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Cold calling, Part 2: The do’s

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Now that you know what to avoid when cold calling, here are some suggestions for making a perfectly pleasant call to the ideal client you simply haven’t met yet:

  1. Get the name right beforehand. Or, if it’s too late for that, apologize and get it right. If you can’t find out how to pronounce a prospect’s name ahead of time, ask immediately if you have gotten it right. If not, apologize and move forward. Continuing to call me “Mr. Skuzzel” won’t do anything to help your cause.
  2. Memorize the script and put it aside. Scripts themselves are OK. Some of the best actors use them. But people change the channel on a show quickly when the actor sounds as if she is reading her lines. Either learn your script so well that it comes naturally or toss it away and keep only an outline with bullet points. It’s not a bad idea to keep your script/bullet points nearby — as long as you won’t be tempted to read to your prospect.
  3. Forget about sounding upbeat. Coming on too strong — even too positive or cheerful — can be a real turnoff. Don’t be timid, but start gently and take cues from your prospect so you can adjust your tone as you go along.
  4. Ditch the AHAYT. For most of us, “And how are you today?” raises an instant red flag that we’re going to be sorry we took the call. Say why you’re calling and get to the point right at the outset. Telemarketers use the AHAYT greeting to catch their breaths before jumping into their scripts — and we prospects are all too familiar with it. Another killer is the word “actually” — as in “Actually, the reason I’m calling is…” Don’t go there.
  5. Stay away from “sales-y” language. Phrases such as “one-time, limited offer” and “I’m going to be in your neighborhood” are business killers. You will have a much better chance of making a sale or getting an appointment if you avoid the standard pitch. Simply describe your products/services and their benefits, and don’t try to clinch a deal with urgent ultimatums. They will backfire.
  6. Go for rapport. Make marketing more fun for you and less painful for your prospects by aiming not for an appointment or sale but for a connection. Simply engage them in a conversation. While this may seem like the long way to your goals, I promise that it will be much more effective in the long run.

Got a lengthy cold-calling list staring you in the face? Review these tips and pick up that phone! Your ideal client is waiting to meet you.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to