Get in Touch
Tell us a bit about what you’re looking for and we’ll be in touch right away.
The familiar saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ holds just as much weight in professional life as it does in your personal affairs. When you’re making cold calls it’s very important to perfect your introductions to make sure every sales conversation has value and leads to greater opportunities.
Before I delve into how best to introduce yourself, let’s take a look at the common pitfalls. Do any of these characters seem familiar?
Your new best mate
This person is the new best friend you’ve never met. They’re overly familiar, super friendly and act like they’ve known you forever. They think asking social questions about your weekend, your day, even your feelings, are the best way to build rapport quickly. You’re left wondering when they’re going to get to the point and what they actually want to sell you. You can see the sales pitch coming a mile away.
The submariner salesperson sounds like they’re talking under water and air is a precious commodity. One deep inhalation and they launch into a long pitch that doesn’t really include you. They rarely ask you a question until the end of the call, by which point you’ve probably switched off or you’re just waiting to make your excuses and hang up.
The absolute beginner
You almost feel nervous listening to them and can expect lots of ‘umms’ and ‘errs’. They never seem quite able to articulate why they’re calling or to introduce themselves or their company clearly. After 5 minutes, you’re still not sure why they’re calling.
This person’s training has led them to believe that sales tricks are the way to get people to buy. They think that customers don’t recognize their assumptive, pushy tactics for what they are. They continually use trial closes, tie downs and assumptive questions that make you feel you’re being pushed firmly into a corner that you can’t get out of. It’s off-putting and feels like an insult to your intelligence.
Why these approaches fail
These (all-too-common) approaches lack authenticity and fail because they are, to put it bluntly, fake. All good working relationships need honesty and transparency. So the best introduction is always an honest and open one, where you treat your prospect as an equal and you ask their permission to talk to them rather than rushing on without letting them speak. After all, if you want to sell to someone, you will probably want to have an ongoing relationship with them, so these sales tricks and pushy tactics are short term strategies that simply aren’t conducive to that goal.
There’s a much better way
When you begin a sales call with someone, be respectful and upfront; note this is very different from being deferential and you still remain in control of the call. It’s important to keep the introduction brief and straightforward and most importantly, to keep in mind the objective of your call. If this is to see if they would be a good prospect for your organisation, don’t go into the details of your product or service on this call, especially not in the introduction. It’s an unnecessary layer of complexity.
So, what do you need to tell a prospect?
Tell the prospect your name and your company. It sounds obvious but make sure you establish this immediately. If this is your first conversation with them, let them know this upfront. If they have met you before, let them know this at the beginning of the call too, don’t leave them racking their brains trying to remember who you are.
Speak slowly and use pauses. Avoid the temptation to rush your introduction. My favourite way to introduce yourself on a sales call is to say “Good morning John, it’s Richard Forrest from XYZ company. You and I haven’t met yet, but I’m hoping you can help me out?”. Note this is a question and you are asking for their permission so pause to let them answer. In most cases, they will say “Yes”.
Now you have their permission, you can introduce your company and the reason for your call. To do this effectively, you need to be able to say your elevator pitch in no more than three sentences. In this case your elevator pitch should be a high level overview that clearly communicates what you do and the challenges you solve for your customers.
Here are some examples of what a good elevator pitch could look like:
We help companies with clients who are taking longer and longer to pay them, putting them under pressure to pay their staff and suppliers. We take away the stress of having to chase these clients for payment by paying their invoices as soon as they are issued. This gives our clients a significant boost to their cash flow, and they never have to worry about being unable to pay their staff or suppliers on time.
Debtor Finance Provider
We help companies increase staff productivity and motivation by installing our coffee machines in their kitchens, so they all have great coffee at work. This stops your team from constantly having to spend time going out to a coffee van or nearby coffee shop throughout the day and maximises their productive time at work.
Coffee Machine Supplier
We help businesses maximise returns on their excess industrial assets by selling these for them on our online auction website. We auction a diverse range of assets, from office furniture and cars to major mining and civil equipment and infrastructure, helping our clients restore value to their balance sheet.
Online Industrial Goods Auction Company
Remember that your pitch has to be tailored to the type of prospect you are talking with. So using the above example for a Coffee Machine Provider when speaking to the Office Manager may not be quite right. But it is perfect for speaking to business owners, who will understand the lost productivity of having staff leave the office continually.
Wrapping up your intro
Having completed your elevator pitch, refrain from jumping straight into a full pitch, and keep it light and pressure free. Having given your introduction, you want to link to the next section of the call which is the Discovery section. A great way to do this is to say something like ‘I don’t know enough about your situation to know if this is something that would make sense for you, so would you mind if I ask you a couple of quick questions?’. You’ll be amazed at how this sentence conveys respect for the other person (there’s no assumption that they need your services at this point) and how often they will be happy for you to continue and to move into the next stage.
By this point you will have started to establish the right level of rapport with the prospect and laid the groundwork for the rest of the call. And vitally, you have created an impression of yourself and your company that’s professional, trustworthy, respectful and open to listening.
From here, and with the prospect’s permission, you can move into the Discovery section of your call, where you find out if they have the issues that your typical customers would have. In other words, you find out if they are a good prospect for your business.
So, putting it all together, it would look like this:
“Good morning John, it’s Richard Forrest from XYZ company. You and I haven’t met yet, but I’m hoping you can help me out?” [PAUSE FOR REPLY]
We help companies who have clients that are taking longer and longer to pay them, making it harder for them to pay their staff and suppliers. We take away the stress of having to chase these clients for payment by paying their invoices as soon as they are issued. This gives our clients a significant boost to their cash flow, and they never have to worry about being unable to pay their staff or suppliers on time.
‘I don’t know enough about your situation to know if this is something that would make sense for you, so would you mind if I ask you a couple of quick questions?’
For further guidance, please watch my video below. I will share more insights on how to run the Discovery section of your call in my next blog.
I will share more insights on how to run the Discovery section of your call in my next blog.
If you need help honing your cold-calling approach, our expert team have years of experience across a broad range of industries and will be able to help you reach your sales goals. Call us on: 1300 396 888 or emailing email@example.com.
Tell us a bit about what you’re looking for and we’ll be in touch right away.