Sales guru Zig Ziglar once said that the cardinal mistake of selling was trying to close the deal too soon. Instead, he suggested that you allow enough time for trust to develop before you actually make a proposal and deliver your sales message.
Ziglar’s advice is valuable. It can help you tap into the two greatest issues that come up in cold calling: problem solving and opportunities.
Some leads know very well that they are unhappy with their current products or services. Others may not even be aware that a problem exists. You can help them identify that problem by using non-threatening, open-ended questions.
One question you should ask is, “What do you like about your current provider?” This gives you valuable information about areas that are important to your prospect. For instance, if your prospect replies that the best thing about his current supplier is a fast turnaround time, you will know that any sales plan you develop most guarantee quick service.
Another question that can help identify problems is, “If you could change something about your current provider, what would you change?” Take careful note of this answer as well, because it could form the basis of any proposal you draft.
Stay in close touch with the client who has a problem, and work to build credibility and trust.
Opportunities are rare when you’re cold calling, but when they do come along, they’re sheer gold. An opportunity means finding a prospect who is deeply dissatisfied with his or her current services. It may also mean finding someone who is just dying to try what you have to offer. When you find an opportunity, it’s tempting to rush full speed ahead into your sales message. Try to resist this urge.
A deal that is hastily cobbled together is likely to leave both you and your customer on shaky ground. Instead, ask questions. What, exactly, displeases the prospect about his or her current provider? What would the prospect like you to do differently? What is the prospect most interested in buying?
Once you have answers to these questions, thank the prospect and set up an appointment as soon as possible. Then take all the information back to your team and put together a selection of two or three proposals that seem most suited to the prospect’s needs.
By the time you have your appointment with the prospect, you should be ready to hit the proverbial home run.
If your only focus is on making a sale, you may be seen as insincere by prospects. Instead, make your presentations about discovering the prospects problems and reacting swiftly to opportunities.