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Cold Calling and Prospecting Doesn't Have to Suck

Prospecting Calls

Printable & Downloadable Training Topic with Template

Many people can’t stand making prospecting calls.  For some crazy reason, we can use the telephone with complete ease 99% of the time; however, that 1% when we need it to prospect it can seem almost impossible to operate and weigh thousands of pounds.

Prospecting calls can include calling your own warm market, making cold calls, and even calling referrals.  A great number of referrals NEVER get called, because the person who received the referral is uncomfortable, fearful, may not have the skill, and ultimately fails to help the referral solve their problem.

Over the years, I’ve coached many people beyond these fears by addressing the actual underlying causes, helped them eliminate those fears, and then providing a scientifically based strategy to effectively remove the pressure for both the prospect and the salesperson.

Last week we learned of one of the most important tools in our Bold Growth Strategies toolbox:  Your 30-Second Commercial.  We compared prospecting activity to the rubber duck carnival game and learned to calculate the value of every prospecting conversation.  The general outline of a prospecting conversation is:

  • Intro (First Name)
  • Personal Emotional Needs Statement (Concerned, Frustrated, Worried, Losing Sleep, Getting Ripped Off, Sick and Tired)
  • Neutral Question.  (I’m not sure if those are issues for you or NOT?)

This week we’ll add a few layers to your expertly crafted, perfected, and mastered 30-second commercial that will allow you to open more doors and effectively sort suspects that are or are not actually prospects.

The first new layer is what is called a pattern interrupt.  A pattern interrupt is a technique to change a thought, behavior or situation. Behavioral psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) use a pattern interrupt to break or change thought patterns, automatic or subconscious behaviors.

We’ll be using a pattern interrupt to break the prospects automatic pattern of getting rid of salespeople and jumping to conclusions as to why you’ve called.

Old School call:  “Hi Mr. Prospect, how are you today?”; “Did I catch you at a good time?”;  or “Hello Mr. Jones this Tom Smith with XYZ company and ……..”  These typical conversations illicit the automatic response or pattern of, “Not interested,” even if they don’t tell you that up front.  Your prospects are most likely in their deeply embedded habit pattern of getting rid of salespeople and seeking a way to get you off the phone, not listening.

Bold School call:  “Bob it’s Tom.  Did I catch you at a bad time?”  Bob is most likely wondering who you are?  Are you a customer, a vendor, a creditor, a salesperson, or perhaps an old friend from high school.  He most likely won’t fall into the pattern of thinking you’re a salesperson, prejudging that he isn’t interested, and will likely continue listening to figure it out.  To make this message more effective, the tonality you use should communicate that you could be anyone but a salesperson.

“If you look, sound, or feel like a salesperson, you’re likely to be treated like one.”

Bob could give you a couple of different responses, all of which lead you to your next response.

  • “No, now is fine” – Great. Bob would it be okay with you if I took 30 seconds and shared why I called and you can decide if we should talk further or not?
  • “Yes, now is a bad time” – Sorry Bob. Would it be okay with you if I took 30 seconds and shared why I called and you can decide if we should schedule a later call or not?
  • “Who is this? Why are you calling me?”  Really anything else – Well, would it be okay if I took 30 seconds and shared why I called and you can decide if we should talk further or not?

Not every prospect will want to hear your 30-second commercial; however, most probably will.  If you have more than a few prospects that tell you “No!” hang up on you, or generally aren’t interested in hearing more about the problems you solve, you may want to record a few calls and listen to them.

With a receptive audience, it’s time to deliver your brief, 30-second commercial and then ask the neutral question:  “Is any of that worth talking about?”  Please take a look at the attached training topic and print the Comfortable Prospecting Outline, so you’ll be prepared for your next call.

If for some reason, you’re still not comfortable enough to make calls, please let me know at [email protected], as there are other diagnostic tools we can use to troubleshoot your specific roadblocks and help you be far more comfortable and effective prospecting.

Printable & Downloadable Training Topic with Template

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Robert Johnson

I'm passionate about helping sales professionals & businesses grow sales through training, coaching, & sometimes taking over their sales and marketing divisions as a short-term bridge management team. I also help sales pros get more referrals with less effort through professional networking. Our prospects deserve highly trained sales professionals not using "Old School," high pressure, low yield tactics. I typically get referred to successful sales professionals and businesses that are doing well and sometimes struggle with inconsistent sales, concerned their goods and services are being treated like a commodity, frustrated sales team discounts, begs, peddles, and pushes to sell at low margins, or may be losing sleep because they are missing their goals. You may be crushing your goals, breaking records, and have zero issues with sales, and as such, I'm not sure if any of these issues are even a concern for you, your business, or a professional you care about. If something caught your attention, please consider connecting with me here on LinkedIn and sending me an email at [email protected] Happy Hunting! Robert Johnson-(918)928-7158