Making Cold Calls Count

By Cindy Waxer

There are four simple steps that will ensure your cold calls last longer than the time it took to dial the prospect’s telephone number, according to Jeffrey Mayer. President of Succeeding In Business and author of Opening Doors with a Brilliant Elevator Speech (Mayer, 2001), Mayer offers the following game plan for making every second of a cold call count.

1. Never ask a prospect: Is now a good time to chat? Instead, as soon as a prospect answers the phone, ask: Do you have a moment?

According to Mayer, “The reason I like: Do you have a moment, is it treats the salesperson and the prospect as equals. I am asking for permission to keep talking rather than assuming that I’m interrupting you. If I’m assuming I’m interrupting you, I’m not coming from a position of strength.”

2. Deliver an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a brief description of how you offer value, benefit and quality to your customers. It should be phrased in such a way that the other person can’t say: Thank you, but we don’t need any. For example, Mayer warns that introducing oneself by saying: Hello, my name is Jack and I sell widgets, is simply “setting yourself up to have a telephone call that lasts less than five seconds.”

An example of an elevator speech, on the other hand, would be a sales rep from ACME Printing saying: At ACME Printing we help companies save time and reduce costs by making it easier for them to print their invoices and process their payroll checks.

Mayer promises, “When you deliver a great elevator speech on the phone, it keeps people from hanging up on you.”

3. Often, salespeople prematurely launch into heavy-handed pitches. Mayer recommends following up your elevator speech with a request for a few moments of prospects’ time.

“Once again, you’re asking for permission for time. You’re not asking for an appointment. An appointment is a commitment. You’re not asking if they’ll buy the product or the service that you sell. You’re not asking if they do business with a competitor. You’re just asking for permission to tell them what you do.”

4. After you’ve briefed a prospect on your products and services, be sure to ask a question that will shift attention from your offerings to the prospect’s needs.

Mayer advises, “Get prospects to talk. Nobody ever hung up the phone when they were the one doing the talking.”

For more information or to get a copy of Mayer’s book, Opening Doors with a Brilliant Elevator Speech, click here.