I had a conversation this week about what is it that makes me and other people successful at calling people and engaging them on a cold call and those that are not; those that get a lot of push back and sales resistance and refusal to answer any questions.

One of the areas that matters most is just caring about your prospects. Doing that makes the difference in how you engage, how you lead the discussion, how you connect with them. It comes across on so many levels, many non-verbal. We have had discussions with prospects where they volunteer so much information, and are eager to continue a discussion because we (the solution) may be a fit they are willing to explore. Then others have discussions with those very same people, and they are unwilling to disclose anywhere near the amount of information they did to us, why is that?

A number of years ago I was on a follow up call with a sales rep, the previous call was with a sales development rep that really sought to understand what was going on in the account, and what they would be looking for in a provider- it was clear the conversation was refreshing to the prospect because they cared what they were working on enough to really let them articulate the problem. So the next step was the call with the Account Executive and we get on the phone and within the first few minutes the rep is asking about their budget (they already had that information), asking when they plan on making a decision, and sizing up the opportunity. Nothing about what the prospect was expecting to talk about which was discussing industry experience, and explaining why this would be the right fit for this particular client. The message that sent was "are you worth my time".

The "what's in it for ME" cooled off the prospect substantially. While we are all obviously working to make money, an investment in caring about your prospects pays off.

Someone might say, of course we would ask about budget! I get so many cold calling scripts to review from companies that ask about budget right out of the gate. So what is wrong with that? It's the same principle as dating. A guy takes a girl out on a date, and within the first 30 minutes she is asking about his job, his car, does he own a house, does he want to get married....you know where I am going with this. What kind of response is she going to get? Is he going to eagerly be qualified before he even knows anything about her?

Your prospects are people just like you, they have challenges in their organization they are trying to solve and are looking for solutions. Something that will set you far above your competition is if you invest the time to understand what your prospect is working on, what they are challenged with, what have they looked at so far, why hasn't it worked out, etc.

Doing this accomplishes these things:

  1. You know how to speak to their requirements effectively.
  2. You develop a relationship with the prospect, people still buy stuff from people they like.
  3. Even if it isn't a fit, whoever you spoke with knows other people in their industry- if you took the time to understand their requirement and challenge, they remember that and could refer you in the future. I get referrals all the time from that exact scenario.
  4. You know how to nurture the account. If they say they are working on this in 6 months, it will be here before you know it. Stay engaged.
  5. You become more informed on what your prospects are challenged with so you can speak more effectively to other prospects. What they tell you adds value to you in future for other companies because you have expanded your knowledge base of their unique challenges.

It results in nothing but good results to care about your prospects, the difference speaks for itself.

Happy selling....