May 4, 2013

cold calling: how to book no meetings

I'm sticking around the cold calling topic some more, on how NOT to set up a meeting.

It's verified that, in business-to-business, consultative sales, closing deals is a numbers game that starts with picking up the phone for setting up meetings.

So here is a list of mistakes I did when I started calling to schedule meetings, without any prior training:

#1 Not knowing the name of the person I was trying to meet.
Calling at the reception desk asking to be transfered at department x or position y states clearly that you're cold calling. They are trained to block all such calls.

#2 Starting by saying "Sorry to disturb you"
This kind of beginning puts you in a lower position than the person you're speaking to.

#3 Asking "Would it be possible to speak to..?"
Way to humble, it only works if you count on secretary's pity. Goes well with "my boss will fire me if you dont put me through".

#4  Falling the trap of "What is this regarding?"
I was using exactly the same script with the assistant as with the prospect. Quite often, she was the one to reply "We're not interested" and hang up.

#5 Not having a script 
When I was finally reaching the prospect, I was blocked. This was not the purpose of my call; however, beyond overpassing the gatekeeper, there was no plan.

#6 Not engaging the prospect
At some point, I drafted a script. It was all about my company, my service, my presentation. Oh, and the meeting. Every 15 seconds I had to ask "Hello?" to see if anyone was still on the line. They often weren't anymore.

#7 Using words like "offer" or "presentation"
When I was declaring my purpose, saying that I'd like to offer or present our service, I was suggested to send these via email and that was the end of it.

#8 Forgeting the purpose of the call
I was going on and on about the technical details of my product: it can do this and that. After around 5 minutes, I was questioning their interest. I was making them think about my product and figure out if they need it. No reason for anyone to do that. They weren't.

#9 Asking IF they want to meet
People tend to answer the question they're asked. If you're cold calling and asking for a Yes or No kind of answer, people tend to take the easy way out and go with No.

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