A soft-lead-in works better than a cold call because it softens the tone of the cold call. It's not explicitly clear you are calling to try and get something out of the person. Instead it's a call about you both potentially getting something.
If the person you're calling sees an opportunity they're more likely to listen.
If you don't manage to get the call hung up in your face proceed to the next step; showing an understanding of the client's needs.
There's nothing worse than successfully bypassing the gatekeeper or spiking the business owner's interest and then falling flat on your face because you didn't know what motivates them. Knowledge is power.
If you want to sell them you're going to have to show you understand their wants and needs and can fulfil those wants and needs. Do research. Obviously you represent a company that sells a product or service. Therefore you should know what want or need you can fulfil and how you intend to fulfil it.
If your particular industry has market differentiators use them to your advantage. Show an understanding of those market forces and demonstrate how your product or service can be beneficial to the sales lead.
Showing an understanding of their wants and needs establishes credibility. If you're unable to establish credibility, you're far less likely to be successful. No one wants to do business with people they don't know or respect.
Know your value proposition. The best value propositions are products or services that you have a monopoly over or patent control of. Dangling that kind of benefit can be quite appealing. Businesses always try to acquire competitive advantages. However the value proposition doesn't have to be that profound.
Perhaps your service focuses on one specific area that could be a benefit to the sales lead. Maybe you provide a lower cost option or better support. Find something that sets your product or service apart from your competitors. You don't have to have the best overall product or service, you just have to do a good job at highlighting your strengths, and meet their needs.
What you offer must always compliment their needs, otherwise why are you calling them?
If you still have their interest, move on to Small Steps.
Asking for $5000 / year for a three year contract is a BIG ask. It's sticker shock! Instead you need to ease them into it. Try asking for a face-to-face meeting, or an online meeting, or a demo, or the opening of a trial account. Take them to the next logical step in the process of converting them into a paid client.
Disclaimer, this depends on your "Ask." If you are asking for a $5.00 donation to a charity then you're fine going for the money. Otherwise think about the next step you need to accomplish before going for the sale. If they next step seems reasonable the potential client will more than likely agree.
Like a frog dipped in boiling water, the sales lead will jump out if your ask reaches too far. Boil the water slowly over time, and you'll be eating frog's legs for dinner. Yum.
Moreover taking small steps like this gives you an opportunity to build rapport, establish trust and credibility. You need these things to make the sale.
Always follow up! If you said you were going to call or meet them at a specific time or place, then do it! Not following up is a huge red flag that you can't be trusted or counted upon. That being said only agree to follow-ups that require you to initiate contact.
Never ever let them be in control of the follow up. 99% of the time a client will not follow up with you. It's human nature don't fight it. Control it.
All was going so well but when you got to the follow up they got squeamish. What happened? Who knows. People are weird.
You must have a contingency plan if this happens to you. You need a "Fallback".
A fallback can be any combination of the following:
- ask if they have objections to a follow up. If they do, try to answer them
- can we touch base in 2-3 days so you can consider the options?
- can we invite you to a free webinar or free seminar?
- can we add you to our mailing list / newsletter?
These fallbacks are listed in order of importance. A last resort is to add them to a newsletter. Only offer that if they refuse everything else. If you can't get past their objections you want a chance to continue the dialogue. Short of that the newsletter maintains some level of contact. It isn't ideal but it isn't nothing. Anything is better than nothing.
There's been times when I flat out refused a product or service only to rethink my decision months later and callback. A newsletter will keep you on their mind and be an excellent resource to help them make contact with you when they're ready. In the meantime you might get some extra website traffic out of them. It may not be the sale you were looking for but traffic still helps your business grow.