Are you ready to stop playing “supermarket roulette” with your prospects?  Wouldn’t it make you feel accomplished at least knowing regardless of the outcome, that you did everything on your end to move the deal forward?

 The BIGGEST Phone Cold Calling Mistake

You are running to the store for one of those quick “pick up a couple of things” trip.
But, by the time you actually get in the car your spouse has added 12, “Oh, and we also need …..”
What initially was a, “no list needed trip,” has turned into you thinking maybe you should go in and quickly jot it all down.
But you go over the list in your mind like you are cramming for a final exam in school and you confidently remind yourself, “Nah, I’ll remember.”
Let me guess what is said while you are unpacking your bags on your kitchen counter:
“Dang! I forgot the cereal! I knew I forgot something, but I just couldn’t remember what!”
On the flip side, when I invest the time to write down exactly what I want to get, and I have that list with me in the store I give myself a great chance to accomplish exactly what I am setting out to get!
Every time you pick up the phone to make a call is the same opportunity as you going to the store.
Are you going to “wing it” without a list even though you know your odds of getting everything  you want are slim?
Or, do you put the correct value on every call you make, and intentional and strategic in executing your sales game plan (going with a list)?
Are you ready to stop playing “supermarket roulette” with your prospects?
Wouldn’t it make you feel accomplished at least knowing regardless of the outcome, that you did everything on your end to move the deal forward?
When I am sitting one-on-one with a sales person showing them how to increase sales and productivity over the phone, it still shocks me how many of them make the BIGGEST mistake possible when cold calling!

What is THE biggest mistake?

It’s picking up the phone without knowing exactly what you want, without knowing word-for-word how you are going to ask for it, and not having a secure back-up plan that allows you to meet at least one of your objectives.
Read, learn, and ACT on these 3 rules and you will NEVER return to your “kitchen counter” again and have to say, “AH!  I forgot!”

Rule #1: Know EXACTLY What You Want

When I am sitting at a sales person’s desk and we are about to dig in and make calls, I intentionally never say anything until they are finished dialing the number.
Then, once the ear piece is up against their cheek, I say, “Hang up!”  They look at me like I’m crazy and I usually have to say it again.  “I’m serious. Hang up!”
I then ask them, “tell me in 5 words or less exactly what you are calling to get.”
If I had a penny for the number of reps that could not answer this question, I would have at least $3 (do the math!).
Many of the cold calling training I’ve heard focuses on the script part first, but that’s completely wrong!
First, you HAVE to know what you want, then you build your “pitch” around accomplishing that (more on that in rule #2).  Don’t take this lightly.
When I built my cold calling pitch I realized that this exercise would be the difference between me getting appointments and not, so I took it very seriously, and was intentional in every sentence and word.

Let’s look at just a few of the items you could be looking to accomplish on a cold call:

1. Get a contact name and email address
2. Secure an appointment
3. Close a deal on the spot
4. Present pricing
5. Present your company’s solutions to your clients problems.
Your business, sales cycle, your client and other information will determine what it is that you want.
 Regardless, though, the main point is, for you to identify THE most important criteria you wish to achieve, and that is what you build around.
Think about the result you want as the center of a wheel, and the spokes are all the other words.  The other words support and go into the center of the wheel.
Here’s why it’s imperative this occur before you create your script:
Because your script is written based on what it is you are trying to accomplish!
So, take a few minutes and figure out what specific action you are looking to get from your cold calling, and you’ve got Rule #1.

Rule #2: Your Phone Call Is Like Any Great Movie

 (For a detailed step by step on formatting a powerful script that gets results, see my article titled:  “Scripts Aren’t Just For Movies.”)
For whatever reason, the longer a sales person has been in sales the more ludicrous they think this idea is.  Well, the longer I am showing sales people how to make money on the phones the more ludicrous I think it is that sales people don’t use them!
Just because you create a script, doesn’t mean you become a sales robot for the rest of your life.
Think about actors in a movie. They all have scripts, but they don’t look like robots.
Why?  Because they learn it and have gone over them enough times to make it personal and real!
More evidence for you, for those who are fighting me on this ( I know you’re out there!):  we only have 8-15 seconds to get permission to gain their interest!
That means each word or pause that takes up just one of those seconds carries a very large price tag; which means, you need to detail out exactly what it is you want to say so you optimize each and every word.
There are so many benefits to going with a script to start (I say ‘to start’ because eventually you’ll just know it):
1. Don’t have to think about what you have to say.  How much of a relief is that?
2. Knowing your delivery and content is powerful helps eliminate fear.
3. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
4. Once fine tuned, your results WILL skyrocket.

Rule #3: Treat Your Cold Call Like A Genie

 My father-in-law is notorious for asking, “What’s your contingency plan?”  Most of the time my answer consists of three words.
Let’s face it.  Even though you put together a killer script, and you ask for the result you want, you won’t always get it.
So what do you do when that happens?  What I’ve seen involves the words, “scramble around in a panic!”
So Rule #3 is to identify and know what you will ask for if your prospect doesn’t agree to wish #1.
I ALWAYS know the top 3 results I want from every call, and I rank them in order of preference.  My main pitch is of course geared around my primary objective.
If they say no to that, I quickly jump to my #2 wish, and if that also gets denied, then I jump to my #3 wish.
Make sure that your ‘third wish’ is something that will give you the opportunity to keep in touch with the client.
Try and stay from something they would say “no” to.
For example, my last ditch wish was, “Mr. Client, thank you. Is it OK if I keep in touch periodically to inform you of developments that I think will benefit you?”
Most people say “yes” to that, so that is my #3 default.
If you invest the time to nail down these 3 rules, I guarantee you will see results fast!
In addition to seeing results, your confidence will soar when you don’t have to think so much about every call.

Think about how productive you will feel when:

 1.  You know EXACTLY what you are asking for.
2.  Know PRECISELY what you are going to say.
3.  Have a back-up plan so every time you reach someone you at least meet 1 objective.
And remember, next time you are about to leave for the store without that list, remind yourself that you can do that when you go to the store, but never when you are making precious, money making phone calls!

About the author

Mark Heerema

“Mark is nationally recognized for his work in debunking unchallenged, long held sales myths…

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