allow you to enjoy the journey.
2. Address a Core Problem
People connect with you when they feel you understand their issues before you focus on yourself and your solutions. Come up with two or three specific problems that your product or service solves. And talk about it with the potential client first, before offering your sales pitch.
When you offer your presentation or solution without first involving the other person by talking about a core problem they might be having, you are focused on the sale rather than the conversation. And your whole energy tends to drive the interaction into a sales mode. Remember, whenever someone feels "chased," they usually run.
So stop for a moment. Convey that you’re a problem solver. Invite a mutual exchange of information that explores whether there’s a possibility that the two of you might work together. Help them understand that your thoughts and goals are not focused on selling them anything at all.
Most people will welcome your interest in their problem as long as you’re not operating out of the hidden agenda of making a sale. So overcome the temptation to discuss what you have to offer and move into focusing on your caller’s world. Invite discussion, express interest, and stop chasing the sale.
3. Uncover the Truth of the Situation
Make your objective to uncover the truth of the potential client’s situation and to be okay with the outcome, whether it’s a yes or a no.
We can do this by checking in at various times in the conversation to make sure it makes sense to continue the dialogue. If we just move ahead without doing this, we’re in "chase mode." And in this case, we may be chasing something very unrealistic for this particular potential client.
So we ask important questions such as, "Is this a top priority for you to solve right now?" We may find that the potential client is very interested in working with us, but the budget or staffing may simply be too thin at this time.
We stop at various checkpoints in our conversation to make sure we’re moving ahead together. If our thoughts are fixed only on our own goal of eventually securing the sale, we can miss very important signals that the other person may actually have no intention of following through.
4. Where do We Go From Here?
Here’s something very surprising. Allow the conversation to end without chasing other person into an sales appointment or commitment, and the other person will often be the one who initiates further contact.
So when you feel as if the conversation is coming to a natural conclusion, you can simply say, "Well, where do you think we should go from here?"
This question reassures potential clients that you’re not using the conversation to fulfill your own hidden agenda. It invites the other person to take charge of where things are going, and all you need do is follow along.
When you stop chasing the sale, you’ll be truly surprised at how often the sale gently awaits you within a friendly conversation focusing on the needs of others.