The most important question your sales team isn’t asking
Cold calling is one of the most challenging and important responsibilities of a sales role. There is a lot of debate about what approaches work and what doesn’t. In an effort to set the record straight on one of the most debated cold call tactics, we are going to address one of our favorite questions:
What to say when a prospect answers the phone?
Contrary to popular beliefs, our recommendation is to first introduce yourself and your company, and then ask, “Did I catch you at a good time?”
This is a cold call. You don’t know the person on the end of the line (yet!), but diving into a sales pitch without first asking them if it’s a convenient time will only rub them the wrong way—or make them feel like you are just trying to get something from them. Not the best introduction. Nor does it put people at ease with providing you the information you are seeking.
Instead, asking them if it’s a good time to talk, gives you the chance to schedule for a time more convenient for your prospect. Naysayers may argue that you are creating an opportunity for them to get out of talking to you, but we disagree. Instead, we believe it demonstrates professionalism, consideration and the ability to connect with the prospect on a more peer-to-peer level.
So what happens next? Either the prospect will ask you to proceed, in which case you’ve just been given permission to continue, or they will choose another time that is more convenient. Now you have an official appointment, can ask them for their email or direct line to first schedule then return the call, and you’ve made it official.
After the follow up call has been scheduled, all you have to do is keep the appointment and call them back. People might object and say, well what if they don’t answer? Then leave a voicemail, remind them of your appointment time, and try them again later.
Right away you have separated yourself from the competition, showing the prospect that you listen, value their time and can follow through. These little wins build rapport and trust with your potential client early in the sales process. Be professionally persistent and you will get another chance to speak except this time starting with a favorable impression.
Best of luck out there!
Have a sales question that needs answering? Tag us at #CarverPetersonQA on social media and we will address it in our upcoming video series.