Posted tagged ‘warm lead’

Cold Calling Step 6: Transforming the Sales Script into a Voice Mail that Gets Returned Calls

July 30, 2010

A script works great if you have the opportunity to speak directly to the targeted prospect. More often than not, you will end up in a voice mail.

Many people view this as the worst possible scenario. However, this can be a real opportunity because you have approximately an uninterrupted minute to present the reason why your prospect should return your call.

And once again, this is why crafting your business benefits is so important. I choose to organize my benefits so that I can leave three or four rated but modestly different voice mails.

The initial voice mail message should focus on your core benefits message. Go with what you believe to be the strongest benefit and briefly explain how you deliver that value. If you have a source of outside validation – as in a recognition or award from a third party or even the names of some leading industry companies who are using your solution – mention that as well. It will add to your solution’s credibility.

Remember, everyone wants to lead, but few want to be first.

And always, in every message, leave your name, company name and telephone number spoken slowly, clearly and repeated at least twice.

Your subsequent messages should provide your core benefits plus an additional one that might be of interest. This keeps the message fresh. Remember, also to leave information about how your solution works so that the solution can resonate with the prospect.

If you do not get return calls, you may want to then leave a web site where the prospect can learn more about your solution.

Recognize also that even though you think you have the appropriate target, you might not. If after all of this calling, you still have not received a return call, suggest that the prospect might want to forward you to someone more appropriate. This allows the prospect to get you to stop calling and it provides you with a warm lead. You now can call the next person and state that you were referred by the initial prospect. In many cases, this referral statement generates a return call.

So how many calls are required in order to get a return call?

I have found the threshold number to be around seven calls over a three-week period. This tells the prospect that you are enthusiastic about reaching them because you have something you believe to be valuable – you can even say that in one of your calls – and that you are very committed to reaching them.

These calls must follow one another closely, which is why I suggest that a three-week period is appropriate. You also do not want to develop into a stalker.

If, after all of this, you do not receive a call back, you can and should stretch the time frame out to two and three weeks between calls.

In all cases and no matter how many times you get voice mail, your message should be friendly upbeat and positive. The prospect has to feel that it is safe to call you back. Any message that makes it appear “unsafe” will negate all of your previous efforts.

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Cold Calling Step 5: Identifying the Right Person for Your Sales Presentation

July 23, 2010

All too often, we limit the equation of success to having a product with specific benefits and a compelling presentation. But if your presentation is conveyed to the wrong audience, it will be met with boredom and disinterest.

Some “sales gurus” will advocate that you should present to the highest level you can reach within an organization. But what do you do if, frankly, your product or service is too granular in scope to engender interest from the highest levels of the organization?

That is why you need to identify the person who has a vested interest in the product or service that you are advocating.

Finding such a person is not that difficult. For this particular campaign, I acquired a directory of health care organizations within my specific target market. These directories listed the senior leadership. There were two potential roles that would likely be interested in this product. Where the product would have value was dependent on the organizational design and structure.

I decided to call both. I recognized that the person that I called might not be the appropriate person so I decided to employ two tactics. The first was to explain in detail in voice mail the compelling benefits and why this would be interest. Where I could not get into voice mail – where a gatekeeper blocked me or where I could only leave a message – I employed a second tactic.

In these circumstances, I leveraged the lessons from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. (Please note: I have reviewed this book on this site. Search Cialdini if you wish to understand his work in a few short posts)

Knowing that people naturally liked helping others, I courteously and passionately asked if I could be directed to the right person and explained what my product provided. An overwhelming number provided me with the name and the number of the person I should be contacting. Additionally, I now had a referral to bring to the discussion as indeed I was being advised to call a particular person. My cold call was transformed into a warm lead.

A brief digression…

Personally, I am very comfortable employing this approach. When I represent an exciting new product that can make a difference, I view what I am providing as a unique opportunity for my prospect. If my product allows them to deliver better value to their clients…well, what could be better than that?

Additionally, with cold calling, there is a unique challenge. Your prospect likely doesn’t know that your product exists so he or she can’t seek you out. In fact, by providing a compelling benefit and solution, you, the salesperson, are opening new horizons and possibilities for your prospect. By making their company more competitive, efficient or valuable, you are contributing to the well being of their clients, employees, families and the overall marketplace and economy.

This is why sales, if done appropriately, is a very noble profession.

Back to the topic at hand…

I have found that it takes, on average, at least seven calls to the same prospect over a three-week time frame to get a call back. This is because the prospect needs to know that you are so enthusiastic about the offering that you are presenting and you will not go away without a response.

As to what that intriguing voice mail sounds like…that is the subject of our next post.


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