Cold calling? You lost me at hello

by Steli Efti

cold-call-reaction

If you’re doing cold calls the way most sales reps do it, you’re already losing out with the first words coming out of your mouth.

It’s a really bad opening move that determines the outcome of the battle from the get-go.

Want to know what I’m talking about?

Take a moment to think back to the last couple of cold calls you received, where someone whom you didn’t know and never heard of called you in the middle of the day and tried to sell you something.

Go ahead, close your eyes and play back that mental movie. How did those cold calls start?

Here’s a typical scenario that probably matches your experience: You pick up a call from a number you don’t recognize, wondering, "Who is this?"

What you hear from the other end of the line is a monotonous telesales rep delivering a high-speed staccato speech filled with big words no human being would ever use in a real conversation.

Whatever the actual words are, the message you get as a recipient of such a call is: THIS IS A SALES PITCH! I’M DIALING HUNDREDS OF NUMBERS A DAY AND SAY THE EXACT SAME THINGS TO EVERYBODY, AND IF YOU DON’T END THIS CONVERSATION I WILL JUST KEEP ON BLABBERING UNTIL YOU BUY!

If you confuse prospects, you lose prospects

As a sales rep who’s done tens of thousands of cold calls, you know exactly what you’re saying. You’ve said it so many times, I could wake you up in the middle of the night by throwing a bucket of ice water at you, and you’d be able to immediately recite your lines.

You know your script inside out.

But your prospect doesn’t. Your prospect doesn’t have the context you have.

You need to speak clearly and allow people to process your message. Don’t cover ten different points if your prospect still hasn’t caught up to the first point you’ve made.

What’s the first question you need to answer on a cold call?

You need to let them know who you are! And you don’t do that by saying: “Hithisisjohnfromdynamicgrowthaccelerationandinnovationincorporatedweprovidecompanieswithcuttingedgecustomeracquisitionsystemswhichdrivetargetedrevenueincreasesyaddayaddayadda”.

It's almost impossible to decipher this when it’s written that way, and you can’t understand it when the words attack you as if you’re under heavy machinegun fire.

So instead, clearly communicate who you are. Give your words some weight and allow them to sink in.

So you say: “Hi, this is Steli.” [Pause a second]

Prospect thinks: “Steli, Steli … do I know this guy?”

“I’m calling from Close.io” [Pause a second]

Prospect thinks: “Close.io? Hmm … should I know them?”

“What we do in a sentence is we help sales teams close more deals. Is this a bad time to for a quick chat?”

Now if they say "No, it’s not a bad time", you’ve got their permission to pitch! They know who you are. They know what you do. They know your company. And now you’ve got their explicit permission to pitch.

Get yourself in the right state

When you’re cold calling, the tone of your voice is of crucial importance. Especially in B2B calls, people often try to be “a professional salesperson”—even though nobody, neither you, nor me, nor anyone else, wants to speak to that kind of person.

Don’t optimize for "professionalism", optimize for high energy. Optimize for being the kind of person people want to talk to.

A high energy yet calm demeanor works fine. A high energy and infectious enthusiasm work fine too.

What doesn’t work is low energy.

If you don’t convey the value of what you’re offering on an emotional level, then you’re conveying that it has no value. Even if you say the right words, if you deliver them ineffectively, they will fail to have an impact.

Part of being a great salesperson is being a great actor. Great actors don’t fake emotions. They trigger emotions, allowing them to access and utilize them at will.

It’s not about faking enthusiasm, but about putting yourself in a high energy state where your genuine enthusiasm shines through.

How to speak so people listen

You don’t need to have a voice like Morgan Freeman that’ll naturally make people want to listen. Just use your own voice more effectively.

Slow down, enunciate, speak loudly and give your words space and weight.

Listen to yourself talk, both while you're on the phone as well as listening back to your call recordings. (Our Business plan makes it easy to automatically record all your sales calls and securely store them in the cloud. If you haven't tried our sales software yet, start your free 14-day trial now.)

At first, you might be shocked at how often you fall back into that habit of sputtering out words, but very quickly you’ll become more conscious of the way you speak and will be able to communicate with more clarity and impact.

Want to become awesome at selling on the phone? Check this out:

B2B cold calling for startups and SMBs