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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

THE COLD, HARD TRUTH: Prospecting 101, Part 2

The Cold, Hard Truth with Gabriel Siegel

Effective cold callers understand prospective customers have three concerns:
  1. Will the product or service make or save me money?
  2. Will the product or service improve my efficiency or enhance my lifestyle?
  3. Will the product or services help me solve a problem?


When cold calling, you must be able to follow two simple rules:

This is the quickest way to qualify your prospect. An affirmative answer to THE CRITICAL QUESTION brings you closer to the next step; getting an appointment!

A client is in the carpet and upholstery cleaning business. When cold calling, he uses the following approach:

“Good morning, Ms. Homeowner. We’ve been calling homeowners who feel their carpets and upholstery could benefit from some professional TLC not only to look better but also to last longer. I’m so glad I have this chance to speak with you. If you allow me just a few minutes, I’m sure you’ll be willing to invite us to give you an estimate on carpet and upholstery cleaning."

They then ask a few simple questions and ask for an appointment.

Do they get rejections? Definitely! But, he also gets quality appointments leading to new and repeat (lucrative) customers.

If he’s unsuccessful in getting an appointment, he then asks “I understand that you may not be interested at this time, but do you know of anyone else who might need our services?”

In a typical week, my client, or his wife, will spend about 2 hours per day cold calling. They average about 1.5 appointments per day and about 2 referrals a week from their prospecting efforts. They have a simple philosophy; if I don’t have appointments, I’m unemployed. They advertise extensively, but have learned not to depend on this for attracting enough new and repeat customers.

Contrast his approach to a typical cold call from a carpet/upholstery cleaning company. (We actually got this call about a week ago). “Hello, I’m from XYZ Carpet Cleaners and we’re running a special promotion for cleaning this month. We’re only charging $99.00 to clean all your carpets and one sofa.” Undoubtedly some people will respond in the affirmative. What are the chances of the homeowner remembering this cheap service, which, by the way, turns out not to be so cheap?

The second approach reduces your cold-calling efforts to a “numbers game”. The caller has to hope that the person on the other end actually wants to have their carpet and upholstery cleaned while the prospector locked himself into a low price. You can never sell on price; someone is always less expensive. The only perceived value you’ve created focuses only on price; important to some but less so to many others.

The first approach has a value which will become obvious as we develop cold calling strategies in future articles. (Some of our readers will become more adept at prospecting by participating in up coming seminars and role-playing sessions).

David Sandler, founder of The Sandler Sales Institute®, makes the following observation: “PEOPLE BUY TO AVOID OR OVERCOME PAIN.” On a cold call, unless you can identify a problem or need, there is no reason to see you, because you’ve done nothing to create a perceived value and/or distinguish your service.

Can you think of a simple declarative sentence and a CRITICAL QUESTION which would make me want to see you?

You only have one objective on a cold call: GET THE APPOINTMENT! In the next article, I’ll present the second rule of cold calling with a case study. Let me know your thoughts.

For more information, please visit Gabriel's TNNW Bio.


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