You can’t build a relationship with cold calling…it’s dead, right?
“Cold calling isn’t dead, you’re just not doing it correctly.”
Just about every sales team uses cold calling in some capacity or another. Even in the age of the internet, cold calling is a valuable tool in securing more leads and moving prospects down the funnel.
Sure, with the explosion of digital and social marketing, cold calling seemingly took a backseat. (You would too if people were trying to proclaim your death.)
Either way, the results are clear. Cold calling isn’t dead. It’s the aggressive, outdated, and old school techniques we are burying 6ft under. And with good reason.
It’s the 21st-century! Customers have more knowledge and access to information than ever before. And thanks to societal norms, media, and the entertainment industry-they have a distrust for sales.
So, how are we supposed to connect with strangers on a cold call?
How do we get them to trust us?
Break The Stigma, Build a Relationship
Harry Wormwood. Jordan Belfort. Gordon Gekko.
Whether the character is rolling back miles on an odometer or wrestling away your retirement, you can picture it – the typical arrogant good-for-nothing salesman who would do ANYTHING for the sale. These characters, fictional and in real, life, play a huge role in the negative stigma of salespeople. Not to mention, we’ve all experienced bad telemarketing techniques – the intrusive robo dialers and the never-ending spam or fraudulent calls.
Turning a cold phone call into the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship requires a complete overhaul of everything society has taught us about salespeople. That’s why it is so important that we take a closer look at our selling strategies.
Salespeople need to follow a more natural approach to conversation flow and shift away from
old school, never-take-no-as-an-answer tactics. This means focusing on the relationship rather than the sale.
Consumers are smart! They can tell when they are being pushed in a certain direction. Remove the pressure of buying and listen to what your prospect really needs. Respect goes a long way.
I know, I know… it’s a lot of work. Overcoming the stigma isn’t a fast or easy process.
(That’s honestly why so many sales reps hate cold calling.)
Remember: Focus on the relationship, not the sale.
Your prospects will notice the difference. Trust the process!
Trust is the Catalyst in all Selling Methodology
Earlier, I mentioned how smart consumers are – and it’s true (mostly).
Take a look at these facts presented by Gallup. For the 18th year in a row, nurses have been ranked by consumers for having the highest ethical and moral standards.
And on the other end of the spectrum… you guessed it!
Why do salespeople continuously rank the lowest for ethical and moral standards?
Because as consumers, we have a really hard time trusting people who are trying to sell us something. And it’s not a secret that most sales jobs are commission based.
Think about information asymmetry for a moment. We used to live in a world where the seller was the “keeper of the information” and the buyer never really had the correct knowledge to make an informed decision. In today’s world, sellers no longer store all the information and buyers no longer need to take our word for it.
With the internet at their fingertips they will search social media, read reviews, and visit your website. They have more access to knowledge than ever before. If you aren’t genuine or authentic about helping your prospect solve their problems, they aren’t going to trust you.
If you think someone is trustworthy, you’ll treat them as such.
And because you treat them like they’re trustworthy, they’re more likely to reciprocate.
This is part of the Pygmalion effect, the idea that positive reinforcement promotes a positive
behavioral response. Researchers Rosenthal and Babad who coined the term in 1985 describe it by saying “When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur.” Demonstrating trust in your prospect will actually encourage them to trust you back. This is huge on a cold call.
Just like at home, work relationships take effort too. They can’t thrive without a foundation of trust. Take the time to listen to their needs. Ask more questions. Create a conversation flow that allows for more listening and responding. This is what makes cold calls so great! They allow you
to communicate in ways that just aren’t possible through email, text, or other ‘one-way’ messaging. Use it to your advantage!
Real conversation brings real engagement and real engagement helps bring trust.
Follow a Script for Natural Conversation Flow
If the goal is to have natural conversation flow, then how does having a script help?
Well, let me start by saying…
Using a sales script doesn’t mean you should be repeating each word for verbatim. It should
merely be a guardrail for keeping a clear message and a distinct voice.
Just like the sales profession, scripts have gotten a bad reputation over the years. All because some bad salespeople tried to find the easy way out with manufactured responses and phony selling language that you would never use in a natural conversation. (Kind of like that kid that talked during class in middle school and got the pizza party taken away for everyone.)
But despite the many reasons script critics cite, there’s a ton untapped potential in developing and continuously improving your script. When your sales reps know what to say they feel more confident in themselves. Confidence shows through on the phone and your prospect will notice. This will help allow for a more natural conversation flow and replace pushy and aggressive cold call tactics from the past.
Think of a script less like a script and more like a mini-research project on your offering. It keeps all valuable information close by and stops you from having to look in your CRM every minute to find a new answer or what to say next. Your set process and next steps are in place with the proper brand voice and methodology to meet your goal.
And just like any good sports team, you need to PRACTICE! Athletes spend so much time preparing their body and mind for the game so when the time comes, and the clock is ticking, they can play better and move freely without thinking about the process. It just happens naturally. The same is true for sales scripts. You want your reps to have individual maneuvers so ingrained that they always have at least one option to respond with. Be sure to role play! Practice makes perfect!
Rectify the Name of Sales
We can’t do it alone. Let’s make the sales industry a better place! Respect your prospects, drop the aggressive tactics, and build relationships with human-to-human messaging and methodology.
About the Author
Danielle Norris is the Marketing Content Manager for Superhuman Prospecting, a lead generation company specializing in sales prospecting, outsourced cold calling, and appointment setting services. Experienced in both enterprise and small business settings, Danielle helps companies see ROI from content. In her free time, Danielle volunteers for Chicktech Philadelphia, a non-profit dedicated to retaining womxn in the technology workforce and increasing the number of womxn and girls pursuing STEM-based careers.