The challenge of getting into big companies is formidable, but the payback can huge. Here are three strategies you can use to enhance your cold calling success rate.
How does it “hear”?
Just because you think your voicemail is ready for prime time, doesn’t mean it is. You need to conduct a hearing test. Why? Because it’s not what you say that’s important, it’s what your customer hears.
So get on the phone, call your own number and leave yourself the exact voicemail you’re planning to user for a customer. Then call yourself back and see how you sound. The first time you hear yourself, you’ll be appalled at how boring, dry, or nasal your voice sounds. Expect that.
Then call back a second time and listen as your customer. Ask yourself, “How does it hear?” Play it again. If you’d call yourself back, you have a winner. If you wouldn’t, go back to the drawing board and fix it. Figure out what to change so you don’t sound like an overzealous pitchman or groveling salesperson.
Revise and review.
Once I struggled for over a week with a message for the vice president of sales in an account I’d been following for quite a while. Suddenly a Triggering Event occurred that created tons of opportunity for my company. To get Mr. Bigshot’s attention, I needed to create a strong link between his critical business issues and my offering.
No, I didn’t work all day on it, but I was constantly turning it over in my mind trying to figure out what would be enticing. In between client meetings, I’d tweak my approach or find a new way to say what I meant. I must have called myself dozens of times and anguished over how dreadful my message sounded. But then suddenly, out of the ashes and rubble, a good script finally emerged. The difference was immediately apparent; it clicked.
Sometimes you have to try your script out on real prospects first to get a sense of what works or what doesn’t. Don’t worry about getting it perfect because it never is. Get it as close as you can, try it out, make some more changes and try again. When your voicemail script is a winner, you’re on your way to getting your foot in the door. Your follow-up messages almost seem to write themselves once you get the first one nailed down.
Content First, Style Next
Up to this point, we’ve focused on what to say because until the message is enticing, everything else is irrelevant. Anyone who tells you that you just need to have a positive attitude and sound enthusiastic, hasn’t tried to get into big companies in the past few years.
The ability to connect your firm’s value proposition with the decision maker’s priority business needs is the foundation you need to get in. It’s also what you need to get over your own angst in calling. When you’re confident that what you offer truly is valuable to a decision maker, it’s not nearly so hard to make the call. It still not easy for many people but if they know what to say, it’s doable. And that’s what counts.