Meetings created from cold calls.

In my opinion, cold call generated meetings tend to waste more time in business than the NCAA Tournament. It’s sad because these meetings can be a source for your most profitable business. So, let’s look at two things:

  1. Why do they give you time?
  2. How to properly act.

Salespeople need to realize that time is the most precious thing in business! When you get that, you’re about 25% on your way to becoming a killer salesperson. As it relates to this post, the time I am speaking about is the prospect’s time. Most of us don’t have spare time laying around to just give to some guy that calls us up out of the blue . . . unless the guy has something that we want! Get it?

Business people will clear time in their calendar for the following reasons:

  1. They want to make a change now
  2. They aren’t happy with their current situation
  3. They are tired of your sales calls and voice mails
  4. Their boss told them you called and they assumed a meeting was mandatory
  5. Their boss told them you called and they know change is good

When you look at this, most of these are very positive for the seller. So why do most sales calls result in NOTHING?

Here is a short, but not complete, list:

  1. You sound the same as the current
  2. You’re trying to SELL them
  3. You don’t listen
  4. I’ts obviously about YOU
  5. You talk too much
  6. You suck at sales
  7. You’re trying to complete everything for your quota
  8. You’re continuing the cold call

You sound the same as the current

Every industry has its own language and talking points. What inevitably happens is that you and all your competitors say basically the exact same thing, hitting on the same company strengths. Most of your industry language cannot be avoided; but, how you approach this content and interact with the prospect is completely in your control. Be different — enjoy your meetings. Remember, when all things are equal, people buy from their friends first and people they enjoy and respect second.

You’re trying too hard to SELL them

No one loves to be sold, but most people love to buy — especially when it’s someone else’s checkbook. When you do all the talking and think only in terms of your sale, you are trying to sell the prospect. Take a step back and realize this, when you help someone get what THEY want you will get the sale. Make everything about them!

The absolute best resource you can get on learning more about helping people buy is visiting a Jeffrey Gitomer seminar. You’ll have a blast and walk away being less of a tool.

You don’t listen

It’s very hard to be a good listener. For most of us, as soon as we sit down with a prospect we know what they need and how much better their life is going to be when they sign our contract. I call this internal noise. You must tune this out and the easiest way to accomplish this is to get on the customer’s side of the meeting. Drive the conversation so that you can connect with them on a personal level. Don’t “probe” for problems —  find out what’s important to them! Ask what they want —  don’t tell them what you have.

Silence is the best resource in sales. Some of my best meetings contain periods of thought where the prospect is given time to completely develop and explain THEIR opinion of things. It’s their opinion that matters.

It’s obviously about you

Look —  when you walk into the room, things are slightly stacked against you. Primarily, every other salesperson that sat in that room before you! When your job title references sales, it means you need other people’s money to stay employed. It’s harsh to think in these terms, but its true. Just look at some of your teammates and how they talk. My advice again is to be different, listen and HELP them buy from you.

You talk too much

As a salesperson, you need to be able to talk. Just be sure you understand when and what to talk about. If you’re a complete clown… well, that’s not good. If you’re too button-down . . . well, that’s not good either. Every conversation develops at its own pace. Do what you can to help the prospect speak 80% of the time, this is especially critical in the beginning of any conversation.

When a prospect is comfortable talking to you, they will naturally provide you a complete picture of what it is they want to buy from you.

You suck at sales

The truth is we all pretty much suck at sales! And that’s OK. The best salespeople help 30 – 35 % of their total quoted business become customers. We’re talking baseball numbers here. Knowing this, do your prospects a favor and don’t try and make being a salesperson more than it is. Be yourself, be real. Don’t be a nice, suit-wearing-gelled-up-tool. You’ll find a certain sense of calm when you come to terms with this. Especially the increased W2. 🙂

You’re trying to complete everything for your quota

We all need short term goals to make progress and develop. Many salespeople start to press in meetings because they are focused on meeting a quota number. If you’re fixated on quota, your W2 probably isn’t anywhere near where you want it to be. Quota is either average or unrealistic. On my team, quotas are used to give salespeople a clear understanding of what is average. We use them for SPIFFS.

The best salespeople always blow through quota. One of the reasons the best salespeople blow past quota is because when they are in front of a prospect, it’s always about that prospect. They focus on the here and now, they are patient, they let the prospect walk themselves to becoming a customer. My advice is to slow down, listen and help the prospect explain to you what needs to happen for them to become a customer.

You’re continuing the cold call

The entire process of making a cold call or canvassing takes tremendous courage. Picking up the phone and talking to a complete stranger is not an easy thing for most people to do. In sales, we all need to make cold calls. When our goal of creating an appointment is met, we need to realize the time for fast talk is over. The meeting is about connecting and helping people buy.

On a cold call, you and the prospect usually have a very short period of time to talk each other into a meeting. Everyone on the phone is qualifying each other and asking themselves, “Should I invest the time in this person?” To a prospect, investing time is a small price to pay if you’re the one that can deliver what they’re looking for.

On a cold call, you are asking the prospect to spend some of their time on the chance to buy from you. So, the only way to fulfill your end of the bargain is to know what it is they want and the only way to do this is to listen. Most of us will only tell the people that we like what we really want. People are more likely to like someone if they make them the center of attention. It’s not about you. It’s always about them. Get it!

Good luck


One Response

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

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