The more you think of yourself as the connection between a product or service that is available and someone who needs it, the more effective sales professional you’ll be. This shift in perspective can have an enormous impact on your performance across the board.
A recent attendee at our Efficiency Sales ProfessionalTM Boot Camp recommended a book called The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson. It’s quite a thick tome. My first reaction upon seeing the book was that someone could delay making cold calls for a very long time if he/she elected to read it cover-to-cover rather than just picking up the phone.
It’s been said that one of the easiest to visualize and most helpful tricks for overcoming cold call reluctance is to imagine that you’re calling your prospect to return his or her wallet, which we’ll assume you found in the back of a taxicab.
Why is this little thought experiment so helpful? Because if properly visualized, it will have a dramatic effect on the way you’re going to address the person who answers your call. For one thing, the gatekeeper is not going to prequalify you with 20 questions if it appears you are calling to give rather than take, and the way you communicate while you’re in this mental “zone” will definitely give the impression that you have something important and valuable to offer.
Staying with this scenario for another moment, how much do you think that hypothetical lost wallet is really worth? Let’s assume your prospect is well-heeled and has great taste in leather goods. Say it’s a Tumi wallet lined with a couple hundred dollars your prospect had just withdrawn from the ATM. It also holds a few high-limit credit cards, a driver’s license and perhaps some other items that are relatively easy to cancel or replace. The whole value of the “prize?” Probably less than $500, including the labor cost of his assistant who would wind up replacing the wallet and reporting the credit cards lost.
Now, let’s return to the real reason for your call—an expense-reducing capital project with a projected life of a decade or more. What is the net present value (NPV) of the energy-saving solution you’re about to introduce to this prospect? Is it $500? How about $5,000? How about $50,000?
If you’re selling complex solutions, the NPV might well exceed half of a million dollars. Think about it. That’s equivalent to returning one thousand lost wallets worth $500 apiece. Now why would you ever hesitate to pick up the phone to return a thousand wallets?
Don’t ask yourself, “Why would this guy want to take my phone call?” You should be asking instead, “Why in the world would this person not want to take my phone call? It’s as if I found a thousand of his wallets in the back of a taxicab and am calling to return them!”
Regardless of which mind game you deploy to overcome cold call reluctance, always remember one thing: You have something valuable to offer and you are the connection that links your prospect to that value.