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It’s Time to Change Your Cold Calling Approach

Cold calling is an integral part of building a sales pipeline and there are five elements to cold calling success that will help you change your approach and improve results.

Cold Calling is a form of business development and it won’t be going away anytime soon. In some cases it’s very effective and in some cases, not at all.

In the past few weeks I’ve gotten a higher number of cold calls to my business than ever before. Most of them were train wrecks and those wrecks compelled me to write this article.

Bad Cold Calls

I took every call and quickly found that I couldn’t listen to their message without wanting to critique them. I gave them the chance to pique my interest, to engage in an open conversation and ask me some questions to see if there was a fit, but they were more interested into launching into their monologue and sales pitch.

They assumed that I needed what they had to offer. Funny how they knew that when the only question they bothered to ask was “are you the person in charge of making decisions for the business?” I ended each of these calls saying the same thing – “thanks but I’m not interested.”

So, cold callers, I decided to send you a letter on behalf of myself and everyone you call to address some concerns about your cold calling approach. An approach that no longer works.

An Open Letter to Cold Callers

Dear Cold Caller,

Recently you called my office and I willingly picked up the phone to have a conversation with you. You immediately launched into what you had to say. Instead of finding out what was important to me you told me what was important to you.

I might have been interested, might have listened a little longer and might have given you a referral, but you put up too many roadblocks, walls and barriers for me to do that. You made too many cold calling mistakes, and they cost you this sale and probably countless others.

I don’t want to see you keep making the mistakes that compel me and others to hang up or find an excuse to end the call. I am open to hearing about what you offer, but it’s not about you; remember, you called me.

If you want your cold calls to turn out differently, please change a few things in your approach. Be willing to stop sounding like everyone else and I’m sure our next call will be different.

Here are 5 elements of cold calling approach success that I’m positive will change your game:

1. Research Me and My Company

It’s so simple these days to obtain good solid information on a prospect prior to picking up the phone. Do some research on me and my company before you call and start making the assumption that I need what you have. Spending a few minutes on research will yield big results. Otherwise I will know that I am just another number on your call list.

2. Ask Questions

Take the time to ask me questions to find out what I need and what is important to me, I will give you honest answers. If you don’t bother to ask these questions, how can you uncover my needs and challenges?

How can you try to sell me something when you don’t even know what I need or want? It makes me feel like you’re just in it for the sale, your quota and your paycheck. Asking questions keeps me on the phone with you longer. It works like magic.

3. Listen to My Answers

If we’re talking and I have something to share, please stop talking long enough to listen to me. Really listen to me, don’t just hear the words. When you dismiss everything I say with another reason why I should work with you, I have no interest in you and will rush you off the phone. Reminder: you have two ears and one month; please use them accordingly.

4. Don’t Tell me You Will Be in My Area

There is nothing worse than hearing those words from a cold caller. I know, and everyone else you talk to knows, that you’re not going to be in my area. That sales technique went out in the 80’s. It’s the fastest, most effective way to induce a hang-up in record-breaking time and shut down our call on the spot. Be honest and ask to set up an appointment if there is any interest on my part.

5. Honor Your Words

If you declare that you will do something for me, do it. If you say you’re going to send me an email with some information or get back to me with an answer to my question, do it. I won’t chase you down or follow up with you; that’s your job.

Why bother calling me if you’re going to drop the ball and not follow through on what you say? If you don’t, I will know right then and there what it will be like to do business with you. Deal breaker!

Cold calling doesn’t have to be a painful experience for you or the person you’re calling. If your calls are going nowhere and you keep getting the same dreary reactions and results, then your cold calling approach is off.


Need help developing your next cold calling campaign? Download our free guide Seven Steps to Building Effective Prospecting Sequences

About the author

Liz Wendling

Liz Wendling

Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant,…

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