The Trick to Successful Cold Calling

November 30, 2008

Posted in Small Business.

Most people hate cold calling. Even if you can turn your connections into a visit or a phone call, you’re still starting off with nothing: no reputation to precede you, no interest, no warm lead. Chances are, you’re walking into a cold brick wall—someone who knows they’re going to humor your sales pitch.

This is the trick I’ve used to overcome the cold call and turn it into a warm – or even hot lead.

It’s a pretty simple phrase, actually:

“Let’s take a look at what your competitor is doing.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to Roy’s Hardware or a Fortune 500 company: people are competitive. If they’re best in the industry, they are desperately looking for something to help them keep their lead. And if they’re not the leader, then the customer is going nuts realizing that their competition is winning.

I used to go into a sale from the angle of “here’s how I can help you.” But that implies that the customer needs you to fix them. People don’t like feeling broken.

The competitor angle speaks to a more definite urge. You’re on the same team, now. Their competitor is your competitor, and your expertise can help the customer kick their butt.

As a web marketer, I’d pull up the competition’s website. I’d make notes of what they did right and what they did wrong. I’d make lists of search keywords that the competition performed well on. Where they were winning. I’d make careful note of their weaknesses.

The competition’s weaknesses are opportunities for your customer. They’re positive things they can focus on.

When you call or visit your prospect, start off by making informed assessments of their industry. Ask if they saw what they competitor has been doing recently. Ask how much time they’ve spent on their competition’s website. Mention the competition by name.

That’s when you tell them you can help them beat (or extend their lead on) the competition. Now you’ve got key points from your research to carry it on to the next meeting. Don’t give it all up then – use this newfound interest to schedule your first meeting, make a presentation, send more information about your business, etc.