Contrary to popular belief, cold calling is still an effective way to generate new sales leads, open new opportunities and improve your sales.
However, if you don’t approach these calls properly you can end up looking like a rookie, hurt your credibility and reduce the possibility of moving the sales conversation forward.
Here are 7 cold calling mistakes that make you look like an amateur and that hurt your credibility.
1. Use manipulative tactic
I just finished reading a new book on cold calling and the author admitted to using deceptive tactics—which included lying—to get past the gatekeeper and connect with his prospect. He went on to say that he never deceived his prospect once he connected; however, in my opinion, the damage has already been done by that point.
Although connecting with key decision makers is difficult, reputable sales professionals never resort to lying or using manipulative tactics to connect with their prospects.
2. Mispronouncing your prospect’s name
It is inevitable that you will encounter names that are difficult to pronounce especially in today’s multi-cultural business environment.
However, a person’s name is very important to them so it makes sense that you figure out how to pronounce it BEFORE you make that call. If you are not sure how to say a particular name, call that person when you are confident they will not be at their desk and listen to their voice mail greeting. Write their name phonetically so you can pronounce it properly and practice saying it several times before you actually call them.
3. Trying to close the deal on the first call
Trying to close a deal on a first call is a rookie mistake. The purpose of a cold call is to determine if there is a potential sales opportunity and when there is your goal is to get an appointment.
Of course, if you sell a low-value product to a mass market you can exempt yourself from this.
4. Pitching an inappropriate solution or offering
This is still one of the most commonly made mistakes and it is usually a result of failing to conduct any pre-call research before making your call. In fact, I can’t count the times I have answered the phone in my office and had someone pitch a product or service that was completely irrelevant to my business.
5. Spending too much time talking
Although you do need to open the call, spending the first 45 to 60 seconds talking is far too much speaking on your part. It is much more effective to give a very brief opening and attempt to engage the other person in a two-way dialogue.
6. Leaving a long, rambling voice mail message
I hate to admit it but I have been guilty of making this mistake from time-to-time. Most voice mail messages I hear are too long, unfocused and filled with ums and uhs. If you plan to leave a voice mail when making your cold calls, you need to ensure that it is precise and concise.
Your message must give your prospect a clear reason why they should return your call.
7. Talking too fast
It is frustrating for someone to listen to a voice mail message several times in order to capture the caller’s telephone number. Remember, people don’t process information and record it as quickly as you can say it.
A good rule of thumb is to pretend writing your number as you recite it. Another strategy is to state it early in the message and again at the end. Or, repeat it twice. The easier you make it for someone to write down your number, the more likely they will return your call.
Cold calling is still an appropriate way to do business, even in today’s business world. However, you need to avoid rookie mistakes if you want to achieve the results you deserve.