Sometimes the finest solutions are the simplest. Focusing on relationships when making cold calls is one of them. It keeps us genuine and eliminates our dread of making cold calls. We’re real people talking about real things. We’re interested in the conversation, and it shows.
Most of us dislike putting on our “salesperson persona” when we make cold calls. We think it’s needed, however, because we’ve been trained to make the sale. And yet we’re interacting with a live, breathing person without having any real connection to him or her. It often feels fake, and it often is.
This artificial role puts great stress on us and sabotages our cold calling conversations. When we aren’t genuine, it’s a red flag to the other person that we have a sales agenda. This puts nearly everyone “on guard.” They’ve never met us and are wary of possibly being manipulated.
Have you ever noticed that most cold calls break down the moment we try to “move” things along towards a sale? It’s as if we’re getting ready for battle, and the tension pushes us along.
But the person we’ve called doesn’t know us. The momentum we’re trying to impose puts him or her in a defensive position. They’re protecting themselves from a potential “intruder” who might have a self-serving agenda.
So how can we shift into something more positive? We begin by focusing on the relationship rather than salesmanship. We call with the anticipation of meeting someone new and looking forward to a pleasant conversation to find out whether we can be of service. This mindset is subtle but powerfully felt by the other person.
Building relationships humanize our cold calling conversations — and ourselves. We are less artificial. Cold calling conversations become more natural. And people tend to respond with more warmth and interest.
The point is not to use the “technique of building relationships” to improve sales. That’s having a hidden agenda rather than a relationship. Our goal is to see if we can provide something that will benefit the other person. If it doesn’t, then we prefer not to continue interrupting their day. That’s a real relationship, even if brief.
When we’re being real people treating others as real people, the difference is amazing. Both people are both more at ease. We anticipate talking with someone who possibly has an interest in what we have to offer. And if they don’t, we’ve enjoyed our time with him or her.
When others feel this relaxed mindset from you, they are much more likely to welcome you into their day. But if you rigidly follow a script or launch into a mini-presentation, then your call is immediately pegged as something initiated primarily for your own gain. And that puts most people into resistance.
Here are 8 keys to building relationships in cold calling:
1. Focus on the other person’s needs rather than on securing a sale
2. Surrender to the outcome of your cold call so you can connect with your potential client at a human level
3. View the human connection as an exciting journey in which you encounter new and interesting people
4. Speak graciously and naturally as you would with any new acquaintance
5. Remember it’s about how you come across, not about how many people you call
6. Allow the conversation to evolve naturally
7. Invite both of you to decide together whether it’s worth your time to pursue the conversation further
8. Use phrases that are non-aggressive yet very effective
So try this. Practice shifting your mental focus from salesmanship into a place of relationship. You’ll find that your genuine enjoyment of the conversation rubs off on the other person. They’ll be less defensive and more likely to share with you truthfully.
One of the best ways to build a relationship is by using phrases that carry the human element very well. Start out by asking, “Hi, could you help me out for a minute?” The most common response will be, “Sure. What do you need?”
Your next question might be to ask whether they are open to the idea of looking at different ways to, for example, reduce their expenses. Most of the time the reply will be something like, “Well, sure, what kinds of expenses are you talking about?”
Now you are able to open the conversation between the two of you and build an initial relationship. It’s easy and comfortable to continue from there.
When you do this, you’ll experience so much success and satisfaction that it will really change the way you do business. And it will bring sales success beyond your imagination.