Do you struggle to make your cold calls feel like they’re a really good use of your time, I cannot tell you how many salespeople tell me that you know what cold calling is just a waste of time, it doesn’t work anymore. There’s no way to make it work. But you know what, it actually can work well. And what I think you’re going to see that works even better in conjunction with some other strategies. But sometimes we just need to start from the beginning to get it right. In this chapter, I’m going to show you 13 steps to cold calls that work. Check it out.

Number one, they can’t hurt you. This point can’t be emphasized enough, I find that so many of us, including myself, when I first started making cold calls get so scared, so nervous, about potential rejection, that we really hold back when it comes to taking risks, and to implement strategies that we know are really likely to work. But we’re really afraid to just put herself out there. And it’s so important to understand that there is nothing that a prospect can do to actually hurt you. Quite frankly, there’s nothing that they could do, they can’t even really report you. Yes, I’m sure in some countries, there is a potential that you could possibly get reported. But the reality is, is that the risk is so low, it is so minimal that we need to keep in mind, there’s nothing that they can do, I cannot tell you the number of times when I finally really started to get into a groove with cold calling. And I would find that let’s say a particular call was just going nowhere, it was just going to total crap. And what I would do is I would start to get playful, I would start to take more risks, as opposed to getting more nervous. And as a result, a lot of those cold calls would actually get put back onto traffic. Knowing that they can’t hurt you is going to really make you so much stronger than ever before.

Number two, make it a game. Cold Calling is about numbers. It is about being able to push through that potential rejection until you’re ultimately getting through to someone who is the right fit, who’s ultimately willing to have any type of a conversation, and is going to lead to a potential next step. The reason that most people hate making cold calls is that with let’s say a one or 2% success rate, that means that in order to get one successful scheduled meeting, you’re probably going to have to make 99 calls that go nowhere. And so the more we can make the process of making these calls a game, having fun being playful about it, the more likely we are to actually get through those 99 calls that are ultimately going to go nowhere no matter how good you are at making calls. So make it a game, if you start to see a call going just completely downhill, be willing to take a risk, to get playful, to try something totally new. If they’re being really rude. Maybe step up your game, and be a little bit tougher, whatever it is be willing to be playful to make it a game. It’s a sport, not something that has any threat to your life, or to your safety, make it a game.

Number three, be willing to take risks. Now, we’ve already gone through some of these ideas, but we cannot talk about this enough. When you’re taking risks during those cold calls, you are going to have a much higher likelihood of success for two reasons. One is that when a call, let’s say is going off track, and you need to step in with a contingency that’s pretty gutsy, we are now as a result of taking that risk, more likely to get the call back on track than we were before. So taking that risk actually can help those calls. But to be willing to take risks, also makes the process of cold calling that much less painful, when you’re willing to take a risk. And let’s say, potentially screw up an opportunity, you’re not going to live with that constant discomfort. The reason that most people forget your salespeople, people in the world are unwilling at all costs to make a cold call is because they’re so afraid of messing something up. When you’re not afraid of making that mistake is when good things happen. And you need to be able to just get through the numbers, you’ve got to be to make those 100 calls to get that one meeting. So in the process, you’ve got to be willing to take risks, you’ve got to be willing to deal with the consequences of a call going wrong. And you know what, it’s not that big a deal. It doesn’t matter. If you completely screw it up, it doesn’t matter. I remember one of my first successful cold calls was with a really high up at a major well-known brand, someone who is the head of marketing, essentially for a fortune 500 company. And I remember being so nervous. But I also remember thinking that you know what, I really have nothing to lose, I’ve gained nothing at this point. So if I’m willing to take risks, I’m much more likely to be successful. And as a result of that mindset, I was able to schedule that meeting which ultimately turned into a sale. But you know, what, if at any point along the way that had gone south, and it didn’t turn into something, so what like one of my mentors used to always say, some will, some won’t. So what next.

Number four, warming up as much as possible. Now, this might not actually be what you think it means. I don’t mean get warmed up for the call or get psyched or get into good positive energy. In fact, know the opposite. I think you just in order to start making cold calls started making dials, you just pick up the phone, and you don’t think about it, you just do it. And what I mean by warm it up as much as possible, is warm up the interaction as much as possible, by making sure that by the time you actually get this person onto the phone, they know who you are. And that usually includes incorporating the cold call within a prospecting campaign, make it a full process, whereby you’re making 20 touches over the course of let’s say, a couple of months. So that way, by the time you actually get the person on the phone, they’re much more likely to be receptive. That means sending them emails, sending letters, stopping by their office doing whatever you have to do to get in front of their face. So that way by the time that you actually get them on the phone they know who you are. In fact, a lot of recent data shows that most salespeople are giving up on the first or second attempt when contacting a prospect. But most of the attempts that actually get through happen on the sixth or even seventh attempt and in between that there are going to be a number of contacts, be sure to warm up that cold call as much as possible. So that way, it’s not actually a real cold call by the time you get them on the phone.

