There is no reason—other than laziness—to ever place a “cold” call.

Cold calling. Just hearing the words causes chest-tightening, loss-of-breath anxiety for many.

And it’s dumb. I suggest you never place another one. In fact, never even use the term when referring to professional telephone prospecting. You can prospect by phone successfully when you are Smart about it.

Let’s look at a prospecting call opening from a sales rep who “gets it.”

“Hi Michael, I’m Pat Stevens with Insurance Partners. Hope you enjoyed your golf vacation. In speaking with your assistant, Suzanne, I understand that you are evaluating your competitive edge in the employment market and what you can do to attract and keep the top talent in your various locations.

We’ve been able to help other companies in the same situation lower their recruiting and hiring expenses, and increase their retention of managerial staff. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I could provide you some information.”

Pat was able to do a number of positive things in this opening:

  • He used Michael’s first name since he knew that Michael was somewhat of an informal guy who no one called “Mr. Johnson,” and hated to be called Mike.
  • He knew Michael is a huge golf nut, and just returned from a golf weekend
  • He mentioned Michael’s assistant Suzanne, adding credibility
  • He knew that the company had recently missed out on some managerial candidates who were hired by the competition because of a better benefits package, as well as some existing employees who left for that reason
  • He did not talk about insurance or benefits, but instead, results– the precise results that addressed the issues that Michael now faced.

And all of that took place in the first 10 seconds or so. Later in the call, Pat also:

  • Asked questions to which he pretty much already knew the answers about the company’s growth plans, their position in the marketplace, and the existing benefits package and how people felt about it.
  • Commented on the great article that Michael had written for Construction Executive magazine.
  • Asked about Michael’s experience working with one of his company’s competitors prior to coming to work for this company two years ago.

As a result of all of this, Michael, of course, viewed Pat not as the typical sales rep, but as someone who understood his business and what he was concerned about right now. Plus, he liked Pat. And Pat got an appointment.

How did Pat accomplish all of this?

The same way you can. Pat did his research. He did Smart Calling™. There’s no excuse NOT to.

He used several online resources and social media sites to get personal and professional information about Michael, his company, and industry, and very importantly, what Michael was concerned about right now.

Then Pat used “social engineering,” the process of speaking with other people within Michael’s company to gain intelligence about the company’s current situation regarding their recruiting, hiring, and retention issues, and present benefits package.

He also learned about Michael personally from his assistant Suzanne and a few others in the department.

Notice that Pat used a conversational, soft-sell approach in his opening to minimize resistance, and to create interest and pique curiosity. This put Michael in a state of mind where he wanted to hear more.

Can you see the difference between this and a typical “cold” call, where the sales rep knows nothing about his prospect and is simply smilin’ and dialin’, repeating the same tired lines and closes to everyone who will listen?

There is no reason—other than laziness—to ever place a “cold” call. Use these ideas to make your calls Smart, and successful.

About the author

Art Sobczak

Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working…

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