Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of outsource SDRs making cold calls as part of a lead generation service strategy is not “to book a meeting”. To elaborate on this little-known truth, SalesHive’s Director of SDR Training and Enablement, Paul Ballwebber, put together this knowledge base on the true purpose of lead generation cold calling.
The Purpose of the Cold Call
- To make the prospect aware
- To help the prospect identify the problems they want to fix, the problems they don’t know they already have and make them aware of potential future problems
- To make them aware you could have the answer to fixing these problems
- To create interest
- To create intrigue around possible purchases
That’s not all though….the two main purposes of the call is to generate TRUST first, and then build a foundation for a RELATIONSHIP that the sales rep/account executive can continue into the meeting.
If you can’t get them to identify problems or discern their desire to fix them, it’s time to disqualify the prospect out of the mix.
Never, ever try to force a meeting with someone by being pushy or by having “happy ears”. (Happy ears are when a prospect hears what they want to hear, or makes wrong assumptions based on vague misleads.)
When you force a meeting you are giving “fake news” to your client. You also create false hope and damage your personal credibility when they no-show and ghost you.
How to Make a Cold Call
Opening the call:
When your prospect answers the phone and realizes it’s not their mother, husband, wife, or friend, their brain sets off an alarm, and the barriers go up. These barriers are a defense mechanism: in order for you to get past them, prospects will immediately want to know:
- Who are you?
- Do I/should I know you?
So, when the line connects and you hear a “hello?” give them what they want and answer their questions before they ask you. If they start asking you questions during the opening like “who are you?” and “what do you want?”, you’ve lost control and are immediately on the back foot.
Start your cold calling by disarming their “alarm” straight off the pick-up:
You: “Hi Mrs. Smith, my name is Paul Ballweber and I’m calling from SalesHive, we’ve not spoken before….”
Every part of that call opening has been carefully selected. I ensure that it’s said in a really clear voice with a confident tone, and at a pace where they can actually hear and process what I am saying.
Let’s break down and explain why this works:
- “Hi Mrs. Smith” - they know this call is for them and it’s intentional.
- “My name is Paul Ballweber and I’m calling from SalesHive” - I’ve answered their first internal question, and by saying my name I’ve started the process of humanizing myself. By adding where I am calling from and the company name, it achieves two things; they might recognize the brand in which case familiarity starts to kick in and it’s a slight nod that this is a sales call.
- “We’ve not spoken before” - this part of the call is key. You are telling them that it’s okay not to recognize your voice, and thus confirming this is your first conversation with them.
Now with their initial questions answered, they’re more relaxed and far more likely to be paying attention to what you say next.
It sounds obvious, but nobody is sitting there waiting for the phone to ring, especially from a salesperson.
You need to assume your prospect was right in the middle of something, no matter how trivial it was. To them, whatever they were focused on was more important than speaking with you. Although the call has now been opened, their barriers are still up and they are still somewhat distracted.
This puts YOU in a difficult position and this is where so many cold calls fail.
At this stage, your prospect is wary, with their barriers still up, knowing there’s another wave of questions incoming. They now want to know:
- What do you want?
- How can I get you off the phone and get out of this unexpected situation?
Keeping control of the call at this stage is KEY!
Here’s what you need to do. Firstly, it’s time to grab their full attention. All of it! We need them to forget what they were previously doing, and secondly, we need to answer their next round of unspoken questions.
So what does a good pattern interrupt look like?
Here are a few examples of some “different” pattern interrupters:
- From one sales professional to another can I tell you why I am calling?
- I appreciate/recognize I’m an interruption to your morning/afternoon.
- This is a sales call, but a carefully chosen one.
My favorite go-to: “Have you got 37 seconds so I can tell you why I’ve chosen to call you?” (Studies show that in sales and commerce, ending pricing numbers with a 7 has the best purchase rate)
Let’s break down why this is a great go-to number and perfect pattern interrupt.
- “Have you got 35 seconds….” - 35 seconds sounds like a considered number. It sounds like you’re genuinely asking for just 35 seconds. There is also something about odd numbers. They stick in the mind a little more, feel more concrete, and are more effective in grabbing attention.
- “...so I can tell you why I’ve chosen to call you.” - Humans are curious. Being curious, and not knowing the answer, is enough to drive you up the wall. This phrase piques their interest as they feel like they’ve been carefully selected. In reality, they were just the next name on your list.
What is really important with pattern interrupts is that YOU truly feel comfortable saying it. For example, some people will just not feel comfortable saying “This is a sales call, but a carefully chosen one.” and that is perfectly fine. Just pick the ones you’re comfortable with, practice, and see what works for you.
So to recap, here’s how I opened my cold calls:
“Hi Mrs. Smith, my name is Paul Ballweber and I’m calling from SalesHive, we’ve not spoken before. Can I take 37 seconds to explain why I’ve chosen to call you?”
Want to take it up a gear?
Try adding in “from one XYZ professional to another”. So for me, it would sound like this:
“Hi Mrs. Smith, my name is Paul Ballweber and I’m calling from SalesHvie, we’ve not spoken before. From one sales professional to another, can I take 37 seconds to explain why I’ve chosen to call you?”
And that is how you can open your cold calls.
- You keep control
- You grasp their full attention
- You lower their resistance and anxiety
- You preemptively answer their questions
- You’re on solid footing: you’ve humanized yourself, you’ve built credibility and empathy
- You’ve contextually acquired permission to actually tell them why you’ve chosen to call.
BOOM!! You’ve just humanized yourself even further, and put yourself on their level. In their mind you’re now both sales professionals, you are just like them. You’ve walked in each other’s shoes and you both “get it”.
Keep in mind the importance of listening to your calls and REFLECTING on how you did. What was your tone, how fast did you speak, were you clear, did you avoid speaking over the prospect, did your opener work?? If you do not stop to reflect, improvement is a lot harder to achieve. Role-playing practice is vital for really nailing down your opener, or better yet a few openers. The more confident you open a call the more success you will find for yourself and your campaigns.