Cold calling for an enterprise product or service is not the same as cold calling for a low cost item. A high value cold call is not a hit and run. It is not a quickie. Respectfully, it is not B2C. It is not to sell the product or service. Sellers should internalize the difference.
Let’s assume that sellers understand that a cold call should never be a cold call by now. So what is it for if enterprise prospecting is not to close a sale? It is to start a process. It is to understand the process. It is to go from cold to lukewarm. It is about a human connecting with a human and to lay the foundation for a relationship. Hard selling will not work.
This is not an easy process, which is why sellers must take the time to not make it any harder for both sides. The caller needs to garner enough interest to begin a conversation and a process. That is all. Let’s compare the process to a marriage (OK don’t get excited). No one begins the process by proposing and getting a ‘yes’ on the first date or meeting. With the obvious said how does the dance, which is the process to gain interest, show industry and role-based relevance and prove merit begin?
- It begins with the above-mentioned research and relevance factors. Why and how can you be relatable to them because it is never about the caller. It is about the prospect.
- Armed with those then comes the short, open-ended questions to obtain guidance for the next steps. Prospects are not stupid and do not need to be spoon-fed or have their time wasted. They are actively assessing if there is a reason they should stay on a call (or e-mail chain) with you.
- It is up to the caller to set parameters however. Ask and be guided, but also have a reason for your call because you are the expert. As the publisher, creator, vendor or seller you have knowledge of what you can do for them and how it has tangibly helped persons and companies like them. This requires the caller to be confident and convey the same.
- Stay away from jargon and product names. Assuming they mean something to someone will either lead to putting people off or asking them to potentially admit they are ignorant.
- Know where you are going with it. To state the obvious the point is not to feel good about reaching somebody, adding connections on LinkedIn or following someone on Twitter. These are all means to an end. The point is to begin a relationship.
Bonus: Measure, Review, Track. Assess your success rate by number of ‘touches’ and over specific lengths of time to know what works and what does not, how you are doing over a comparable measure of time and adopt what works and change what does not. This includes not only assessing the first touch, but also the continuous process of working with prospects no matter which stage of the process and relationship one is in. Bottom-line: if the first approach content does not work it needs to be changed.
Practice and know the reason behind the cold call and prospecting. One never knows when the connection is the one and only opportunity to begin the process. As always, the fundamentals apply. The foundation for success is asking, doing and doing both more and often.
PS: And for goodness’ sake if you cannot feel genuinely good about your product or service, cannot stand behind it or know it is not helpful to the potential customer run, don’t walk, to your boss/engineering/manufacturing/programming/whatever department to get the item changed and improved or a new job or back to school.
*Things That Need to go away: Cold Calling And Not Knowing Target Industry And Role