Cold Calling for Appointments - Opening Stage

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Slide 1

In this section, we will see how to take control of the first 6 seconds of your call in the most effective way.

Slide 2

When you initiate a call to a new prospect, it is like knocking at the door of a stranger.

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The person who opens the door will not let you into the house and engage in a conversation with you right away. There are a few questions he will ask you first. You need to answer these questions to his satisfaction to gain entry.

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In a cold calling situation, the 3 questions that the prospect will have in his mind are: Who are you? Why are you calling? And What do you want from me? Unless you answer these questions clearly, the call is unlikely to move to the next stage.

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So to make an effective opening, match what you say to the questions in the mind of the prospect.

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This is how you will match them: You greet and identify yourself and your company to answer the first question - Who are you? Next you state the reason for your call to answer - Why are you calling? Lastly you seek permission for time to answer the third question - What do you want from me? A good opening thus allows you to effortlessly move to the next stage by gaining prospect’s attention.

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Let us understand these steps using an example that is generic and simple which is about getting an appointment for this CD i.e. ‘Cold calling for appointments’.

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The script is… Good Morning! I am Ram calling from Metamorph, a training company. Am I speaking with Ms. Khanna? This script ensures you are speaking to the right person and that they get used to your pace of talk and your voice.

Slide 9

While this may sound very simple and obvious, there are many variations that authors suggest to make this opening fancier. Unfortunately most of them fail. For example, some authors suggest that you open with “Good morning Ms. Khanna. How are you?”. There are 2 assumptions made in this. The first is that you are talking to Ms. Khanna. The idea is that the speaker will inform you if she is not Ms.Khanna. But this opening does not give space for the other person to orient themselves to your call and does not involve them in the conversation. The second assumption is that Ms. Khanna would find you friendly when you open with “How are you?” This is a common mistake made by tele-callers. When a stranger calls and enquires about you, it sounds artificial and sales-y. Even though the script we suggest may not be very fancy, we can assure you that it does the job.

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When you make such an opening, the natural response of the prospect is to ask you “What is it regarding?” So you get a nice opportunity to mention the reason for your call.

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The script for reason for call is... I am calling to introduce our new training CD, that teaches a simple method to fix up more appointments over the phone. May I take 2 minutes to tell you about it? Over the years we have realized that this one critical element i.e. a ‘STRONG reason for call’ can differentiate you from the ‘usual’ telemarketers.

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The Minimal Rule for reason for call is that you should state only one benefit that the prospect can immediately relate to. We suggest that you do not list all the possible benefits at this time.

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If we put the various elements together, this is what the opening statement looks like.

Slide 14

As we mentioned before, many calls are lost at the opening stage because of an unconvincing or unexplained reason for call. Realize that you have caught the prospect in the middle of his work. You will not be able to hold his attention and engage in a conversation unless you have something very important to say.

Slide 15

Here are 2 simple tests to know if your reason for call is strong enough or not: 1: Are you conveying an obvious value? For example, Are you helping the prospect to save time, make money or reduce waste etc. If so it is easy to hook the prospect. 2. Are you addressing a relevant problem? That is, are you addressing a strong concern area for the prospect? Since this is a very critical aspect of your opening we will practice this till you feel comfortable with the process.

Slide 16

Let us see some examples from different industries on how the opening statement may be created. In these examples, we will skip the VERIFY THE PERSON stage to keep it brief.

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Let us take the case of Shrinivas Reddy who is a business development manager in an accounting software company. He wants to fix an appointment to sell his accounting software to an independent retail outlet. Before going to the next slide, can you try and think of how Shrinivas can create a strong opening for his product?

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This is one possible way in which he can open: Good Morning! I am Shrinivas from Numerix Accounting Software Co. I am calling to introduce our accounting software which helps retail businesses like yours to save up to 50% time in reconciling cash on a daily basis. May I take 2 minutes to tell about it?

Slide 19

If you observe closely you will see that the reason for call passes the 2 tests. First it talks about a tangible value of 50% savings in time. Since time is at a premium for a small retail outlet this benefit naturally hooks the prospect. The script also talks about a very strong pain area for small retail business which is: reconciling cash. Thus, Srinivas can hook the prospect and move his call to the next stage.

Slide 20

In the case we have just seen, Shrinivas had a truly unique value to offer. But there are many generic products and services that do not have such unique benefits. What do you do in these cases?

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There are 2 options to make a strong opening in this case. The first option is to know the prospect well enough to personalize the opening.

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For example, take the case of Seema Kale who is a Financial Planning Advisor for Earth Bank. Her wealth management solutions are similar to the ones offered by the competition. So, let’s see how she can personalize the reason for call and make the prospect want to meet her.

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This is how Seema opens her call: Good Morning! I am Seema, your Relationship Manager from the K K Nagar branch of Earth Bank. Sir, as I was checking your account, I found some excess balance in your savings account. I wish to suggest a few options to help you earn more returns from that money. May I take 2 minutes to tell about it? In this statement Seema has personalized her opening statement all the way through. Right from the time she greeted and identified herself, she mentioned that she is the relationship manager of the prospect and is calling from the branch where he holds the account. She showed that she knew about the customers account status and offered to suggest a tangible benefit of earning more returns on investment to the prospect. So naturally, the prospect would be willing to listen to her.

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The second option in case your product does not have a unique benefit is to add credibility by listing some of your well-known customers.

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Let us see how Anthony Noronha uses this approach. He is a business manager with Strong Glass Manufacturing company that supplies glass bottles to pharmaceutical companies for packaging medicines.

