When a cold call lives up to its potential, it carries alongside it a natural and valuable by-product – intel. In fact, the intel you can learn during a sales call is incomparable to what you can learn utilizing any other marketing/sales method, except of course a face-to-face meeting.
A quality cold-call is a conversation, not a sales pitch. Yes, you are trying to sell a product, but at this stage of the game the goal is more about opening up a dialogue with a potential customer and enticing them to take that next baby step with you.
During the course of a cold call, it is natural to ask a prospect about their particular pains and problems pertaining to your service/product. It’s also customary to qualify, or disqualify, them as a potential client. Typically, you’ll attempt to learn about their buying process – how many people are involved, how long the decision typically takes, and when might they be looking to buy. You may find out about their relationship with your competitors and if they currently use a similar product or service. All this information helps inform your sales tactics as you continue to move the prospect through your sales pipeline.
In certain instances, however, it behooves a company to make this type of intel the priority of the call, rather than a secondary benefit. We call this type of cold call a survey call and it has worked well for a number of our clients. Typically, this calling technique is utilized by companies who sell products that require a long and intricately woven sales cycle.
For example, we have been working on survey cold calls for a Fortune 300 company selling diagnostic equipment into hospitals. What began as a basic pilot program has blossomed into an ongoing calling program that has spanned more than a year in its duration, due to its high success rate. The survey calls we make consist of 25 questions that help us ascertain an enormous amount of valuable intel including, but not limited to, where our client lost sales to competitors, and why. We have also been able to identify hot leads about to purchase as well as increase the overall visibility of the company to hospitals never contacted before.
The wonderful thing about survey calls is that they truly enable the prospect to open up since there is no agenda whatsoever. People generally like to talk and offer information, especially when the pressure is off. In our opinion, survey calls are widely under-utilized – mostly because it can be hard to fully quantify the results of the calls. However, just as good intel is invaluable to an army in battle and can, indeed make or break it, so is the intel discovered and collected during a well-executed survey call.
To learn more about this type of calling program, contact Maureen Tucker at (856) 240-8100.