By Karen Tang
As we begin 2016, some are predicting the death of the cold call. However, with more than 75 percent of senior executives reporting taking a meeting after a cold call, I have to disagree. Cold calls can work for you, too – as long as you have the right sales script in place and are using the call to build an interactive, two-way conversation.
Sales scripts are incredibly important, especially if you are talking with a prospect over the phone. It can be intimidating to make a cold sales call, and you may worry that your potential customer will be annoyed with you or just hang up.
Sales executives who want to turn their sales force into a lean, mean, cold calling machine have to make a simple resolution this year: develop a top-notch sales script. A good script will guide your sales reps through a natural, two-way interactive conversation with each prospect, and will help them get to the bottom of each prospect’s pain so they can articulate the value of your product or service most effectively.
Not sure how to write a sales script that will help you win tons of business – and be more engaging to your prospects? Take note of these tips.
Skip the Small Talk
When cold calling, ask for your prospect by name (first and last) and then introduce yourself, providing your title and company name. From there, ask if you are calling at an OK time in their day and if you can take three to five minutes of their time. If they say no, ask if you can call back at a specific time the following day. That way, you will have an appointment.
From there, launch into the reason for your call. Condense this explanation into three to four sentences that go into the precise assistance your company provides, how your prospect can benefit, and a short example of a similar company with which you have worked.
The most important thing here is to stick to business-speak. Show them that you respect their time by getting right down to business.
Do Your Research
Spend a good deal of time gathering background information on your prospect. According to a recent study by Vorsight, only 3 percent of your market is ready to buy at any given time, but 40 percent are poised to do so. You can keep tabs on who is moving from the 40 percent and into the 3 percent by asking yourself the following questions: Has the company been in the news lately for a new product? What pain points are they facing these days? How is the state of their industry?
The more pertinent information you can present during your initial call, the more likely they will be to take you seriously and listen.
Use Their Jargon
Read up on the jargon, acronyms, etc., relevant to their industry and try to incorporate those terms into your sales script. Only 13 percent of customers believe a salesperson understands their needs, so, by using their jargon, you are not only making them more comfortable, but demonstrating you’re knowledgeable about their industry or product, which will help you gain credibility in the eyes of your prospect.
Cold calling can be nerve wracking – and those nerves can cause you to speak quickly and not allow any time for the person on the other end to have their say. Try to speak slowly and pause between sentences. Ask authentic questions that show you know their industry and want to start a dialogue.
Have a Conversation
In sales, customization is key – your audience is busy, so they want to know why you and your product are relevant to their lives within the first few minutes of your call, or you’ll lose their attention. Instead of giving a monologue or a lecture, start a dialogue to find out what your prospects care about most while you’re giving the talk, and then adjust your content on the fly.
If the prospect is interested in getting more information, schedule a follow-up presentation that is designed to be a two-way conversation between the presenter and prospect. Tools like Prezi – which are interactive and provide a zoom-able canvas that offers both the presenter and prospect a more unique, compelling, and engaging experience – can aid in the selling practice and be used while you deliver your script.
We have also found conversational presenting to be an effective tool for many of our customers, including Verifone. At trade shows, Verifone’s mobile sales team uses a Prezi that runs on an iPad so they can leave the booth and have on-the-fly conversations with prospects with a presentation they can take with them wherever they go, so they can extend the conversations to after-trade-show-hours dinners and networking events.
Stick with the Timeline and Finish with an Ask
If you told your prospect the conversation would last three to five minutes, stick to that. If you are about to go over because you’ve gotten to talking, pause for a moment and ask if they are still OK on time. They will appreciate this courtesy.
Before you end the call, ask for another meeting. This could be another phone discussion or a coffee date – whichever is best for their schedule. Offer a few times that work for you and ask them for their preferred time. After you get off the phone, confirm over email and then look forward to landing that sale!
Karen Tang leads the sales, customer success, and support teams at Prezi, and is passionate about growing and delighting its customer base. She leads the charge in expanding Prezi into teams and businesses, and in helping these business users adopt and maximize value out of the product.