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As a salesperson, I’m sure you’re used to getting the dreaded “no” from prospects. We all face rejection, and have hopefully learned to take it in stride. But one thing that is particularly frustrating is being hung up on before you even have a chance to deliver your sales pitch.

Recently I got an email from a sales rep, let’s call him “Henry”. This guy  was completely burned out with cold calls, after just 2 months on the job.  He was selling IT solutions to businesses that hadn’t heard much about his company. Henry’s approach was to quickly validate the business, then pick up the phone and try to deliver his pitch.

But that was getting him nowhere. So, Henry wrote to me asking how can he get a positive response when he cold calls prospects. He is sick and tired of getting turned down before he can even get through his full intro. Why is he striking out time and time again, and how can he improve his prospecting game?

You Gotta Start Somewhere

When I started my sales career, prospecting meant a phone book and a phone. If you were selling hoses, then you opened the Yellow Pages to the Gardening Centers and Nurseries section and started religiously dialing every number. It was bare bones cold calling. I would strike out and get hung up on the vast majority of the time. But, that was the name of the game in sales.

Although the hang-ups are still bound to happen these days, we have made technological advances that can help us – namely, the wonderful world wide web and AI-powered sales automation CRM that can tell you who to call. Prospecting today isn’t just an annual report and a wish.

Do Your Homework

Where Henry went wrong, was his lack of prep before dialing potential clients. He knows he only has 5 seconds to get his virtual foot in the door and needs to find something to connect on, right off the bat. But Henry didn’t do his homework.

To be successful at cold calls it is vital that you develop a relationship in those first few words. Build rapport by finding that personal angle. And do it FAST. To achieve this, the work starts before you pick up the phone.

The first step is doing your research and having something relevant and personal to reference. Look them up on LinkedIn to see if you have any connections. Google them to find a common ground to talk about. Maybe even search their Twitter or Facebook profiles to get more background information to form a connection.

Find that personal, human touch to build immediate rapport. Just hitting them up with the standard blah blah isn’t going to work. Tease them; intrigue them; make them come to you; give them an offer; flatter them — something different.

The Personal Pitch

I googled Henry and found out he lives in Juliette, Georgia. My wife just loves the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”, and I happened to know that the Whistle Stop Cafe (where this movie was set) is in Juliette. So my cold email to him would go something like this:

Hi Henry,

I see you live in Juliette, Georgia. I remember reading about Fried Green Tomatoes being filmed there, and a Whistle Stop Cafe being opened for business on the site. Have you been to the Whistle Stop? Is it still like how it appears in the movie?

It would be awesome to talk about [four words about your company] with you. Can we find a time over the next week?

Best,  Adam

After sending the cold prospecting email, I’d then follow-up with a call. To make this strategy work to its full potential, I find it useful to utilize a software, like “Yesware” to help track who is opening my emails. It’s best to have the whole picture when making that initial call, so if you can confirm that they opened your email, you know it’s a good time to try a follow-up call, and even reference the email in your phone conversation.

Try, Try Again

I recently read a stat that said it take 7 to 11 touches before people even realize you are reaching out to them. Shocking, yet true. So keep calling and emailing until they know you mean business. And after a hang up, remember, even the best salespeople get rejected most of the time. Read this: Sales Guys Need to Learn to Deal With Rejection or GTFO and then move on to your next call.


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About the Author Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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