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This is how Anthony uses client names to add credibility to his opening: Good Morning! I am Anthony from Strong Glass manufacturing company. I am calling to introduce our range of high quality glass bottles. For the past 10 years, we have been supplying bottles to all top Pharma companies like Medico, Saras and Biopharm. Can I take 2 minutes of your time? Anthony has referred to his rich customer base and his vintage of 10 years to establish himself as a trustworthy player. This gives the confidence to the prospect to continue talking with him. If you are a small business, mentioning your big clients goes a long way in putting weight behind your name. These credentials will help you to get the prospects to listen to you.

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Realize a good beginning is half the job done. Most people wrongly focus on the closing stage by bulldozing their way through the initial part of the conversation. So, naturally customers disconnect even during the course of the pitch.

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If you want further proof, just analyze the duration of your calls. You will see that 50% of your calls are of less than 10 seconds duration. This shows that most calls fail during the opening statement itself.

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While a weak reason for call is the single biggest reason for calls getting rejected, there are 2 other reasons why cold calls die at the opening stage.

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The first reason is sounding like a ‘usual’ telecaller. What do we mean by ‘USUAL’?

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Listen to the conversation of a typical caller. (SAMPLE CALL) What do you think of the call? If you were to receive a call like this, will you entertain the caller?

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Did the call appear familiar to you? You must have received a dozen such calls for loans, insurance, credit cards or hotel schemes and said ‘NO’ right away. Realize that your prospects too, have been subjected to such calls and will say ‘NO’ if your call sounds like any of these ÚSUAL’ calls.

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The second reason why cold calls fail is that the caller tries to use manipulative techniques. Let us see an example.

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Please listen to a ‘typical’ call. (SAMPLE CALL)

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Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Variations to this call could be offering of free gift, 50% special discount, fake quizzes etc… Realize that customers are now immune to such manipulation. They would have heard many such tricks where sales people try to fool them into giving an appointment. So, if your call sounds like just another ‘manipulative’ cold call, you will hear a “NO” automatically.

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Please refer to the workbook to make an opening statement for your specific product. Once you finish, do assess if the reason for call passes the 2 critical tests of Obvious value and Relevance.

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So to summarize, the 4 steps in the opening stage: Greet and Identify Verify the person State reason for call and Seek permission for time

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To quickly recall what we have covered so far… You have learnt how to calculate the number of appointments you need to reach your target You learnt how to define your preferred prospects based on the unique features of your product and the commonalities in the profile of your existing customers Then, we understood why it is important to have a good script for calling. In that script, we have covered the first stage i.e. the ‘Opening stage’.

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Return to Main Menu

Slide 1

Cold Calling for Appointments SCRIPT STAGE 1: OPENING

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Cold calling is like knocking at the door of a stranger… *Picture quality has been reduced for ease of download

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The stranger will not let you in… till you answer the 3 critical questions Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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3 questions in your prospect’s mind… Who are you? Why are you calling? What do you want from me?

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Match what you say… To the questions in the mind of the prospect For an effective opening

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The way you match is…

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How to open a call for the CD: ‘Cold calling for Appointments’ Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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Example 1: The structure to OPEN

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Good Morning, Ms. Khanna. How are you? Fancier variations may not work 1 2

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This natural response allows you to mention the reason for the call Yes. What is it regarding?

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I am calling to introduce our new training CD, that teaches a simple method to fix up more appointments over the phone. May I take 2 minutes to tell you about it? State reason for call

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Minimal rule for Reason For Call State ONE benefit that your prospect can immediately relate to Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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So the opening statement is…

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In this, the most important element is the strength of the reason for call STRONG REASON WEAK or NO REASON

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The ‘Reason for call’ is strong when it: Has obvious value E.g. save time, make money, reduce waste etc. Addresses relevant problem

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Examples from different industries of creating opening…

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Example 2: I.T Name: Shrinivas Reddy Role: Business Development Manager Company: Numerix Accounting Software and Services Work: Sells Accounting Software to independent retail outlets

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Example 2: Opening statement

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Does it pass the test? Obvious value: Saving time up to 50% Relevance: Directly addresses the specific issues of a retail business

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What if your product does not have a unique benefit? Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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You can make a strong opening by Option 1:

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Example 3: Banking Name: Seema Kale Role: Financial Planning Advisor Company: Earth Bank Work: Sells wealth management solutions to individuals

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Example 3: Opening statement

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List some of your well known customers Option 2:

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Example 4: Manufacturing Name: Anthony Noronha Role: Business Manager Company: Strong Glass Manufacturing Work: Sells glass bottles to Pharmaceutical companies Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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Example 4: Opening statement

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A good opening is half the job in cold calling… Realize…

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…because most cold calls fail during the opening statement itself Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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Let us see some reasons why cold calls die at the opening stage…

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Sounding like a ‘USUAL’ telecaller Usual Caller Mistake 1

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Want a Loan…

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…people have learnt to say “No” to ‘Usual’ cold calls Realize… Loans Insurance Credit Cards Hotel Schemes

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Using manipulative techniques Mistake 2

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What about this call?

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Realize…people say ‘NO’ to these fake techniques Free Gifts 50% discount Fake Quiz

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Workbook Exercise Make an opening statement for your product/service Check if the opening statement passes the test of: Obvious value Relevance CLICK NEXT TO CONTINUE

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So to summarize the steps in opening… 1. Greet and Identify 4. Seek permission for time 3. State reason for call 2. Verify the person

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So far… How many appointments? Defining preferred prospects What you say Opening Contact us : SMS CCFA to 9930 16 9191

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Return to Main Menu

Summary: First part of script for cold calling for appointments

Tags: cold calling sales metamorph appointments training

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