It’s easy to book demos. At least now it is. I, just like many sales reps have learned what works through nothing but trial and error. The errors lead to a few bumps and bruises along the way. Truth be told, it wasn’t always easy.
The Dark Ages of Cold Calling
Though the years I have tried many different methods when cold-calling in hopes of booking a demo. I remember a particularly dark time in my sales career that I will refer to as “The Fake Enthiusiasm Ages.”
I must have read one of those generic self-help/sales-starter-kit how-to books that get written a bit too frequently. The main point I picked up from the book was to ‘be enthusiastic.’ Well, generic information like ‘be enthusiastic’ mixed with inexperience is a recipe for failure.
On one fateful cold call during that period I remember almost screaming through the phone with a plastered on ‘winning smile.’ At some point during that call I turned and made eye contact with a co-worker who was looking at me with a worried look. It was a wake up call that anything canned or fake won’t get the job done in sales.
My method for booking sales demos is the simplest, most straightforward one in existence. It involves a high level of honesty and compassion.
Before I get into it though let’s do something of greater importance: put ourselves in the prospect’s shoes.
I am the prospect. I’ve been getting phone calls all day and my time is important. If someone is going to cold call me I want to make this as quick as possible so that I can get back to what I was doing before the phone rang and interrupted me.
OK now we can proceed. Back to my shoes.
Your Prospect Picks up / Momentum Builder
When I get through to the prospect on the phone, I know I’m lucky. It’s something to honestly be happy about. We spend a lot of time talking to the wrong people at the right company – so knowing you’ve got the target prospect on the phone is a good thing and your voice should reflect that.
Prospect: “Hello this is X …”
Now is the time to properly introduce yourself and avoid any confusion of who you are. Being unclear about your name or company will destroy any chance of getting a call on the calendar. Respect them and their job.
“Hi this is Tom Laverty with X Company”
Follow your introduction with a very slight delay to give them the opportunity to greet you. If they do say ‘hello’ by all means return the greeting.
The World’s Briefest Itinerary or Why You’ve Called
Here’s your chance to continue and build on the clarity of the call. Tell them exactly why you are calling and give them a basic idea of when this call will end. Doing this again is a small sign of respect and shows that you know they were probably in the middle of completing another completely unrelated task. It will sound like this:
“I am calling really just to do two things:
- Introduce myself as your point of contact at X Company and,
- See if you’d like to set aside 20 mintues, at your convenience, for a phone call to go over how companies like yours have been using X Company.
Leave a slight delay again after point 2. This will give the prospect a chance to agree that having a call together is a good idea.
If they don’t agree to the call then, get direct.
“Do you have any time this week or next for a quick call?”
Have your calendar open and ready to lock down a day and time.
Now the ball is in their hands. You’ve been a consummate professional, represented yourself and your company well in the marketplace and should have secured the next step in the sales process.
(Artwork by Mel Bochner)