Getting Attention in Cold-Calling Communication

Observations by Brian Everett, CEO, Transportation Marketing & Sales Association

During our recent TMSA Logistics Marketing & Sales Conference in Nashville, I had the chance to reconnect with Ken Guest, Chief Revenue Officer of Sandler Training by The Ruby Group. His company provides sales force development and management training to businesses using Sandler training methods and has significant experience working with companies in transportation and logistics. Sandler Training by The Ruby Group is one of our TMSA Affiliate members. Ken is author of the book, Digital Prospecting, and we chatted briefly about the question I’ve heard a lot from members recently: What's the best way to approach cold-calling?

In his book, he reminds us of some fundamental keys to successful cold calling:

Who to contact?

Whether you’re making a personal sales call, sending an email, or making a live phone call, make sure you know who to reach out to in the first place. Do some investigation to identify the right decision-maker based upon your qualifying criteria. Many people prospect lower in the organizational hierarchy because it’s easier to get through to them – even if they aren’t the decision-maker. That may be well and good, but don’t hesitate to go for the highest-ranking decision-maker you can identify. Reach for the highest-hanging fruit for the highest possible results!

What to say?

Know your messaging, whether it’s what to include in an email, what to say on the phone, or how to behave in an in-person meeting. In an e-mail, you’ll want to use something simple and honest in the subject line. Whenever a subject line tries to be cute or attention-grabbing, it raises a red flag and screams “salesperson!” Guest recommends opening with a “pattern interrupt” in an email, which refers to when you say something that doesn’t seem to be in your best interest before your build your case. For example, someone could open with “I’m Jim Doe with ABC Transportation. I’m guessing you’ve not heard of me or my company.” Say something unexpected.

What’s next?

The insert your mini 30-second commercial. This usually includes three emotion-based pain statements, followed by some sort of hook question. Once you have these figured out, you are likely ready to craft a few brief pain statements for your prospecting approach in your email.

A word of warning.

An important point in creating your pain statement: Only tell your targets how you have helped others, not how you can help them. It sounds different to a prospect if you simply share how you’ve helped the clients you currently have. When you communicate how you’ve helped others, people will psychologically connect to it by asking themselves the question: “I wonder if he could do that for me?”

 The negative hook question.

Presuppose the negative again. End with something like “I don’t know enough about your business to know if what we do is even worth having a further discussion or not. Let me know either way.”

Putting it all together. 

Here’s a template Guest offers in his book:

(Simple, Honest Subject Line): Introduction

(Beginning of Mini 30-Second Commercial: Our clients tell us as a result of our transportation services that they (Pain Statements) no longer worry about their provider keeping them stocked on a timely basis with our product. Therefore they’re no longer concerned their production line will unexpectedly shut down, costing them several thousands of dollars. (Negative Hook, Part One): However I don’t even know if these are issues you’re facing and if it’s worth having a further conversation.

(Negative Hook, Part Two): It would be disrespectful of me to presume we could potentially help your company without having a conversation to learn more about your business. Let me know if it’d be worth having a cup of coffee together to learn more about each other’s businesses. I’d appreciate it very much, and look forward to hearing from you either way.

Interested in Learning More?  

Click here to download a free chapter of Digital Prospecting, a  battle-tested process for an integrated 21-sentury prospecting system.

Or buy the book directly through the Sandler website.

And don't hesitate to reach out to Ken Guest directly at 330-929-9449.

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