This is a guest blog post from one of our ProTrac participants, Emma Frost, Ph.D., the founder of CanLead Training, and the District Governor 2013/14 for Toastmasters International in Winnipeg – one of only 87 such positions around the world.
There are so many free webinars out there that it is difficult to know which ones to take the time to attend. Especially at the moment, as I am currently busy starting up my new training business. I am trying to focus on attending those webinars that contain information that is relevant to business start-up, and that are given by experts in the field.
Last week, I listened to a webinar on “Mastering First Impressions” by Peter Ekstrom, where he was talking about cold calls. You can learn more about Peter on his website.
Peter talked about how studies have been done showing that you have only 2 to 3 seconds to make a first impression on a new contact. One and two and three, and you are done! Imagine starting with “Um, oh yes…” Time’s up! You already lost the sale.
Apparently on the phone you have a little longer, a whole 5 seconds, “oh yes, um, hi my name’s um Emma.” Time’s up! Wow. The importance of a script for cold calling becomes suddenly very clear.
Interestingly for me, at this point in the webinar, 25 minutes in, I was wondering how many successful calls this “expert” had made, because he was umming and erring his way through his presentation and hadn’t left me with a very good first impression… but I digress.
Here are five cold call tips regarding how to structure your script for the golden cold call:
- Be humble, non-aggressive, but also be assertive, and friendly. Try pasting a smile on your face while calling to up your friendliness quotient. Open with “I am hoping you will give me ten seconds to explain my call.”
- Use the lemonade statement – a 10-15 second statement of the product/service – e.g. “Lemonade is a cold drink sold to thirsty people.” At first I thought “Oh no. Really?” But I quickly realized that this puts the other person in the driver’s seat for the call, which makes them relax because they know you won’t be overbearing. He called this the ice-breaker statement.
- Ask a focus question about whether the prospective client has any issues that this product/service might resolve?
- Ask an attention question, which is simply the request for more time to discuss your product or service with the client, “I don’t want to take up too much of your time today, would you have time to meet in person so that I can better explain my services. I only need 20 minutes of your day.”
- Make a scheduling statement, where you request a meeting at a time and date that is convenient for you both.
These five steps make up the structure of the cold call, which should be only a total of 2 to 4 minutes in length, maximum.
If your prospective client says no at any point, you can ask for a referral — “is there someone else in the company I should talk to?”. Once you have the name of someone else in the company you can start with “Hi, Mrs. So-and-so suggested I call you,” it serves as an introduction, and is known as a warm call (who knew there were so many names for these things?).
Peter’s final suggestion was to make your calls at 8am or 6pm to catch the person before they start work or at the end of the day. Successful examples of this Gold Calling Script can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/dealbuilders.
I have listened to a few of his “Gold” calls. I am still not convinced, but at this point in my career I am ready to try anything.
What works for you when you are “dialing for dollars” and making cold calls? Please feel free to share it in the Comments section below.