Cold calling is never easy. Even skilled telemarketers can struggle with garnering productive results from calling a company out of the blue. In general, the key to success is warming your call up as quickly as possible. The faster you can go from disembodied voice to professional contact, the more chance you’ll have of achieving your goals and developing a productive business relationship.
Ask an open question
Realistically, most gatekeepers and even decision makers will try and get you off the phone as quickly as possible. Asking them a closed question that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ can give a gatekeeper an excuse to end the call. Ask an open question, on the other hand, and you’ll open up the dialogue and get a conversation going. As well as giving you more time to talk to the prospect and create a good first impression, this also gives you a valuable opportunity to learn more about the company and the decision maker.
Before you pick up the phone to make your call, think of a couple of open questions that you can begin with. Try to make them insightful but uncomplicated, and try to pick questions that will naturally lead the conversation onto the products, or services you’re offering.
Get a conversation going
Ideally, your open question with lead you into a conversation with the decision maker. Getting a real, two-way dialogue going will create a rapport and engage the prospect. You can also learn a little more about the person you’re speaking to. Even if you’re not able to make a sale during this initial call, the decision maker will be a lot more likely to remember you next time you get in touch. Remember, no one wants to be talked at, especially during a cold call, so try to start the conversation as quickly as possible.
All too often, telemarketers making cold calls fall into the mistake of talking quickly at the prospect as soon as they answer the phone, in an effort to prevent them hanging up. Although this tactic may work in the short term, in the long term it’s very unlikely to have significant results. Instead of talking at the prospect, ask your open question and then listen. Often underestimated in the world of telemarketing, listening can make a real difference to the outcome of your cold call.
Forget short term goals
If making a sale is the be all and end all of your telemarketing call, the prospect will be able to hear it in your voice the moment they pick up the phone. Instead of focusing on sales and targets, try to think of the conversation itself as the goal of your call. As well as helping the prospect to feel valued, this will help your call to stand out from the crowd and ensure you’re remembered for all the right reasons.