Make your Cold Calls Sizzle Part II
By Michelle Collins | September 30, 2001
Last month Steven J. Schwartz, best-selling author of How to Make Hot Cold calls, outlined for us a system he developed that can help you overcome the fear of cold calling to use the phone to get appointments and sales. This month we look at the mistakes and tripwires that may be sabotaging your cold calling efforts.
Tripwires vs. Mistakes
The difference between a tripwire and a mistake says Steven, is that with tripwires you're toast in the first two seconds and you didn't even know you were toast. When you run into a tripwire two things have just happened to you. You have just let the person know that they don't want to talk to you, and you have lost control, which is the absolute kiss of death.
Mistakes do not bring immediate disaster, but it will still cause your downfall.
The Top Three Tripwires
So, what are the most common tripwires? Schwartz tells us that the tripwires most commonly hit by telemarketers are:
1. "Is Mr. Or Mrs. Schwartz there?"
When you ask this, right off you've started off saying you're a telemarketer and this is a very impersonal call. Even psychologically you're starting off unbalanced. Yet telemarketers ask this all the time. If you are calling a new prospect, and a man answers the phone just assume it is Mr. Schwartz. Likewise if a woman answers assume it is Mrs. Schwartz.
2. "How are you?"
Do you really want to know? Of course not. This may be a comfortable ice breaker in face-to-face conversation, but on the phone it is a killer. By asking it you are relinquishing control to your prospect. Remember, you have less than 30 seconds to get to the point, to hit the person in the "greed glands". Instead of asking the person how they are, tell him/her what you have that will benefit them.
3. "Is now a good time to talk?"
This is another common call killer. Once again you are handing control over to your prospect, giving him/her the opportunity to end the call before you've even told them what you offer. Once again, use the first 30 seconds to tell your prospect what they want to hear.
The top three mistakes:
You may not be getting caught by any trip wires but there are other mistakes you could be making that leave you listening to a dial tone on the other end of the phone. Steven gives us the three most common mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
3. Missed Opportunity
If you are calling and leaving voice messages you could be missing out on seventy five per cent of your opportunities. Your biggest chance could pass you by because you didn't get the people on the phone. Voicemail can help you in your preparation but you shouldn't rely on it to make your pitch.
2. Lack of focus
The next common mistake people make is not taking the time to focus before picking up the phone. Steven has a technique called Call Caffeine designed to help you take the guesswork out of the call. You have to focus on two things: who you're calling and why you're calling them. Your focus is the glue that holds the conversation together: without it your call is a lost cause.
Steven also likes to use visualization to help find his focus.
"I visualize the call taking place, I visualize the person asking a question, and I visualize that I'm already in their office doing business. I actually can picture their voice because I've called the night before and listened to their voice."
3.Talking too fast
The biggest mistake you can make is talking too fast. You may talk fast because you are nervous or it's a habit. Other people try to say everything before the person on the other end hangs up. You may not even realize that you are talking too fast.
"It's the hardest thing in coaching is to get people to slow down. In fact when they are actually talking normal they think it's painful for them until they play it back and they hear it's normal," says Steven.
As Steven explains, the slower you talk, the more people listen. This doesn't mean you should talk in a drawl, but remember that you've called them. They're in the middle of a million things. Something else to remember is that when you are talking quickly you don't sound confident, yet when you are talking slowly everything you say sounds extremely important.
"Every word that you speak paints an image in someone's mind. Are you going to let them fly by, or are you going to let them see them?"
If you're going to use cold calling to build your business, don't think of each call as a commodity. Instead, says Steven, you should think of each call as a Ming Dynasty Vase. And when doing so, be sure that you don't let the tripwires and mistakes outlined above kill your chances of success. "Every call is precious, and you treat them with respect. It's about treating the call with respect, yourself with respect, and treating the person you're calling with respect," says Steven. "It's not about volume, it's about precision."