When the phone rang last week, it caught me in the middle of a big project with a short deadline. I thought it might be a call I was waiting for.
“Hello,” I said. “This is Ari.”
“Ari, hello, this is Joe Adams at ABC Household Services. How are you today?”
Instantly I wished I hadn’t I picked up the phone. But I didn’t have time to talk to a salesperson, but I didn’t want to be rude.
“I'm fine, thank you” I said. “How are you?” I added out of habit.
“I'm excellent. Thank you for asking…”
“Ari, my company provides a full range of household services, from plumbing to electrical, to roofing and landscaping. We’ve been in business for 25 years.
“We’re going to have a representative in your neighborhood tomorrow, and I was wondering if we could stop by and talk to you about maybe doing some household projects for you. We could probably save you some money since we’ll have a crew nearby anyway.”
I said to I can’t think of any household services we need at this time.
He thanked me and we hung up the phone and went back to my work.
This happens every day, all over the world, lost sales opportunity based on the traditional cold calling approach instead of based on the product.
The interesting thing was that there are plenty of things we need to have done around the house, but I didn’t feel comfortable tell him the truth. I just wanted end the call as soon as I could so I wouldn’t have to endure the awkwardness of a traditional old school sales person.
Can you relate to this experience? Either as the person making the call or receiving the call?
I get at least few of these types of calls a week.
Let’s look closer at why this call went badly, even though I probably needed a service the caller provided.
His call interrupted my routine. He didn’t give me the “space” or comfort level for us to have a natural two-way dialogue together. It was a one-way sales conversation.
His voice sounded upbeat, as if he’d been psyching himself up for the call. He talked too fast, maybe a little nervous. When he said “I’m excellent, thank you for asking,” he sounded like he was working hard to be extra friendly.
When he said he was going to have a crew in my neighborhood, I thought that was probably in his script, too. Maybe he says it to everyone he calls, no matter where they live.
I didn’t know if his company had really been in business for 25 years. I didn’t even know if he works for the company he said he’s calling for. Maybe he was generating leads for somebody else’s company. I have no idea.
Point is, his approach was all about HIM and not about me (the potential customers).
There in lies the core problem with traditional cold calling, it’s one-way and prevents a natural two-way dialogue from being created.
It’s even tougher to make traditional cold calling work during tough economic times – especially if you’re using the same sales approach as everyone else.
There are plenty of opportunities for sales professionals who know how to establish a mutual feeling of trust in the first few words of a conversation.
If you establish trust early in your conversation, you earn the right to carry on a longer conversation. During that conversation you can focus on understanding your prospect’s goals, needs, interests, priorities and challenges.
It’s important to focus on your prospect’s problems or situation rather than focusing on your solution.
If you can begin making your goal to get to the truth of your prospect’s situation, instead of the “sale”, you’ll begin creating trust.
Here are seven key tips you can do to practice this mindset:
1. Focus all your intention on creating TRUST, not on trying to make the sale. Your sole agenda is to get to the truth of your prospect’s situation.
2. LET GO of assumptions. Do not ASSUME any person you speak with is a "sales opportunity.”
3. GO DEEP into each conversation. The QUALITY of your conversation is the goal. Forget about the number of calls you make.
4. Be conscious of RHYTHM, PACE and TONE of VOICE. Watch your DELIVERY. Stop hurrying through the call. Record yourself so you can hear how you sound from your prospect's perspective.
5. Focus on problems your prospect is likely to be experiencing rather than on the product or service you offer. Keep REFINING and simplifying your statements of these problems to make them short and clear.
6. Create new words and phrases that create trust and prevent rejection. Keep notes of phrases that that work and that feel comfortable.
7. BREATHE! Be conscious of your breathing. Beware of FEAR entering your mind; it will show up in your breathing pattern.
When you do this for the first time, you won’t believe the difference it makes. Ironically, the better you are at creating trust, the more sales you’ll make, especially in these tough economic times.
About the Author:
Ari Galper is the creator of Unlock The Game®, a new sales mindset that overturns the notion of selling as we know it today. Unlock The Game has been available for over 10 years and has made sales breakthroughs for sales professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs in over 38 countries.