There’s been a lot of chatter on the forums lately about cold calling. Some people swear by it, while others swear it’s a waste of time.
Cold calling can be a very effective tool in your overall marketing arsenal (or the only tool in your arsenal if you’re dead broke), if done correctly.
This article deals with the top ten rules for cold calling. Some people who read this will disagree with some, most, or all of what I say. Some will even be offended. It doesn’t matter. These are the rules I followed and used to get strangers to send me millions of dollars—without ever meeting me face to face. Add them to your repertoire and I guarantee you, it’ll improve your results over the phone.
Rule 1: ABC
“Always Be Closing” is the number one rule to live by when cold calling. You’re not on the phone to make friends. That can come later. You want to get your point across to the busy business man or woman on the other side of the phone. They want to deal with people they feel are winners, not timid whiners.Know what your objective is for the phone call and ask for it. If someone responds with anything other than a “no,” you have to answer them, reassure them, and then close them.
Here’s an example:
-“What’s your name again?”
-“John, my name is kevinbsi and there’s not a doubt in my mind this is a phenomenal situation. When can we meet?”
Whatever you do, don’t just answer the question and leave the line silent—you’re only closing the door on an opportunity for both of you to benefit.
Rule 2: End Down
This is an important tonality to use when speaking to prospects on the phone. It’s almost impossible to explain on paper other than to end every paragraph and every close the direct opposite of the way you would ask a question. When you ask a question, you raise your voice at the end of the sentence. Doing the opposite portrays an air of authority and certainty: two things you want to display plenty of during a cold call.
Rule 3: You’re Speaking with Your Equal
When you’re on the phone with a president, CEO, or someone with the authority to buy what you’re selling, you want them to view you as an equal. This begins with your tone of voice, which shouldn’t be reverent or deferential. You’re on the phone with an equal; you’re just two people discussing business—whether you’re talking to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the hardware store owner up the block.
Because you’re speaking to an equal, address the man or woman by their first name. Now some of you reading this will disagree with me adamantly or say you’d never speak with someone on the phone who called you by your first name. I have only two replies for that:
1. If someone would insist upon you calling them “mister” so-and-so, you probably don’t want them as a client. They’ll probably never think of you or treat you as an equal and that is far less than what you deserve.
2. I have never—not once—had this happen to me. If you handle yourself professionally and sound like a person who should be listened to, you’ll never have this problem either.
Now, I just want to be clear here; I’m not saying for you to be disrespectful. Calling someone, even a complete stranger, over the phone by their first name isn’t disrespectful in and of itself, but treat the matter with respect. Be respectful and professional and you’ll be treated that way: as an equal.
One last thing on the subject—there’s one exception: Doctors. They earned the right to be called doctor with their years of medical school. Address doctors as doctor—just doctor. As the pitch progresses and you’ve built some rapport, you can shorten it to “doc.”
Now here’s a pro-tip: when you’re trying to sell a doctor on the phone and you’ve been at it for a while, addressing objections and answering questions, and you feel you’ve built a rapport with the doctor—do this: on one of your closes (hopefully your last) bring your voice down and call him or her by their first name before you close. That tactic works well because you’ve been calling him or her doctor or doc the whole time. Once you call them by their name, it changes the entire situation and opens them up.
Rule 4: Blow off BS objections (Buyers are Liars)
Many times the reason a prospect won’t buy (or set the appointment, etc.) is not the reason they initially tell you. Always remember that buyers are liars. A favorite lie of an excuse is “my wife won’t let me.” These lies can’t be addressed head on or you’ll harden their position and make it real.
You have to blow these types of excuses off. For example:
“John, I talked to my wife this morning and she said I could sell it to you. I think one wife is enough…”
Follow the blow off with a solid reason for buying and a close and you’re one step closer to selling, or at least a step closer to finding out the real objection.
Rule 5: Cut off Excuses
Sometimes, usually directly after asking for the order the first time, a prospect will try to ramble on with excuses. Once you hear that’s it’s not a yes or a questions or a useful reason the prospect can’t buy, cut them off and get them back on the path you want them on. Control the conversation, but do it tactfully.
Rule 6: Economy of Language
Simply put, every paragraph, every sentence, every word has to have one goal: to get the prospect closer to doing whatever it is you want him or her to do. Use an economy of language. If you can make your point in ten words, don’t use eleven. Conversely, if your ten word sentence can be strengthened greatly by the addition of an eleventh word, do it. Remember what your goal for the call is and do what you can to achieve it.
Rule 7: He who Speaks First Loses
For many, this is rule Numero Uno, but it’s important enough to repeat. He who speaks first loses. When you ask for the order and there’s silence on the line, the other person better be the one to speak first. If not, you’ve blown a great opportunity to achieve your objective for the call.
Rule 8: Don’t Repeat Them
Just as replying to silly objections makes the objection real in the prospect’s mind, the same goes for repeating objections. Don’t ever repeat a prospect’s objection; it will only solidify it and make the objection all the more real. Address the prospect’s excuse and ask for the order. Never repeat.
Rule 9: Reneges
People don’t always live up to their word. Sometimes people agree to buy something, then get buyer’s remorse once their off the phone. This is part of life and sales. Don’t let it get you down.
If anything, turn these lemons into lemonade. If someone reneges on a deal you pitched them, you’re obviously good at your job. You caused someone to buy something they probably would never have on their own. Your pitch was so good, strong, or powerful that they just couldn’t say no to you.
Some great salesmen don’t have this problem, but most do. Some of the best, sharpest guys I’ve ever known had renege rates of 50%. If you get a bunch of reneges, you’re probably doing a good job. If it’s over 50%, you have to investigate why it’s happening and look to make a change.
Rule 10: GAC and JFDI
There’s a ton of acronyms associated with selling: ABC, AIDA, AFTO, SPIN, etc. The list could go on and on, but the two most important ones are GAC and JFDI.
GAC stands for:
Get the guy on the phone
Ask for the order
The entire over-the-phone sales process operates on these three simple steps. Follow them and you’ll succeed.
As for JFDI…You probably know what JFDI stands for, but I’ll spell it out anyway.
“Just Friggin’ Do It!”
This is by far the most important rule for selling, or anything in life. Just do it! I’ll end this article with some advice imparted upon me by my first boss out of college.
“Do something, even if it’s wrong.”
This came from a man with a 7th grade education, who ran a firm with over 100 employees, and was personally making over a couple million dollars a year—on interest alone.
This number could have conservatively been ten times that amount, but the man was a horrible business man who didn’t know how to grow a company or keep his employees happy.
But he was making millions of dollars a year, living on the motto of “Just do it.”
You’re never going to get anything just right. Your script, your timing, your tone can always improve. But if you just do it, you’ll succeed.
If you only take one of these rules away with you, take this one and you’ll see your skills sharpen and your bottom line grow.