Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog
On a cold call you have approximately 10-30 seconds to grab your prospects’ attention—and you won’t get a second chance. Read on to discover how to gain your prospects’ attention…
I was eating lunch. The phone rang and thinking it might be a client calling (and also, let’s face it—I’m a little compulsive) I bolted to my desk and grabbed the receiver.
Instead of my client, on the other end of the line was a perky person telling me that their company provides high-speed Internet access in my area. This was not exciting news. I live in New York City, we have a multitude of options and high-speed Internet access is a given. (An aside: New Yorkers don’t usually respond well to perky.)
I said what I usually say to such callers. I told the caller she needed help with her cold calling and suggested that she visit my web site, www.queenofcoldcalling.com. Then I went back to my lunch.
Believe it or not, your prospects are not sitting by the phone waiting for your call. (And they are all not as compulsive as I am about answering the telephone.) At the moment that you call, all of your prospects are doing something else. All of them. The way that you introduce yourself must get their attention.
So what’s wrong with the introduction, “We now provide high speed Internet access in your area”?
This introduction makes “high speed Internet access” into a commodity. It’s a thing. Most of this caller’s prospects probably already have high-speed Internet access. They already have that thing. They don’t need another.
Whatever you are selling, if you make it into a commodity, (“I’m a printer…” “I’m a financial advisor...” “We sell home furnishings…”) more than likely your prospect has one (or some) and sees no reason to have a conversation.
While you do want to be clear about what you do, more importantly you want your prospect to understand the value that you offer. How do you make your customers’ lives better, easier, safer, more productive…? That’s what will get your prospect’s attention and that’s what will enable you to have a good conversation.
One way to get a prospect’s attention is to lead with price. Saving money will always be high on a prospect’s wish list so if you truly are able to save your customers money, prospects will pay attention. The caller above could have introduced herself by saying the company saves customers money (giving a specific dollar amount or percentage makes this even stronger) on their high speed Internet access.
The problem, however, with leading with price is that there will always be someone who can give your customers a better price. Leading with price does not insure customer loyalty. It almost guarantees that you will have to keep cutting your prices or lose customers to the next caller who comes along offering a savings.
So now we’re back to value. Using the above example, how could the caller have tweaked her approach so that she’d have a better chance of having good conversations with prospects? Here’s an idea:
Perhaps the company she represented was really excellent at taking care of their customers, for example, maybe they didn’t make you wait for a week to get a service call in the event of a problem. Or perhaps they had live human beings answering their phones 24/7 rather than those automated systems that make you dial numbers to get into the right queue and then tell you the wait time will be 45 minutes. (I know, wishful thinking here.) Anyway, the potential of avoiding of annoyance and aggravation because of superior customer service could catch a prospect’s attention.
The point is that you need to get into your customer’s heads and figure out what differentiates you (your company/products/services) from the competition and why your customers buy from you. Then in your cold call opening, lead with that differentiator and/or that reason. Once you are able to stop making your offering into a commodity and instead focus on the value, your prospects will respond.