These techniques are win-wins for building a rapport.
Let’s get one thing straight: the first cold call is not for making an instant sale. Rather, it’s an introduction to your brand where you get to know the person on the other line and educate them on your offerings. However, this is not always the reality. There are plenty of articles that put the sale first with tips on how to write a better script, what your tone should sound like, and how to mentally prep to close the deal. More often than not, following this advice to a T means sounding rehearsed and inauthentic, which can prevent you from building the kind of trust that comes from transparency.
It’s time to ditch the script and focus on authentic first impressions. These five techniques are win-wins for establishing a rapport while still working toward your ultimate goal of making a sale.
While effective cold calling means using market research to focus on a target audience, one underrated part of that research is LinkedIn. Referred to as “warm calling,” LinkedIn serves as a resource to find individuals on your list and see if you have any common connections. If you do, and it’s a connection that would be okay with being a referral, use their name in your initial introduction. Having that kind of name recognition in common helps breaks the ice when creating personal connections with prospects.
Whether driving or in the office, we’re fairly accustomed to sitting when speaking on the phone. However, this should not be the case for cold calls. Stand up and walk around. By doing so, you’ll sound more animated over the phone and make a much more lively first impression than you would sitting down.
Be a cheerleader
Are you familiar with what the phrase ‘IASM’ means? This acronym stands for ‘I Am Sold Myself.’ If you’re sold on a product or service offering, then you believe in it 100 percent. You’re enthusiastic about it and know inside and out exactly what it does and why everyone needs it in their life. In short, you’re a cheerleader for the brand. When educating potential customers about your offerings, be naturally enthusiastic. Ask the prospect questions to get to know their needs better. Once you know exactly what they need, you can tailor your pitch to make what you’re offering appealing. This translates to caring and caring is infectious, especially over the phone. Prospects can feel your passion and it piques their curiosity, making them more likely to ask questions, get enthusiastic and feel confident enough to make a purchase.
That’s a grand total of three minutes, by the way. Building a rapport doesn’t mean talking a prospect’s ear off about how great you are. It means understanding that their time is valuable and respecting that they took the time to hear what you have to say. Get to the point and leave a lasting impression. Glen Seidlitz, commercial real estate consultant, shared with Business Insider the three-minute pitch breakdown:
- Minute #1: Introduction and small talk. (PS: This is where you can use the aforementioned LinkedIn connection referral if you have one.)
- Minute #2 and #3: Getting down to business. Remember to personalize pitches for each new prospect. What can this product or offering do for them specifically?
Keep a detailed log
The first call is not necessarily the one for the sale. That might happen in a follow-up conversation. However, it might never happen if you pester prospects with too many phone calls. Keep a record of each potential customer you’ve spoken to and include these notes:
- Who did you call?
- When did you make the call (including the date and time of day)?
- Did the call go to voicemail or was it answered?
- What was the result?
- Answers to personalized questions, like birthdays, LinkedIn connection names, alma maters, pet names or hobbies you have in common with the prospect.
Apart from keeping everything organized, the great thing about establishing a log is that you’re able to keep track of everyone you reached out to and note any running detailed patterns of behavior. Do some prospects prefer speaking after dinner? How about first thing in the morning? You now know the most optimal time to reach out to them instead of guesstimating.
Even if they didn’t buy anything now, these notes can be used to follow-up in a few weeks to see where they’re at and what their needs look like. This shows that you’re still thinking of them and helps strengthen your rapport together.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com/g/bbernard