Can’t you tell when somebody wants something from you? I certainly can. And it usually feels inconvenient and intrusive.
So you can understand, then, why potential clients will often run for cover when your cold call is only about "making the sale."
Most people sense that cold calls are self-serving to the person calling. You can almost hear the unspoken thought, "You want something, right? Otherwise why would you be calling?" This triggers almost immediate resistance.
For cold calling to be done in a non-intrusive way, we must shift the perception away from "you want something," into "you are being helpful." When our cold calls do not feel intrusive, people naturally are more open to talking with us.
Shifting this perception in others is all about shifting a perspective within ourselves.
Focusing on being helpful takes us away from the traditional sales mindset. In the old mindset, we talk about ourselves and our product or service. In this new approach, we’re focusing on potential clients and what may be helpful to them.
To be perceived as helpful, we must actually be helpful. If we try to use "being seen as helpful" as just another sales technique, people will sense our hidden agenda and react with suspicion. Be sincere in your approach and desire to help the other person.
Here’s how to stop being intrusive and start being helpful:
1. Make It About Them, Not About You
We’ve all learned that when we begin a conversation with a potential client, we should talk about ourselves, our product, and our solution.
But this self-focus almost always feels intrusive to the other person and shuts down the possibility of a genuine conversation.
Instead, step directly into their world. Open the conversation with a question rather than a sales pitch. For example, "I’m just giving you a call to see if your company is grappling with unpaid invoices issues?"
Never let the person feel that your focused on your own needs, goals, or agenda. Communicate that we’re calling with 100 percent of your thoughts and energy focused on their needs.
2. Avoid the Artificial Salesperson Enthusiasm
People feel pushed along by artificial enthusiasm. This triggers rejection because it feels very intrusive to be pushed by someone they don’t know.
Artificial enthusiasm includes some expectation that our product or service is a great fit for them. Yet, we’ve never spoken with them before, much less had a full conversation with them. We can’t possibly know much about them or their needs.
And so to them, we are simply someone who wants to sell them something
It is better to modestly assume you know very little about them. Invite them to share with you some of their concerns and difficulties. And allow them to guide the conversation, even when it means getting "off track" a bit.
3. Focus on One Compelling Problem to Solve
Don’t go into a pitch the way you would if you were operating out of the traditional sales mindset. Make what you say about them, not about you. Try to keep in mind that who you are and what you have to offer are irrelevant at this moment.
The key is to identify a problem that you believe the other person might have. Depending on your business or industry, here are some examples of what you might say:
I’m just calling if you’d be open to looking at any possible hidden gaps in your business that might be causing sales losses?
I’m just calling to see if you’re grappling with problems of employee performance related to a lack of training support?
I’m just calling to see if you’re open to looking at whether any department in your company might be losing revenue due to vendor overcharges?
Address one specific, concrete problem that you know most businesses experience. Don’t make any mention of you or any solutions you have to offer. Remember, it’s always about them, not about you.
4. Consider "Where Should We Go From Here?"
Let’s say the initial call turns into a positive and friendly conversation. The other person feels you’re offering something valuable, and wants to know more. Both of you feel there may be a match.
Rather than focusing on making a sale at this point, you can simply say, "Well, where do you think we should go from here?" This question reassures potential clients that you’re not using the conversation to fulfill your own hidden agenda.
Rather, your giving them space and time to come to their own conclusions. You’re helping them create their own path, and you will follow.