What’s the biggest mistake sales reps make with prospecting or cold calling?
They call with what a client of mine once called, “commission breath.”
You know, that desperation sales people have when they finally get someone on the phone.
It’s the same kind of attitude that you feel and don’t like when a salesperson gets you on the phone.
How do you avoid that?
You avoid the three mistakes below. Read them, compare them to how you make calls, and then refrain from making these mistakes in the future.
Your prospecting will go a lot better if you do!
Cold calling mistake #1: Don’t pitch the gatekeeper. A big mistake many sales reps make (both new and senior alike) is to immediately begin pitching the gatekeeper in the hopes that, once they understand how great your product or service is, they will put you through to the decision maker. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To start with, the gatekeeper doesn’t want to hear your pitch. His or her job is simply to find out your name and company name, and maybe the reason for your call, and then to hand you off so he/she can go back to doing their job. They don’t care who you are or what you’re selling. So, stop pitching them.
The moment you pitch them, you just annoy them, and they then want to get rid of you. Also, by pitching, you identify yourself as a salesperson, and that kicks in a reaction to screen you out. So, don’t do it.
Instead, let them know your full name, your company name, and then ask to speak with the person on your list. And use, “please.” If you need more specific advice on this, see these gatekeeper scripts here.
Cold calling mistake #2: Don’t pitch your prospect—yet. The second biggest mistake sales reps make when prospecting is to immediately dump a pitch on someone as soon as they pick up the phone (think, commission breath). Or after they tell you they are doing fine and ask you how you are doing, you don’t even respond with a “Thanks for asking,” instead, you just launch into your pitch.
The reason for this should be pretty clear: Nobody likes to be pitched. Instead, your first goal is to try to make a connection with the person you are speaking with and build some rapport. Ask them how they are (especially with the amid the Covid-19 situation) and listen to what they say.
And then quickly get into a question early (“I understand you handle the XYZ, is that right?) and allow your prospect to engage with you. Absolutely resist the temptation to give them a two-paragraph dump on what you do, why you’re so great, and what you can do for them. Just stop it.
Cold calling mistake #3: Stop winging it. I know you think you sound so much better when you ad-lib and go with the flow, but you don’t. And if you don’t believe me, then record yourself and listen to your last ten calls.
Here’s the deal: Even if you wouldn’t be caught dead using a “script,” you already are. When you listen to those last ten calls, aren’t you saying the same thing over and over again? That’s your script.
Instead, do what all top pros do when prospecting or cold calling: script out a best practice approach, complete with rebuttals to common blow offs you get all the time (like, “Just email me something”), and then start practicing and using a better approach.
Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, it just makes permanent. Stop practicing poor sales skills and commit to getting better on each call.
Now if you’re thinking, “Well, this is all good, but what exactly do I say in all this?” then the good news is that I’ve written many word for word scripts you can get by searching my blog.
Or, you can get 500 word-for-word scripts in my latest book, Power Phone Scripts.
If you learn to avoid the three mistakes above, then prospecting by phone will get a lot easier for you and your team.