5 Critical Mistakes of Cold Calling

by | Oct 9, 2009 | Prospecting

My colleague Barry Caponi of the Caponi Performance Group eats, sleeps and drinks the topic of appointment making. As a matter of fact, their approach, “The Appointment Making Formula” (or The Formula, for short) has become one of the most successful methodologies in the industry because it takes a holistic view of the entire process.

Over the years they’ve seen lots of different approaches and talked to lots of people who make their living setting appointments over the phone or by canvassing. Therefore they’ve been able to craft a methodology with techniques that truly work. They’ve also seen many techniques that don’t. This article covers five of the top ten mistakes they have seen being made while attempting to set appointments. Next month we will address the other five mistakes Barry has seen. These mistakes are doubly painful as they not only drain away those precious few hours we’ve got to make appointment making calls, but crush the spirit as well.

1. Believing the first (negative) response we hear is true and attempt to counter it with logic – suspects play by two ground rules that we must acknowledge or perish:
a. The rule of the ‘Status Quo’ – our research indicates that less than five percent of our universe of suspects is currently in the market for what we sell when we call them… so they don’t think they need to talk to us
b. The rule of ‘Workus Interruptus’ – no matter when we call, we are interrupting that person from doing something…so they don’t want to talk to us – Ergo, until we get them beyond the initial ‘conditioned knee jerk’ reaction of saying anything (including lying) to get us off the phone, logic doesn’t work as well as we think it should.

2. Tell the suspect all about what we can do for them – remember, they don’t think they need what we’re selling, so why do we think this approach will work? Instead we should tell them about the results someone else got from using what we sell. (All of us – ok, maybe just most of us – think that there are others who know some little secret we don’t.)

3. Assuming we can help them do what they’re doing better than they’re currently doing it – “I can save you money over what you’re paying today.” “I can make you more productive.” How do we know what they’re paying or how well they’re doing? For that matter, how do we even know they use what we’re selling in many cases?

4. Not ‘owning’ or internalizing our message so instead of sounding conversational, we sound like the proverbial telemarketer reading a script or delivering it in a monotone voice – only 7% of effective communications is derived through the words we use. The biggest percentage of effective communications on a phone call comes from tonality (38%). Therefore we must not only ‘own’ our message, but we must deliver it with passion. You do believe in what you sell, don’t you?

5. Winging it on each call so that our message is different each time – if we deliver a different message each time, we can’t predict and control the responses we’ll get, making the task of handling those negative responses even more difficult.