It’s time to put the phrase “Cold Calling” in its place – six feet under. We all have our own experiential journey of what the last Year of COVID has been like. We’re inside. We’re lacking interpersonal communication. We’re lacking connectivity.

On the sales front, the traditional mandate of “Get more meetings!”, pivoted to “Get more zoom calls!” Ugh. And to get more zoom calls means more cold emails and more cold calls. The big problem is cold calls have about the same sales appeal as root canal – for both the caller and the receiver. The whole paradigm of cold calling is intrusive, one-sided, smacks of desperation, and basically is  just plain unpleasant. Now that we’re slowly coming out of our COVID exile, it’s time to bury cold calling and reframe our approach to “Connective Calling”.

Yes, we all desire reconnection. So sales folks need to take advantage of the moment and change the script. Here are some tools and tips to make that pivot:

  1. “How has this last year affected your business?”. One of the best ways to summarize the last year was this:

    “We are not all in the same boat. We’re in the same storm. Some have yachts, some have canoes, and some of us were treading water.”

    As such, this question enables your contact to offer insights on their situation. But the question comes with a catch. To ask this question you have to thoughtfully listen to the answer, and you have to care. It’s not enough to check the box. Within this answer may be truths and reactions that can help you find the best way to move forward in the call. Also, don’t confuse this with the sentence I recommend you never utter “So tell me a little bit about your business”. It’s a lazy request and an imposition on their time, because the fact is, you should already…

  2. …Know about their business. You should have looked (really looked) at their website. Visited their social media pages. Been up on major executive moves. Be aware of their competition. There are simply too many good sources of information at your fingertips. By knowing this information, you will be able to ask questions about them (not statements about you), and as you may have heard: everyone’s favorite subject? Themselves.
  3. “What does success look like in December?” This is great open-ended question that will likely bubble up the one big thing that’s on their mind. Once you understand that, you can focus your follow up on that need. And after that ask…
  4. …“Anything else?” When Google interviews candidates, it’s one their simple go-to questions. They pose a problem, the candidate answers and then… “anything else?”. Google is looking to understand how the person moves to the next level of thinking. In the Connective Call scenario, seldom will a person posed with that on the heels of describing one goal, problem or solution come back with “Nope. That’s it”, because it’s almost never just one thing.
  5. Help them. Then, after you’ve given your call contact every chance to speak, and if you discover you have an intelligent, appropriate response, avoid “dump trucking the solution”. This is no time for a 10 minute drone of a product feature or system. It IS the time to suggest that you believe you have a high value solution to a problem that will reap this benefit(s). Keep it simple but designed to ask for the follow-up meeting (zoom or otherwise).

It’s not easy to a be a Connective Caller. Deadlines and sales goals are always at the forefront, and reaching a valuable contact on the phone creates the impulsive desire to “Sell”. Don’t do it.

This past year has left imprints on all of us, but they run the gamut.  By listening thoughtfully, playing back key points to ensure clarity, you’re doing the patient and generous work of demonstrating empathy.  That’s the key to unlock the connectivity gate. That’s Connective Calling.

The Ganon Group offers communication coaching for executives and employees across all departments: C-Suite Leadership, Sales, Customer Experience, Technical / Product Development, to improve their communication and presentation techniques. We believe everyone can “up” their game when it comes to communicating initiatives and ideas within the organization, outside to new prospects, to existing clients, or to outside media and trade organizations.