Here are four recommendations that will guarantee you increase your cold call to appointment conversion rate.
There are numerous ways we engage new prospects for the very first time. These include:
- A business development telephone call
- Meeting at a Trade Show or Conference
- A social media link, usually Facebook or Linkedin
In the business-to-business world, the very first interaction is usually via the telephone or a chance meeting at a professional event such as a trade show or conference. For demonstration purposes, in this blog let’s assume a cold call, made on the telephone, by the fictional company Global MHE LTD.
Remember, in telephone business development, a prospect decides if they want to stay engaged within the first 7 seconds of contact. So you need a hook which engages the prospect, is low key, to the point and scripted.
1. A DISTINCTIVE START
The start needs a low key, slow, mellow approach rather than the typical high pitch, high energy sales approach that reeks of a cold call
2. QUICKLY OBTAIN PERMISSION TO ENGAGE
This needs to be direct and to the point, such as:
- “Sheldon England here, is this a good time to talk?”
- “Sheldon England here, did I catch you in the middle of something?”
After your question, then be quiet, listen and wait for the reply.
3. PROVIDE A BRIEF EXPLANATION FOR THE CALL
This needs a script such as:
- “My company Global MHE works with many companies like yours, helping them to dramatically increase their warehouse productivity”
- “Right now we are seeing a lot of companies where, in their warehouses, they are looking for NEW intelligent ways to increase their footprint and reduce labour costs”
4. ENGAGE YOUR CLIENT
After your brief explanation you could ask any of the following:
- “What improvement would you like to make?”
- “What challenges are you currently facing?”
- “How are these things affecting your operation?”
(which is a little less direct and softer)
- Or any open-ended question that suits your situation
Then, be quiet again. Listen to your client’s reply. Focus intensely on every word. They are telling you how you should sell to them.
If the prospect starts talking about their business you have probably engaged them to such an extent that they no longer wish to terminate the call. At this point, to move forward, we recommend you listen more than talk and have a thorough knowledge of:
- Work your company has done with other similar clients, including how that work benefitted your client
- In-depth knowledge of your product range
- Your company’s after sales service principles
- Your company structure
Be armed with as much important industry-related knowledge as you can. Only use it if you feel it’s appropriate. Remember, the point of the call is to secure a face-to-face appointment. You DON’T want to talk yourself out of a meeting because you’ve given them too much over the phone.
Ask for an appointment offering options on dates and times. Once the meeting has been agreed, send a short, single-paragraph email that same day confirming the meeting. Attach a 1-page PDF of your professional details.
These principals can also be applied to those canvassing new prospects using Social Media platforms such as Linkedin, with the objective to either set up a telephone call or a face-to-face meeting.
In the space of one, or possibly two, short paragraphs, you need to cover how your product or service has benefitted similar clients citing 2 or 3 examples in bullet form. Below these bullet points write an open-ended question such as:
- What challenges is your company currently facing?
- Where would you like to make improvements?
- Share with me your company’s manufacturing/warehousing/distribution process
The whole purpose is either to obtain a reply or to engage them. By keeping your message really short and focusing on their needs & objectives, instead of your issues, you are giving yourself the best chance of establishing new B2B contacts and developing a new client which is the most difficult job in selling!
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