A sales rep from ADT knocked on my front door this afternoon.
He politely introduced himself.
Then he asked me if I'd heard of his company.
Then he told me that he wasn't trying to sell me anything .
Then he told me about a special offer ADT was making this week - free installation of a security system.
Then finally, he told me the thing that I was really cared about: There was a burglary in the neighborhood recenlty.
By the time he metioned the burglary, he'd already lost me. He could have captured my attention and kept it, but he lost me early on.
So, what are three things that you can do, to earn your cold calls a warmer reception?
1. Lead with the Lead.
Begin the conversation with the one thing that your prospect will most likely care about. That's not you, it's not your company, and it's usually not your product either. For the ADP sales rep, it was the news of a neighborhood burglary. He should have lead off with that, but he didn't. Journalists have an expression: "Don't bury the lead!" In other words, don't bury the most salient fact in the third of fourth paragraph. Start your story with your best attention-grabber, and you'll have your prospect's attention immediatley, before they mentally move on.
2. Build a Bridge.
Carefully connect that Lead story with the reason for your offering. The ADT rep might have said, "Because there was a burglary in the area, we're installing the sytsems at no cost in your neighborhood, so that you can be protected immediatly. You'll only be responsible for the monthly service fee." Build a bridge from the Lead Story to your solution, then lead your prospect accross to safety.
3. Confirm the Concern.
Many sales reps will speak at length about their offerings, because they fear that if they stop talking, they'll be rejected. After you've presented the problem, confirm that the prospect is indeed concerned about it. "May I ask what you think about this, Mr. Prospect?" Qualify the prospect early on, and you won't waste anyone's time, if they're not qualified. Besides, if they don't care, chances are you won't change their mind, so you may as well move on.
On the other hand, if you lead with your top story, then connect it to your solution, and confirm that the prospect is interested, the conversation can warm up quickly. If it doesn't, move on. Cold calling is as much about qualifying prospects, as it is about introducing solutions.