Cold calling - Using mini upfront contracts to deal with "I don't have time"
Being human on your cold call
Sales is a conversation.
It is not one side monologuing to the other side. It’s not about you!
What does that mean, think of a cold call this way some stranger comes and starts talking to you and it’s all about them, what are you going to think? I want to end this conversation quickly, it’s your flight response kicking in.
You want to pitch your product or service but you want to get permission to pitch first and not make it feel like a pitch.
How do you get permission and how do you not make it feel like a pitch? We’ll go over a variation of upfront contracts you may have heard of from the Sandler Way of prospecting.
Who the hell are you?
When you see a strange number and you pick up the first thing you think about is who the hell is this and is it an important call?
When making the call you need to get that across clearly, so that means slow it down and don’t rush through. Often times the sales rep will speak too fast and the response they get from the prospect is “I’m sorry who is this again”.
That’s not a great start. So slow it down, speaking perhaps a little slower than normal and begin with “Hi, my name is John [pause] and I’m calling from RealtimeCRM. [PAUSE] We offer sales teams a powerful tool to manage their sales pipeline”.
You’ve answered their first query clearly and quickly.
The next part of not making it feel like a pitch is tonality. Imagine speaking to someone with a dull and monotone voice, it’s excruciating. You want to have good energy, to speak with a smile on your face. You want to boost the energy on the other side, human beings are reactive so take advantage of that and create that good feeling that comes from beyond just content but tonality. You know those people who are just engaging through tone of voice and personality that they put across to create that personal connection. You have to work on that, if you’re low energy you’ll lose like Jeb Bush.
Using mini upfront contracts to gain permission to pitch
Don’t even talk about your product or yourself before getting permission, and in order to get permission don’t talk about yourself or your product because guess what the prospect does not care about you or your product.
They care about themselves and their problems. That’s your in, never forget that.
A mini upfront contract is an agreement between you and the prospect on what will happen. People rarely get upset when you tell them what is going to happen and you give them the option to say no.
“Hi my name is John [pause] and I’m calling from RealtimeCRM. To put some context around why I’m calling and whether it makes sense for us to work together can I take 3 minutes of your time?”
That’s it. You’ve shown humility and not been presumptuous assuming that you’re more important than you really are. If someone just goes into a monologue with you the first thing that’ll go through your head is how do I get out of this call, by asking for permission you change that thought in their head, you seem more reasonable, more human and less sales robot trying to get their money.
You’ve also set the expectation of what will happen off the back of the three minute conversation, they’re either not interested or, for example, you can offer to do a more in depth demo of your product. That’s your agreement with the prospect, the mini upfront contract.
So now you’ve got your three minutes or more to do your pitch that doesn’t feel like a pitch.
The sales pitch that doesn’t feel like a pitch
So up to this point you should not have really talked about your product or service, you still shouldn’t really talk about your product or service. People don’t buy features so don’t try to sell features. You’ve got to approach it a different way.
The prospect is interested in themselves only so make it about them and their context. You do that by asking questions relevant to them and couching your product or service as an answer to their problem with if you have it some proof.
Now what are the best kinds of proofs? The best is their bottom line but failing that time saved, you want something quantifiable.
For example, is the actual value of your sales consistently below your forecasts so you’re seeing money slipping through your fingers? Hopefully they answer in the affirmative and then you can respond for example with RealtimeCRM has helped companies like yours increase sales by 25%…
You’ve made it so that you’re talking about what’s important to them not to you and you’re now demonstrating how and why you and your product or service are relevant to them. You’re making a sales pitch without making a blunt sales pitch, you’re not selling features you’re solving and reducing their pain.
The questioning is designed to find what benefit you potentially offer that will appeal to the prospect and to make it a conversation not a monologue. Remember the goal here is not to make the sale but to get their commitment to a follow up meeting or demo so keep it relaxed and pressure free as much as possible.
Creating a relaxed atmosphere is a lot easier if you have a referral and therefore a commonality between the two of you. If not but you’ve done your research and found out that they have some interest that you both share or some achievement that you can congratulate them on will help you greatly to let the steam out and make the conversation less salesy and more human.
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