“How are you today?”
The calling card of cold-callers across the globe and a globally recognised HAYT (How Are You Today) crime.
A blare of trumpets declaring the unexpected, mostly unwanted, arrival of a salesperson on the end of your phone.
Cold-calling is not dead. But HAYT crimes are certainly deadening the effectiveness of cold-calling!
We all hear variations on a theme of the “How are you today?” every day and I suspect we are all guilty of using it in some way throughout our day.
Salespeople are especially guilty of using this meaningless greeting. Mostly because they have given little, if any thought, to better ways to open up a conversation with prospects and clients.
We convince ourselves that it is polite, common culture, expected etiquette of conversation.
Of course, if we could see that ‘thought bubble’ appear from the prospects head and know what they were thinking we might make a change.
That ‘bubble’ looks a bit like this;
“Oh no a sales call! Prepare the defenses! Pull the chute! Get me out of here!”
HAYT is not the only phrase that is abused in selling. Here are some more roughly translated.
“I’m just calling to touch base.” translates to “I am here to talk at you for as long as you hold that phone to your ear.”
“Just a quick call to see how things are going?” translates to “Sit back and relax, this could take a while”.
“I am just checking in…”. translates to “Where is my order?”
The prospect knows that whoever is on the line is going to try and convince them to buy something. They know there is a high likelihood the call is a waste of their time. They are preparing a rapid, not always polite, exit.
If you look like, sound like, smell like a salesperson, get ready to be treated like one.
There is another approach. In Sandler we call this technique the ‘Pattern Interrupt’.
Be professional, but be different.
Start your conversations in a manner that respects the prospects OK’ness, has the prospect take notice and allows them to engage with you.
Try starting with something simple and open like ”Did I catch you at a bad time?”. Most people start with “Did I catch you at a good time?”; which of course it rarely ever is for a sales call.
Why not try being disarmingly honest?
“This is a cold-call. I suspect you don’t like getting those?”.
Tongue-in-cheek, yes. Brave, perhaps.
Delivered with good humoured tonality and pace this approach really works and certainly gets the main objection to a cold call out on the table.
Follow this up with.
“Can I take 30 seconds to tell you what I do, then you can tell me whether it makes sense for us to continue to talk?”
Remember. Prospecting is a selection process. Not everybody qualifies to be a prospect for you. You do not qualify to solve everybody's problems.
I am regularly heard quoting this simple mantra;
‘Some will. Some won’t. Some wait. So what next?’.
It keeps me sane.
For follow-up calls, please don’t ‘check in’ or ‘touch base’.
Be specific, state your purpose clearly and quickly. Something like;
“Dave, I know you’re really busy. Do you have a couple of minutes to discuss what we talked about last week?”
Unexpected behaviours mark you out from the crowd as someone a little more interesting than the army of Tales People (see what I did there?) HAYT crime-ing our prospects into hiding and giving the noble profession of Sales a bad reputation.
Break the pattern of tired cliché’s in selling, be the different!
If you want to improve your Sales approach for 2016 and start to sell more, more easily then call me on +44 (0) 118 969 1752.