When you place that first cold call to a prospect, you only have a limited window of time to make a truly positive impression.
How do you build interest fast?
How do you get in touch with the right person?
And what can you do in the first 5 seconds – that’s right 5 seconds – to greatly affect the course of the cold call?
Here are 4 reasons your cold call fails in the first 5 seconds:
1) You Can’t Pass the Gatekeeper
This will happen. Modern day secretaries or “Administrative Assistants” are trained to not let you pass a red tape setup by senior management to effectively filter out sales calls.
But how can a company grow if they are not listening to potential opportunities to find tools or services to grow their business?
Although this baffles me, I do understand how frustrating it may be to get work done when you are constantly being pitched.
Typically, if you know the name of the business owner or financial decision-maker, passing the gatekeeper will be a cinch.
See with the internet, we can Google or go on LinkedIn and easily find a decision-makers name.
It may seem shady, but when you call to get past the gatekeeper; ask for the decision-maker by name as if you have known them your whole life – don’t use Mr. or Ms. or a last name.
Gatekeepers speak to people all day. They usually don’t remember every voice or person who calls and calls back.
So when you get the gatekeeper who picks up with the phone and says:
“Hello this is Robert at Progressive Sales Strategies, how can I help you?”
Your response should definitely include his name:
“Hey Robert, I was calling for Jill, is she available…?”
You can damage credibility extremely fast by encountering miscommunication.
It has definitely happened to me, and it will definitely happen to you.
Don’t interrupt the gatekeeper!
The second it happens you know the call is over because the prospect or gatekeeper will know you weren’t listening, will stop engaging, and quickly exit the call.
It is not fake to make a gatekeeper feel special, because if you get his or her support you will have them working as an advocate for you forever.
A gatekeeper has more influence on the decision-maker than you might believe or realize.
3) You Don’t Ask a Question
So you get the prospect on the line and it’s silent.
Why aren’t you asking a question?
As the sales rep. your call should primarily consist of questions not statements.
Questions will help you gather information and prolong the call.
Statements are declarations – and declarations are typically your opinion when selling – so you need to show facts.
The only statements you should make are ones where you are expressing your confidence in the product, reinforcing it with stats or telling the client why they need the product.
Gather as much information as you can by asking questions until you find a gap in their needs and fill that with your valuable shiny product.
4) You Pitch Right Off the Bat
If you are already asking for the cheque before you have generated any form of interest, you are going to lose the customer before you even have a chance.
Many people will call and subtly hint at the fact that they are selling something.
You don’t want to seem as though you are selling a product immediately but rather the perception should be that you are looking for a solution to a problem by inquiring about the company.
The longer you become involved in the information gathering process, the higher the likelihood that the client will realize you care about their company and invest their dollars in you.
Build trust to the point where the customer is closing themselves because they cannot resist not having your product or service.
So now that you know the 4 reasons why your cold call fails in the first 5 seconds, what should you do to succeed?
Introduce yourself, ask for the prospect by first name, and then ask a fact finding question.
Even ‘how are you?’ can come across as insincere at times and may seem like phony rapport building – it usually is filler talk anyway.
“Hi Jill, my name is Riaz and I work with company x, what type of model are you currently using to photocopy your documents?”
This way you highlight the product you are selling in your initial question – with care and concern.
They will realize you are inquiring about their photocopier and if you ask the right questions they will begin to wonder whether what they are using currently is really their best option.
This is when you can begin to compare and contrast what they have with the photocopier you have to offer.
It is those first few seconds which really have the biggest impact on a new business relationship.
What do you think works well within the first five seconds of a cold call? Or do you even think that the first impression is really the lasting impression?
How do you defeat a gatekeeper? Do you beat them or join them?