Number five, script out the entire call. Now, there are not many pieces of advice that I give that gets more pushback than this idea. I get so many salespeople say oh, I don’t like to use a script. And then I’m going to sound scripted. And my response always is the same. What’s your favorite TV show? Or what’s your favorite movie of all time? Now, think about what that is in your head. Now, do you think when they shot that movie or that TV show? Do you think they didn’t have a script? No, of course, they had a script, they practice the scripts so that way by the time they actually went to film it, and it looks totally and completely natural. You had no idea that what you were watching when you’re watching your brain is nothing Oh, this looks much scripted. The reason that it’s a great movie or great TV show is that in fact, it doesn’t look scripted, but it’s very tightly scripted. And the same thing goes for an effective cold call, you want to make sure that your entire call is scripted out. And what you’re going to find is that by doing that your call is going to be so much tighter than it ever was before. Just going willy nilly and off the cuff is going to get you into a lot of trouble, you’re going to go into diversions, you’re gonna go this way or that way we want to do is make sure that we’re focusing completely on that prospect. And we’re not using any wasted verbiage. What I find is that when sales people make calls that are not scripted, they just go all over the place and the call it takes forever. And the prospect is completely uninterested. And all they really want to do is get off the phone, script out that entire call. 

Number six, know your first seven seconds cold. Now, this may sound obvious or even trite to some people. But what I find is that we don’t often think about how we’re initially introducing ourselves to prospects. And by knowing your first seven seconds, inside and out, you are going to be so much more likely to get to the next step. Now the way cold calls works always have, always will is that the first seven seconds are buying you the next 25 seconds. So what you want to do is use that first seven seconds to catch the person off guard like whoa. So that way, you’re going to get another 25 or so seconds. And then throughout the entire call, you’re always fighting for that next 25 or so seconds. But none of those additional seconds, later on, happen without having first that strong for seven seconds. So know exactly what you’re going to say in that first seven seconds. What we want to be doing is we want to be using what is called pattern interrupts to catch the person off guard. So that way, they’re like, oh, okay, you know, maybe I should talk to this person. Do I know this person? Do I not know this person? Should I be polite? Should I be rude? Right? We need to catch them in a place where they’re thinking, oh, okay, yeah, I’ll give this person 25 seconds. And so there are a couple of lines that tend to the data shows be most effective. And one of those lines is something that sounds like this. Hey, George mark, way calling? How have you been? Now notice what that line said? It’s not how are you doing it saying? How have you been? And what you’re doing is you’re catching up them off guard in a way where they’re saying, Do I know this person, it’s not a trick, but what you’re doing is you’re using the script in a way that actually the data shows is about six times more likely to get you that next 25 seconds, then had you not use that type of life. Know the first seven seconds cold.

Number seven, the more you talk about you the worst you do. In fact, the data shows time and time again, that salespeople that are going on and on about their own company or about themselves are going to do significantly worse, the more you’re talking about yourself, spending time introducing yourself talking all about how great you are your company is the worst you’re going to do. And by a factor of many times, what you want to do is you want to get through that initial introductory part really quickly. And you want to get into the purpose of your call, the purpose of my call is and get right into it. So don’t spend the time I’m, you know, lots of sentences, talking about your company and, and your store and all that stuff. That’s junk. No one cares about that. Remember, the prospect doesn’t care about you, they care about themselves, solving their challenges, accomplishing results, get through that part about yourself, and through right into what they actually care about. 

Number eight, focus on the challenges you’re seeing. One of the best ways to engage prospects in a conversation during a cold call is to really focus on the challenges that you’re seeing in the marketplace. And what this is going to do is really twofold. The first is that it shows that you really have your finger on the pulse of what’s actually happening, you’re showing that you have real expertise. And you’re not talking about yourself, you’re providing some real value about what are those key challenges that maybe other people that they know are dealing with. And then two, if you’re talking about or you mentioned a challenge, that is going to be something that they relate to now you’re more likely to engage them in a conversation, you’re more likely to get them talking. And again, the data shows that the more you can get a prospect talking, telling their story talking about their challenges talking about what they care about, the more likely you are to get that second meeting and ultimately close that sale. So focus on the challenges you’re seeing using a line like this, you know, George, right now, I’m finding that a lot of companies in your marketplace are dealing with the following, challenge, 1 challenge, 2 challenge, get right Into it, focus on those challenges that you’re seeing.

