The Top Four Annoying Cold Call Mistakes of All Time

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Foundation: The reason most sales people feel they're annoying a decision-maker when making cold call is because they have a completely annoying approach!

Mistake Number One: "How Are You?"

So there you are, sitting in your busy office... working like a madman. All of a sudden the phone rings: "Hello John, this is Marielle calling from ABC Co... how are you?" You have no idea who Marielle is because you've never spoken to her in your life. But you're pretty sure that she's a salesperson.

Asking "How are you?" to somebody you've never spoken with (and who you're interrupting) is mistake number one, but it's an extremely common way for sales people to open a cold call. It makes me cringe when I receive calls like that. Why? Because it's impossible for it to be meaningful if they've never spoken with you before. All the decision-makers I've interviewed find that to be a turnoff as well. Bottom line? Not working!

Mistake Number Two: A Lack of Research before the Call.

I can't tell you how many people have cold called me without having a clue as to what our company does. Very annoying! Hang the phone up immediately because you haven't earned the right to sell me anything.

I've heard salespeople say "but I don't have time to research the company before making a simple cold call." You don't have time? The fact is, you don't have time NOT to! Today's time-deprived decision-makers only give meaningful airtime to those who earn it. The time you spend preparing is what will separate you from much of your competition. If you approach cold calling as being about quality versus quantity you'll be much more effective.

Mistake Number Three: Technical Jargon and Acronyms

Many cold callers use technical jargon and acronyms that the person they're calling doesn't understand...! Remember: people communicate more readily with people who are down to earth and authentic. Because the first 30 seconds can make or break your call, you need to ensure your opening statement (and the rest of the call) speaks to their language, not yours. This is not the time or place to impress somebody with big words and technical knowledge.

Mistake Number Four: The Monologue

This is a kindergarten level "show and tell" style of communication. Yet most cold callers take a disrespectful approach where they don't allow you to get a word in edgewise. Unbelievably! The buy-sell equation is a two-way street, so if you're not asking at least one meaningful, thought-provoking question during a cold call, you're not properly prepared. In addition, you need to ask a few transition questions along with one qualifying question. So if you don't have those in your back pocket, don't even think about picking up that phone!

Do the right thing and craft an outline you can follow. Then rehearse it over and over again until it sounds conversational and invites meaningful dialogue. Otherwise you're wasting the prospects time along with your own.

If you craft an engaging approach that omits these four highly annoying mistakes, then you increase your chances of success dramatically. Most of the decision-makers I've interviewed say over 90% of the cold calls they receive are completely ineffective. Make sure you're the breath of fresh air!

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