It’s commonly known that cold calls are the least favorite activity of both sales people and the people being sold. The reasons that cold calls get so much resistance isn’t because people are weary of pushy sales people, it’s because they are tired and aggravated with WEAK sales people! To a prospective client, to receive a cold call is no more than a nuisance unless they happen to be sitting there with their credit card handy pondering how they can purchase your service. Jeffrey Gitomer, who literally wrote the book on cold calling, says “It’s an interruption, it’s a fight, it’s often a lie, it’s maximum sales manipulation, and it’s a rare appointment and a rarer sale.” Of course cold calling is an interruption, but I still get to sit down. Of course it’s a fight, but I still get to win. Damn right it’s sales manipulation, but it doesn’t mean my TMS can’t be a solution to a prospect’s problem. It’s often a lie? Only if you are trying to hide the purpose of your call.
One of the biggest and most common missteps that give cold calling a bad rap is when weak sales people go to great lengths to hide the purpose of their call. How many times has someone received a call for a free magazine subscription, or a set of golf clubs or $20 from their credit card company for a “free trial” of their credit protector program? None of these things are free and it’s insulting to me as a consumer and a sales person that the person trying to sell me won’t just own up to it. What are they afraid of?
It’s a vicious cycle. Gatekeepers keep up resistance so sales people tend to cower and con their way in. Their transparent efforts become more obnoxious and insulting to a business owner so they tend to fail, forcing the gatekeepers to protect that battleground even more. Don’t hide what you do! The first thing you should do on a cold call is announce who you are, why you’re calling, and what you want. When you’re speaking with the business owner, inform them of who you are, why you’re calling, what you want, and most importantly, what can you do for them! People ignore you or procrastinate on making decisions because they feel you have nothing of value and talking to you is a waste of time. When you tip toe around why you’re calling, it only exasperates this feeling.
I announce from the roof tops that I’m in transportation. Our state-of-the-art Transportation Management System (TMS) is the platform in which our business provides process improvements and increased profitability, and I can’t get that message across if I try to con my way through the door with some vague pitch about my purpose. I feel it’s tacky and inexperience to make freight rates the focus of your opening pitch, but it’s still better than some jargon about “our brand new program in your area” or how I’ll give this business a free consultation. Do you want an audience? Then give them what they want. WIIFM. Then they may take the call and listen with eager interest. Otherwise, you’re better off making prank calls.