Sales Process – Cold Opening

June 26, 2010 by  Filed under: Sales 

I hate cold calling! Most people do. Learning to cold call is the first step in becoming a sales professional. This step is usually what puts people out of the selling profession faster than anything. Let’s see if we can find some benefits from cold calling. Then turn that into a Cold Opening.

Cold Calling Advantages

  • Builds a pipeline of potential prospects. When you first start your sales career or when you are in a slump cold prospecting can begin to build your pipeline. You need to be talking to people about your business! Cold calling gets you talking to potential prospects.
  • Teaches you to think on your feet. Nothing you do will benefit you more than putting yourself in a position where you have to think on your feet. Cold calling puts you in situations where you don’t always know what is going to happen next. I learned to think on my feet by cold calling. You will too.
  • Teaches you to think like your prospect. Your presentations will suffer mightily until you learn to think like your prospect. Cold calling puts you in a position where you are forced to learn to think like your prospect.
  • Helps you develop marketing skills. There is a vast difference between marketing and selling. Cold opening keeps you focused on the marketing aspect of your business. Because selling is completely out of bounds in cold calling. My definition of marketing is: “Building a path so that people can find what they want/need and get it from you.” You can’t do that if you’re selling when cold calling. Cold calling is simply marketing to secure an appointment so you can sell.

Cold Calling Myths

  • The gatekeeper is your enemy. That is so old-school selling it is embarrassing! Don’t ever treat the gatekeeper as an enemy. They are far too sophisticated for that. You need that person to be your advocate. Without her you may never get to see the person who can tell you yes.
  • The potential prospect is waiting to do business with you. There will never be a time when the potential buyer is sitting at his desk waiting for you to arrive with your offering. So you need to go from an interruption to an invitation. The first time you walk in the door you’re an interruption. Find a way to turn that into an invitation and you’re on the road to sustained success.
  • The perfect pitch/presentation is the key. Cold calling isn’t the time to make your presentation it is a time to make friends. It is time for you to put a face on the prospect. It is time to observe. It is a time to listen. It isn’t a time to present.

Turning Cold Calling into Cold Opening

  • Never sell out of bounds. If the gatekeeper wants to know why you are there you better have a reason that doesn’t give her an opportunity to say no. You must never “sell” to the gatekeeper. If the person who can tell you yes is there, make an appointment to come back. Never try to sell when you are cold opening! You are prospecting not selling.
  • Treat the gatekeeper with the love you would show your mother. That gatekeeper must become your friend if you are ever to get to the person who must tell you yes. Offend her and you may never do business there. Love her and she will assist you in getting to the person you must talk to about business. Cold opening requires loving the gatekeeper.
  • Give value first. This begins by the way you walk across the lot to the building. By the way you treat the gatekeeper. By the way you respect the time of the business owner. By your marketing message. Cold opening demands that you give value before anything else.
  • Leave an impression. You never want to leave a brochure. A brochure gives the opportunity to tell you no. You don’t want to leave a business card. A business card isn’t a cold opening tool. You want to leave the impression that you really care. The only thing you ever want to leave when you are cold opening is an impression.

Take a fresh look at your cold calling efforts. Are you doing cold calling because your manager requires it? Maybe it is time to rename that “dreaded activity” something that will actually help you grow as a sales professional…Cold Opening.

Eric Mulford is a sales trainer for an insurance company in the southeast. Eric has been training sales professionals for several years helping them to develop sales presentations that are short simple and make sense in the marketplace.Eric can be found at http://www.market-my-town-usa.com/Sales.html and his blog at www.ericmulford.com/blog

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