Cold Calling – Best Friend Or Worst Nightmare?
Cold calling for a car dealership can either be your best friend of your worst nightmare. Cold calling is a science. Cold calling is very hard to do. Simply picking up the phone takes courage. But turning cold calls into actual sales calls — that takes confidence and thick skin as well as skill. Prospects may react with hostility or courtesy, but that won’t change the odds. You face a firestorm of rejection for every spark of interest you ignite. Even seasoned salespeople shudder at the thought of cold calling. Plus, with many marketers reluctant to take risks these days, the challenges of cold calling are even greater, especially for used car dealerships.
Research a list of prospects. Before making your calls, research your prospects. Look for prospects who have a similar profile to those who have bought from the past. They’ll be easier to sell. Next to each prospect, note any of your current customers in the prospect’s industry, region, job classification, or anything else that might help you to position your offering. Don’t spend a lot of time on this, just find out enough so that you can pitch using terms that the prospect can understand.Build your script. Once you know whom you’re going to call, focus on what you’re going to say. Write a brief script (no more than three or four sentences) that introduces who you are, what you do, and what you provide. An effective script asks for the appointment early. Please note that the purpose of the script is NOT to communicate substantive information about your offering. Instead, the purpose of the phone call is to win the right to actually sell to the prospect.
Anticipate objections. Each time one of them materializes, you’ll need to handle them appropriately… and then ask for the appointment. Most objections are common to all sales situations, so you should have little or no trouble listing them out. The trick here is to practice handling objections until the response is automatic. Note: the most important part of handling the objection is asking for the appointment.Get positive and get calling. Attitude is everything. If your offering has value to the customer, you’re doing the prospect a favor by giving him or her the opportunity to meet with you. Therefore, have confidence in your ability to provide value. That confidence not only helps you communicate more effectively, it provides the motivation that will drive you to actually sit down and start making the cold calls.
Leave a message (if necessary). If you end up in the contact’s voice-mail system, don’t despair. Leave a very brief message based upon your calling script. However, rather than setting a time for an appointment, say that you’ll be calling back on a certain date and time, but would appreciate a callback. The next time you call, ask the admin if the contact is in. If not, tell the admin that you’ve been trying to connect with the contact and would like to know when would be a good time to call.
Handle the objections. Once you’ve got the contact on the line, execute the script. Don’t read it! Put it into your own words, with enthusiasm. In almost every case, you will get at least one, and probably more, objections. Since you’ve anticipated these objections, you should respond to them as necessary and then ask for the appointment again. If you receive more than 3 objections, it’s fair to assume that the prospect is not going to meet with you, so thank the prospect and politely end the call.
Repeat the process on a daily basis. if you’re determined to excel, commit to an hour a day attempting to achieve two appointments.
One final, important note: Do not read the script, under any circumstances. Instead, practice the script as written, then practice it from memory–so that the words emerge naturally, as if you just thought of them, the moment you began speaking. This is what great stage actors do. They rehearse until the words are “part of them”–then, when they speak lines they’ve spoken on stage 100 or even 1,000 times before, each performance seems fresh and exciting. Also, when you ask a question as part of the conversation, stop and actually listen to the customer. Don’t plow through like a carnival pitchman. This is about having a conversation, not about getting the words out of your own mouth.