New recruits making sales via ‘cold’ sales calls often struggle to take their generic sales training and put it into practice. If they are not trained professionally on how to make the pitch, they will lose calls and burn leads. Worse, they often make their company look bad if they managed to say where they are calling from before the callee hung up and won’t get a second chance for a while. Sometimes the caller may receive abuse, further reducing their will to make more calls, with their confidence dropping at an exponential rate.
Here are 5 simple tips to helping your team get past the gatekeepers so they have a chance to convert to sales:
- Monitor the team, especially new recruits. Within days they may acquire bad habits that are hard to break, if left unchecked. You need to determine if they have an issue about making cold-calls, by listening and monitoring their behaviour whilst on the call: Train – Script – Monitor – Fine Tune – Interview – Retrain – Monitor…
- Have a periodic group sales team meeting where there is no such thing as a silly question. At these meetings team members can share where they get stuck on certain questions from the caller.
- Encourage sharing when they have a ‘good’ conversation that leads to them sending out further information or a price quote. Emphasize what they said that caused an increase in their conversion rate.
- Ensure that a team member having a ‘bad sales day’ has access to an onsite sales trainer (who could be a team member having a ‘good sales day’) whom they can shadow and monitor for a couple of calls, to listen and learn how to improve their pitch.
- Share with them the following to get past the ‘gatekeeper’:
Don’t tip off the gatekeeper to the fact that you are cold-calling. In the UK, I often hear callers typically open the conversation with:
‘Is Mike there, at all?’ – what are you implying by ‘at all’? Dead giveaway!
‘Is David available please?’ – implying that you don’t know him and would he make himself available?
‘Can I speak with Mrs Robinson’? – implying you don’t know her well enough to use a first name.
A simple: ‘Can I speak with Harry please?’ or ‘Is Harry there please’? will suffice.
The gatekeeper may ask ‘will he know in what regard?’ or ‘have you spoken with Harry before?’ – don’t be tempted to lie, never a good policy in the long term – you may get caught and the gatekeeper may then get into trouble when the truth is found out, making sure that you don’t get through the next time you try.
My advice would be to sell to the gatekeeper at this point because you’re in danger of losing the call. If Harry isn’t available at that point, find out best time to call back and find out the gatekeeper’s name, add it to the CRM*, thank them for their help and next time, address them by name! Cold-calling, and indeed sales, is, after all, all about creating relationships!