People sometimes think of sales like the Wild West – no rules, and all that matters is making a deal. This is far from true. The most important dimension of sales is building relationships and trust – and it all begins with a phone call. I’ve put together 4 unwritten rules of selling over the phone that allow you to build trust and earn the respect of your potential customers.
When is it appropriate to name drop:
Generally, I try to name drop only if the initial contact gave me the person’s direct dial, mentions an active initiative, or is just generally enthusiastic about the solution. Even then, I keep it very minimal and say something like “Frank mentioned you might be a good point of contact” and then immediately go into the value of the product and not dwell on the connection. The biggest rule here is never lie or embellish about what the initial contact said. You are bound to be caught in this lie, and it starts the whole conversation on a bad foot. The name drop should only be used to turn a cold call into a slightly warmer call.
How often to call:
The appropriate level of outreach depends almost entirely on what type of lead you’re dealing with and should be evaluated on a case by case basis. If it’s a hot inbound lead such as a demo request or sales inquiry, I call once or twice a day for the first week. If it’s a completely cold lead I generally try not to call more than twice a week. One way around this if you really feel as though the company is a good prospect and you’re dead set on calling them is to identify multiple prospects at the company using LinkedIn. If you do happen to get a cold prospect on the phone and they don’t have time to speak ALWAYS make sure to ask when you should reach back out, that way they can’t be upset when you call them again and continue to follow up.
When should you call a mobile number
Cell phones are interesting case. Some people work only from cell phones as remote workers or the company may just use cell phones rather than a conventional phone system. Also, the tricky part is that you’re not always sure when you’re calling a cell phone and when you’re calling a landline. For this reason, as a general rule, never call before 8 AM or after 6 PM local time. If they provide their cell phone number in their voicemail greeting or have it posted on their LinkedIn, then I consider that a license to call their cell as if it were a landline.
Keeping your cool when a prospect is upset is absolutely important. The very nature of cold calling elicits frustration from a lot of people. It’s important to keep your cool not only because you may want to call them again to catch them at a better time, but also because that information can travel easily – especially if you intend to reach out to other contacts at the company. It’s important to always remember that there is a customer service aspect embedded in sales.