Cold Calling Tips and Techniques


Authored by Lee Wright in Marketing and Advertising
Published on 12-02-2009

Cold calling can be one of the hardest sales techniques to perfect. Although anyone can call a prospective customer and read from a prepared script, consistently achieving more than a quick hang-up is a learned skill. There are several tips that can make you more successful as a cold caller and give you a chance to at least make your sales pitch to a prospective customer.

There is an art to selling and particularly to cold calling. Although many cold callers are told by employers to use a script, really a scripted pitch may do more harm than good. For most people reading from a script sounds phony and pushy. A salesperson in so focused on the script and their agenda that they fail to make any real connection to the person they are talking to. Most customers will respond better to a polite personable opening than an obviously scripted conversation. You may still get a no, but at least you didn’t waste precious time reading through a script, that was never going to get you a positive response anyway.

If you are thinking you won’t know what to say without a script, you may want to ask yourself whether you really know what to say with a script. Yes, you have lines in front of you, but they usually have no relationship to your customer and mean nothing to them. Working with a script focuses on what you have to offer without considering a customer’s needs. Making a sales pitch without establishing a basic connection smacks of high-pressure sales tactics and frequently results in a fast hang-up.

Instead of focusing on trying to get a prospective customer to say yes to your scripted sales pitch focus on getting them to ask you to explain more. You can then tailor your answer to their question. If you have a good basic knowledge of your product, your natural and enthusiastic response will be much better than the scripted pitch. Try recording yourself with a friend using the script and you will able to hear how unnatural and pushy it sounds. Although you may think you sound natural and friendly, you may find out that what you really sound like is the worst stereotype of a used car salesman. This is not an image likely to inspire the trust necessary for someone to engage in a transaction with you.

Instead of jumping right into a sales pitch, you are better off asking if you can have a few minutes of someone’s time. They may say no, but then you can quickly move on. Or you could start by asking if they have a certain problem that your product can solve. You are likely to get a request for more information or a polite no. A request for more information can open the door to further explanation or a polite no can minimize the time you waste reading a useless script. A friendly no pressure approach is likely to get more positive responses and waste less time. Either way you don’t waste either person’s time and you make a connection with your customer.

Although cold calling can be a useful sales technique, positive results can be limited if your customer feels the pressure of pushy sales techniques. Scripted cold calls frequently give this impression. A better approach is to start with a friendly conversation and make your pitch only if more information is requested. It ensures that you are spending your time on an interested customer and minimizes the time wasted on disinterested customers.


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