We as salespeople make outbound cold calls, which are often very daunting for us… But we also receive another form of cold call, the inbound cold call. And for some reason we think we can treat them differently to a standard outbound call, because they call us… and that very often, is where we lose it.
Well, not necessarily. This is where many conversations go wrong. You see, the person you’re talking to isn’t always ready buy. Maybe they’re just shopping around. Or maybe they got your name from a friend and thought they’d check you out.
So if you let yourself “pounce” on these incoming calls, you’re trying to sell something to someone you haven’t met. And you can still turn them off with sales pressure if you’re not careful.
These calls and leads need to be treated in exactly the same way you treat all your cold calls. Here’s three important things to remember:
1. Suspicion Still Abounds
Just because the caller initiated the conversation doesn’t mean they trust you. Remember, they don’t know you. You have no relationship with them yet. And they still get pretty suspicious and defensive around sales pressure.
So take a step back and adjust your thinking. There’s a very real possibility you can push someone away simply by being too sure in this place. Slow down and listen. Treat this cold call as you would any outbound cold call. Really, nothing has changed
2. The Temptation to “Sell” is Almost Irresistible
When someone calls you, they’re probably going to start by asking questions around your product or service. It often feels quite natural to get into “answer question mode” and then into pitch mode.
This whole interaction happens within seconds. Before you know it, the emphasis of the call is about your solution rather than about determining the truth of the prospect’s situation. You’ve gotten so into the flow of talking about your product that you’ve lost sight of the new cold calling mindset.
You’ve let yourself slip back into the old approach of talking about your world. But you still don’t know anything about them. And you have no idea whether what you have to offer is a fit for them.
It’s very seductive, don’t you think? When someone asks questions about what you have to offer, it’s so easy let your focus slip into “selling” them.
So you have to work a lot harder to keep the focus where it really belongs – on the other person’s world and whether you can help them solve a problem.
3. Respect the Flow and Make the Shift
You don’t want to seem uninterested or unresponsive, so you’ll probably want to spend a few minutes answering their initial questions. You’ll want to maintain the natural flow of conversation.
But after responding to their questions for a few minutes, you’ll want to shift the focus into their world. As soon as you feel you’ve reached an appropriate, comfortable point in the dialogue, start exploring the truth of your caller’s situation.
You can do this by saying something like, “I’m wondering whether it might make sense if we understand the exact issues you’re trying to solve so we can really help each other determine if we’re a good fit. I want to be sensitive to your particular problems so that we can decide together whether we can specifically help you.”
You’re essentially saying that it would only do your caller a disservice if the two of you continue talking about solutions before really looking at what kinds of problems they want addressed.
Your request is so reasonable and to the caller’s benefit, that most people will welcome your interest in their problem – as long as you’re not operating out of the hidden agenda of making a sale.
So now you can carry on your conversation the same way a you would if you’d made the cold call. You’ve overcome the temptation to discuss what you have to offer and can move into focusing on your caller’s world. You’ll leave them with the wonderful awareness that your primary focus is around helping them. And that makes a terrific first impression.