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  • Jim Mcwhirter

4 Behaviour Responses To Avoid When Cold Calling

So, you’ve started the journey to becoming a successful salesperson by structuring time to prospect, and creating a target prospect list. You’re now ready to start making the cold calls (or warm calls) with a well thought out script and compelling reason to meet.  But what do you do if the script you’ve worked so hard on is met with rejection?

After delivering your well thought out customer focused script and making your request for a face-to-face meeting, you will still need to be ready for various knee jerk objections or resistance coming back at you from the contact on the other end of the phone.

One of the toughest knee jerk objections to handle when you’re new to cold calling is “We are happy with who we have” – which is sometimes also referred to as the status quo response.  If you’re not prepared for this objection as part of your process, there is a good chance you will respond with one of the 4 success impacting behaviour patterns below.

   1. The Freeze

Akin to a deer in the head lights… many people especially those newer to sales, and who are not comfortable reaching out to a stranger (or a quasi- stranger) to begin a business conversation are immediately silenced by the words “we are good right now”. It is like someone hits a switch in your head and you just stop thinking. I’ve seen people so impacted by this behaviour response that the only thing they could do was hang up the phone – and it usually takes a while before they can pick it up and make another call.

The first thing you must remember is that the person on the other end of the phone is habitually programmed to try to get you off the line and that they are not rejecting you personally. So what should you do? One way to handle this is to first, quickly acknowledge the objection (create yourself a bridge and catch your thoughts) and then repeat or reinforce your benefit statement in another way. Now that the initial confrontation is over the prospect may process what you are saying and evaluate if it is an outcome that provides value to their world. Remember to keep it short and to ask for the meeting again within 10 seconds.  Somebody in one of our workshops recently called the first part of a script scene 1 and this (after initial resistance) as scene 2 – not a bad way of looking at it if it helps you to avoid a natural tendency to freeze.

   2. The Argue

Personally, I like sales people who are confident in their solutions and willing to fight for what they believe. However, after hearing the prospects initial objection to your request for a meeting is not the ideal time to dig in for battle. In over 20+ years of sales I have never heard a victory tale of a sales cycle beginning with a Monty Python “esque” argument where the salesperson convinced a prospect that their company is better than the incumbent as the reason to meet. Instead these calls usually end abruptly and you have most likely closed the door for any future opportunity as well.  Through reinforcing of your benefit statement or a pattern interrupt approach focusing on the client and their business, you will increase your odds of successfully breaking down the prospects resistance so that you will receive a yes on your next ask to meet. Be assertive with a reason to meet but don’t directly challenge the customers initial statement that they are happy with the incumbent.

   3. The Defensive

There are many times in sales and account management when it pays to think defensively but this is not one of them. As mentioned above the “no” response to your request is not a personal attack and there is no need to feel or take a defensive stance.  To use a football analogy let’s say that making the initial cold call could be analogous to starting on your own 20-yard line.  If the opposition stops you on first down would you get upset, punt the ball and bring your defense on the field? If you appear insecure or unconfident in your initial reason to meet there is very little chance that you are ever going to convince the prospect to meet. Remember you have a great offense and a game plan. You are the quarterback and this is the time to drop in the pocket and throw a strike down the middle.

    4. The Exit

This sounds something like “Oka, well thank you for your time and have a nice day”, as the phone at the other end is hanging up.  Sorry guys and girls – this is just weak. Remember why you are calling in the first place - to advance a sales opportunity. Think of all your time an effort to get to this point. You structured time to call. You created a contact or prospect list. You may have done some initial research on the company. You have created a powerful script and benefit statement –And you have probably dialed this person a number of times to finally get them live on the phone. You owe it to yourself to keep going and convert them into a qualified opportunity.

Handling objection can be difficult but gets easier with practice and commitment.

Consider the last time you were making cold calls and the client objection was “we are happy with who we have” How did you respond?  Did you have a plan and were you able to overcome this objection and get a meeting?  Did you find yourself exhibiting any of these 4 behavioural responses and did they impact the successful outcome of the call?

The good news is there are several techniques that you can teach yourself to minimize the impact of your behavioural response sabotaging your effort and desire to advance the sales call and get a meeting with the prospect who says, “we are happy with who we have”.

Be aware of your own behavioural response bias and through practice and planning you can learn to flex your cognitive muscle and get more appointments and more sales!

We can help. Contact us today to get started.

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