Cold calling in B2B is difficult for many. My little cold calling guide ensures that you are not turned away when you make a sales call.
In my experience, in more than 50 percent of the cases you will be successful with the telephone acquisition if you orientate yourself by the following sample conversation. You can adapt the concrete example for your service or product.
However, you should take the legal framework, in the US, into account:
These are the basics:
- You can only cold call between 8am and 9pm, unless the recipient gives you permission to call at other times.
- You have to introduce yourself: you name, your company, and the purpose of the call.
- You must respect the recipient’s wishes. If they ask you not to call them again, then you can’t. (There’s also a Do-Not-Call registry, created by the Federal Trade Commission, and you can’t call anyone on that list either.)
- You must get approval in writing before actually finalizing a sale. (You can’t say, “Great, sold! Give me your account number and I’ll send you your purchase.”) You need a signature, or a documented online transaction, or something like that.
- You must always speak the truth! No misrepresentations allowed. If you lie about your product/service/company, you’re violating federal and state security laws.
Guidelines for a conversation between an IT service provider and the secretary of the managing director of a medium-sized company
|Caller / Secretary :||Better than:||Works because:|
|“Julia Smith” , “Good morning, Mrs. Smith. My name is Eric Jones from BIG IT (break), good morning. “” Good afternoon. “||“My name is Jones from BIGIT. We are the leading provider for … “||The repetition of the greeting plus a pause after the greeting gives the secretary the opportunity to return the greeting. This prevents a verbiage from provoking resistance in the anteroom by announcing a sales pitch in which one wants to persuade the other to do something. The break, on the other hand, conveys that a normal conversation from person to person begins.|
|“Tell me , Mrs. Kastner, is Max Randle already back in-house today? ” ” Yes, he is. “ ” Then please connect me to him. Thank you very much.”||“I would like to present this offer to Mr. Randle one day.”||Providing the first name and surname and connecting them with this question confers confidentiality and often ensures that the secretary no longer asks what it is all about. In a surprising number of cases, these few seconds of conversation are enough to be put through.|
|If you are not put through straight away: “What is it all about?” “About his IT infrastructure, especially the improvement of his system availability, I need his decision as IT manager. Please connect me to him. Thank you very much.”||The secretary wants to know exactly what you want from the boss. The majority, however, do not give her an answer, but talk in a lot of words in order to wiggle their way through – which is annoying and provokes a negative attitude. On the contrary, by getting to the point quickly and keeping the conversation with a final request, you will often be pleasantly surprised – and put through in most cases.|
Guidelines for a conversation between an IT service provider and the managing director of a medium-sized company:
|The caller / the called party says:||Better than:||Works because:|
|Good morning Mr. Jones, my name is Max Randle from BIG IT (break), good morning. Good morning Mr. Randle.||“My name is Randle from BIG IT. We are the leading provider for … “||It is the natural start in a conversation between two people: One leaves the called party the opportunity to return the greeting – which everyone will do automatically. A positive introduction that conveys normality – and not the impression of being coaxed by a column of tricksters.|
|“Mr. Jones, may I get straight to the point?” “Sure, gladly.”||“Would you have ten minutes for me?”, “Do you already know us?”||In contrast to the usual “If you had …” entrances, which all allow a “no”, almost everyone will answer “yes” to the “to the point” question – everyone is grateful when they are told that no incalculably long conversation will follow. The formulation avoids the humility subjunctive – and puts the caller on an equal footing with the person being called. The triggered “Yes” as an answer creates a positive basic mood.|
|“We want to become your additional strategic IT partner, but only if that really makes sense for you. I have a short question about that, is that ok for you? “” Yes, if it’s really short. “||“I have a great offer for you that could be very interesting for you.”||All questions that called decision-makers ask subconsciously are answered – it is made clear that the caller is in the customer’s world – and he is concerned about their well-being. The customer is given the opportunity to decide for himself – and not to have to buy something.|
|“If there is one thing in the area of your IT infrastructure that does not always run as you would like it to be as IT manager, what is that?” “Availability is sometimes not stable enough for me.”||“I would like to convince you that we are better than our competitors in terms of price and performance.”||With such a question, a caller shows real interest in the customer. Again he is in the customer’s world – not his. The customer remains in control by allowing the open question to speak. The further avoided subjunctive keeps the conversation at eye level. Instead of triggering a blockage reflex at the customer with a flood of supposed advantages of the own offer, the question keeps a normal conversation going. You don’t have to be quick-witted – concentrated listening is enough to continue. True to the principle: “Arguments close the mind, questions open it”.|
|“What should the availability look like, let’s say in the area of trading systems, so that it fits perfectly? What do you think?” “It should have at least an availability class 4. “||“We would be delighted if you could take a look at our offer.”||The question takes up the wording of the customer and goes deeper into the topic.|
|“Wonderful, then a discussion together definitely makes sense. In the next week, I will show you how to solve increased availability in the area of trading systems to availability class 4. When is it the best time for you? “Tuesday lunchtime would be good.”||“I would be happy to send you our offer once by email – or come to you directly …”||By repeating the customer’s words exactly and thus transferring them to the end of the conversation, the caller stays close to him and reflects the customer’s interest. An appointment will most certainly work out – no one objects to the wording he has just spoken.|