Cold, Warm or Hot Call: Top Three Ways to Improve Sales Results

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: March 24, 2010

Salespeople can often get caught up in labeling their calls. Is it cold, warm or hot? Here’s a tip: they all require similar selling skills. A skilled telephone conversation requires the ability to build rapport, deliver a compelling value proposition, and ask good qualifying questions. Here are three ways to enhance your sales conversations – regardless of the temperature.

Build Rapport:
How many of you have hung up the phone with a prospect and said, “I just wasn’t connecting with this person?” You might be focusing on the wrong part of the conversation. The astute salesperson immediately tunes into the non-verbal part of the sales conversation, which accounts for up to 88% of communication when using the telephone.

Top salespeople are masters at matching and mirroring the prospect’s rate of speech as well as specific words being used by the prospect. If the salesperson is speaking to a prospect who speaks slowly, the salesperson speaks slowly. If they have a rapid fire prospect on the phone, the salesperson matches and mirrors by kicking up the pace. The biggest mistake we hear in most sales conversations is salespeople talking much faster than the prospect because of nervousness or lack of focus. The prospect cannot keep up with the conversation, no rapport is built, and no appointment is set. Likeability is the key to moving the sales forward.

Compelling Value Propositions:
The key word is compelling. Most value propositions focus on the salesperson’s organization versus the prospect’s problem; i.e. “We are a 100-year-old firm specializing in blah, blah, blah. We are experts at blah, blah, blah.” The prospect is immediately bored and writes the phone call off as another conversation with a self-centered salesperson.

The well trained salesperson has a customized value proposition designed specifically for the industry and the decision maker. For example, when our organization calls on construction firms, we use statements such as, “We work with construction companies who are tired of going to beauty contests, only to end up in second place.” The phrase “beauty contests” is industry jargon in the construction business. It shows we know their world. Is your sales team integrating statements in their value proposition that show the prospect they understand the prospect’s business or are they using the same phrases for all prospects?

Qualifying Questions:
How many of you have been referred into an account only to discover the prospect has no money or pain? Hot calls need to be qualified just as carefully as a cold call. In fact, they need to be more carefully qualified. A warm introduction often causes salespeople to get sloppy and forget key qualifying questions (after all, they were referred in or the prospect called them). The main question to ask your sales team is: Did you gather information or did you gather evidence of a problem that the prospect is serious about solving?

Whether your lead is being generated by a cold call, introduction or LinkedIn, remember that a solid sales conversation with all of the above ingredients must occur. Build rapport, develop customized value propositions and qualify.

Good Selling,

Colleen Stanley
Chief Selling Officer