Number nine, engage them to start talking. This cannot be emphasized enough, the more the prospect starts to really talk in a meaningful way, hey, the more likely they are to stay on the phone, and the schedule a next step and thus, turn into a sale, we’ve got to engage them in a way to start talking. And what I find is that so many salespeople are focused on pitching whatever it is that they sell, that they fail to really engage that prospect in a two-way dialogue, it becomes more of that one-way monologue or that pitch or that presentation. And in this call, it’s too early, what you want to do is engage them to start talking because once they’re talking they’re in. And so let’s say for example after you’ve talked about some of those challenges, you want to finish that little paragraph with something that sounds like George to any of these challenges rings true to you. And what you’re doing is you’re inviting them into the conversation. And let’s say they say no, then maybe you follow up with a question that says something like this. Okay, fair enough. Sounds like this conversation doesn’t even much sense. Before I hang up. Can I ask you just one last question? And they’ll always say yes to that. And then this is the question. It’s the last chance it’s the Hail Mary. But it might sound something like this. If there were one thing that you could be doing better with and fill in the blank, whatever it is that you related to whatever you sell, there’s one thing that you could be doing better with your sales, what would it be? Silence, let them fill the space, engage them to start talking. I used sales because that’s what I would use on a call. What is it for you, is it marketing operations, food services, whatever, right? Get them talking. 

Number 10. Dig into what’s really going on. Now, this requires that you’ve engaged them in the conversation, right? You’ve got them going. And now what a lot of sales people get wrong, as soon as they start to get a challenger, they go right into pitch mode, they’re like, well, you are in the right place, and we have this awesome new service, this incredible product that’s going to solve everything for you. And by the way, it’s at a low price of just 999. Whatever it is, they go into pitch mode, because they’re excited because they feel like they’ve got a fish on the line. Right? Great fishermen, when they feel a pole on the line, they don’t just pull it out, what they actually do is they give a little bit more line to let the fish really bite onto the hook. That’s exactly what we’re doing here. When a prospect says Oh, yeah, actually, well, one of the challenges that we’re dealing with is this. You don’t say, well, I’ve got the solution. You say, tell me more, you go in, you dig in, you ask questions around those challenges to really make sure that A, it’s a fit and B that they’re seeing the value of solving those challenges. And again, they’re feeling engaged and they feel like you understand them, dig into what’s really going on.

Number 11, get that next step locked in. This is really the most important part of closing a call any kind of a prospecting call is that you are establishing the next step. I always ask people, what’s the purpose of a prospecting call or a cold call? And they always say, oh, to get a sale? No, that’s not true. Yes, ultimately, in the long run, a successful cold call can lead to a sale. But really, the goal of any cold call is to get a clear next step. This means that we need to ensure that we lock that next step in, whether it’s a face to face meeting, or a webinar or whatever it is, that next step is much defined. And make sure you lock that in, make sure that you have a very clear next step with a calendar invite that goes out with an accepted invite, with date and time, all of that so that way we know exactly what that next step is. And we know who’s going to be a part of that next step.

 Number 12. Confirm the next step. Now, I already gave this away a little bit, but it’s so important. And it’s a technical next step, but it’s really, really critical. Which means that when you get someone to agree to a meeting, while you’re on the phone with them, you send out that calendar invite, you make sure that it gets into their inbox, and that they accept the invite. So it sounds something like this. Let’s say you’ve had a good conversation, say, George, can I make a recommendation? How about we set up a meeting where I’ll come to your office, and we can really dig more deeply into this. And I could share with you some best practices on how many of our clients have solved these challenges before? Does that make some sense? The prospects as sure yeah, absolutely. Say, Okay, great. So what would work for you? And you go back and forth and you nail down a time and a date, you say, Okay, great. Are you in front of your computer or your phone by your cell your smartphone by any chance? I say? Yeah, of course. Okay, great. I’m going to send you a calendar invite right now. And just be sure that you see that come through. And so that way it’s in, we can avoid any back and forth. Does that make sense? Sure. Send out the invite, get it locked in, and get it into their calendar. So that way, that step is very clear. Confirm that next step.

Number 13. Don’t run away from the phone after each call. Now, this is so important, because like I started this conversation with ultimately, cold calling is about numbers, it is about making a lot of dials. And what the big difference between effective people who make prospecting calls and ineffective people, is that the effective people, anytime they get off the phone, they pick it right back up and get to the next call. Now there are a lot of services that even do auto dialing. So that way the person never, you never even have to hang up the phone. You never even have to physically put down the phone or anything like that. We don’t have to go that far. But don’t run away from the call after each call get right back into the next. I have never seen people who are great cold callers making only five cold calls at a time. The most effective cold calls are making many dials each and every single day. So that might mean 20, 30, 40, 50 dials, maybe 100 dials in a day. And the only way you get through that number of dials is that you don’t get away from the phone after each call. Even when you have a successful call, use that momentum to go right into the next call. Don’t run away from the phone after each call.