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The cold call: Love it or hate it, it’s often a necessary evil in the world of sales and marketing. But just because it’s not always the most personal of contact methods doesn’t mean it has to involve a script and an inevitable firm rejection. With the right training, it’s possible to turn your sales force into masters of the cold call. No, it’s not as simple as compliance or procedural training, but taking the time to improve sales soft skills could result in your next big break.
Softening the Introduction
The worst part of any cold call is the obviously frigid introduction. The very definition of a cold call is one in which your sales team doesn’t really know the person they’re contacting, which is probably why they’re so maligned in the sales world. After all, how much do you like being contacted by a complete stranger?
But there can be an art to softening a cold call introduction so that the lack of connection is less obvious. Referencing a shared connection is always a great way to get a foot in the door, so start scouring your LinkedIn contacts for an “in.” If not, even just the mention of a shared interest or network can soften the blow of a cold call. Attendance to the same conference or event, for example, might be enough to get rid of the initial awkwardness long enough for your sales staff to hit its stride.
Bringing Something Meaningful to the Table
The next principle to teach your sales force is the art of the freebie. Look: Everyone loves getting something for free. Whether it’s an industry report, simply a project sketch, or featuring them in your blog, bringing something to the table from the start turns cold calls become opportunity calls.
Remember though, whatever you are giving away for free must be relevant to a problem the other person is looking to solve. It’s important to make sure the call is worth a person’s time if you want any chance to turn that call into a customer.
Justifying Spend (and Making Jobs Easier)
One of the best way to make a cold call more personal is to commiserate with the very issues that might plague the person on the other end of the line. In the world of eLearning, for example, we encounter a number of L&D professions that are constantly justifying their departments and budgets. By first, acknowledging their pain points, and second, presenting a solution, the cold call suddenly becomes more viable. We can then lead into programs, products, and strategies that make a potential client’s job easier.
Train your sales force to take the time to listen to potential clients. Instead of sales pitch by rote, they can then customize solutions and ideas based on each individual’s needs. The result? Cold calls that are decidedly warm in temperature–and all the more likely to result in a new client.
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