Over my career, I have watched sales representatives during countless sales calls and listened to them as they cold called prospects over the phone. Something that is becoming increasingly obvious is the art of conversation is dying at the fingertips of personal communication devices.
I recently listened in as a young sales person made a call to a company attempting to get connected to a decision maker. I was floored by this very polite gentleman's curt opening statement, "Would you put me through to Ms. Smith?"
It would be too easy to say, "This person was a millennial and they don't know how to talk on the phone." I think there is a lot of truth to that, but I also think many of us who are older are slipping when it comes to phone etiquette.
When I was growing up, most homes had one landline. We didn't know who would answer. Because of that, it required us to be polite when our call was answered.
"Good morning Mrs. Buchanan." I would say. "This is Chuck. I am calling for Kevin. Is he available?"
State purpose for call
That format worked well when trying to contact my childhood friends and it works great today when attempting to contact people at their place of work.
Most of the calls we make today are directly to the person we want to talk to. Few calls in our personal lives are answered by someone other than the intended person. That has lead to a casual approach in calling that can cost a company sales.
When you cold call, you aren't calling your friend. By definition, cold calling is calling someone who doesn't know you. You, therefore, need to change your approach. You need to follow basic etiquette. Follow the four steps identified above.
"Good morning. I am James Smith with the XYZ company. I am calling to speak with Ms. Johnson. Would you be kind enough to connect me?"
By implementing this one simple change, the young gentleman I reference above, was connected at over twice the rate he had been before.
Good old fashioned etiquette still works today when cold calling. In fact, it works better than before because it separates you from the herd.