Many of you are cold calling–or introductory calling, as I prefer to think about it–to set new business appointments with prospects. In order to effectively set new business appointments, it is important to determine the goal of your initial telephone call. Many of you would say that your goal is to close the sale. And that is true–closing is your ultimate goal. Closing, however, is not the goal of your first telephone call. This is an important distinction! When making introductory calls, your goal is to set the appointment and only to set the appointment.
Every business has its own sales cycle. Getting in the door is step one. If your prospect does not know you, your company, your product or service, then she will never buy from you. So, how do you accomplish step one and get in the door?
On an introductory call, you are not selling your product or service, you are selling a meeting. You want your prospect to give you 10 to 15 minutes of their time, so that you can introduce yourself, your company, your product or your service. And that is it! At this point, you are not asking the prospect to do anything but give you time. You are not asking her to buy anything, change vendors, commit to or change anything that she normally does.
Approaching your calls this way changes the entire conversation. Suppose your prospect tells you that she already has a vendor. So what! You are not asking her to change vendors, you are asking her to meet with you so that you can introduce yourself, your company, product or service, and that way, in the future, if her situation changes, she’ll know you, she’ll know the company, product or service. Certainly, it never hurts to have a backup source! This is entirely reasonable! (By the way, if your prospect already has a vendor, that makes her a qualified prospect–she buys what you sell!)
If you think about introductory calling in this manner, the entire tenor of your conversation with your prospect changes. There is less pressure, both on you and on your prospect. It makes your manner more relaxed, and it relaxes your prospect and allows them be open to what you are saying. This works. Once you are in the door, the sales cycle can move forward.