Interest and credibility are the keys to successful cold calling and outgoing phone selling.

With cold calling, you have to develop interest within the first 7 seconds. When the prospect first answers, this is not the time to tell who you are or where you're from. You may think this important and strange not to introduce yourself, but the prospect on the other of the phone doesn't care who you are or where you're from. You are interrupting and all s/he cares about is "What can you do for me?" So this is the moment to push benefits (not features) to pique the prospect’s curiosity.

When opening I like to use the word "referred". For example, "Hi Mr. Smith, you were referred to me as someone who could be interested in making more sales using the telephone. Is this correct?" If he answers "Yes", go to step 2. If he says, "No", asked if he can refer you to someone in his company who is or could be interested in improving phone sales. Referred implies transferred credibility – someone s/he respects has referred you.

Credibility can also be established quickly by establishing rapport, building trust and showing expertise. Rapport starts with being friendly, respectful and polite.

Notice in the above opener I said, "Mr. Smith" (respectful and polite); "you were referred" -- referred can be anything if he asks, who referred you, i.e., the greater Los Angeles information source (Yellow Pages). Or you could say, Google. It doesn't really matter. What does matter is your "benefit offering." and whether or not he's interested. Notice I said "benefit offering." I didn't talk about the feature i.e. seminars, books, program, CDs, etc. I mentioned what he could get for himself that he might like to have, i.e. making more sales using the telephone. Never ask, if someone is interested in buying something. Ask if s/he would like to have the benefit of what that something can bring or give or do. For example, do you want to attend a seminar (the buy) or do you want more sales (the benefit)?

Step 2 -- Get the Prospect to Take over the Conversation

In order to sell someone anything, you've got to know how s/he wants to be sold. The best way is to ask the prospect about issues or challenges s/he is having getting that benefit. Once the person says "yes" to your question about being interested in more sales using the phone, all you have to say is, "So what are the issues and challenges you're facing as it relates to phone sales?" -- "What else?" -- "What else?"

Now s/he will probably tell you the "what", s/he wants i.e. "I want the magic pill." "I'm looking for how to get people to call me back." "I want more sales." It could be a feature or benefit the prospect mentions. When s/he tells you what s/he wants, you'll be tempted to tell how you can give it to him or her better than anyone else. Unfortunately, if you start telling at this point, you'll lose credibility. The reason you lose credibility is because you have not built trust with this person yet. So start building trust by saying, "Tell me the issues or challenges you're having that you want this magic pill or technique to solve?" Or "Tell me what's preventing you from making more phone sales?"

Getting him or her to explain, while you listen with an ear to understand is what builds trust. (Remember, trust is the second part of credibility). Once the person has outlined the challenges or problems s/he is having, keep asking "What else?" This gets him or her to open up more which will supply you an arsenal of information to be used later in your presentation.

An additional plus for you getting him to explain is the prospect will now know, you understand his or her situation. S/he told it to you. If you really want to enhance credibility, feedback to the prospect your interpretation of what s/he said and then say, "Is this correct?" Nothing builds rapport and trust more than this simple confirmation technique.

Now if the prospect doesn't mention benefits you feel s/he should have mentioned or should care about, you can expose and entice him or her with these benefits. For example, "You didn't say anything about getting past receptionists or admins. Is this an issue?" "What about voicemails?" "How about getting prospects to commit?" This is to make sure s/he hasn't forgotten something; never thought about something; or didn't even know about that something. This expose and entice technique will make you appear consultative, which goes to trust and expertise (the third component of credibility). Just as importantly, it enables you and the prospect to more fully understand his or her total concept which will help tremendously with closing and up-selling.

Once the prospect has told you the challenges and answered your exposures and enticements, you've now got the full package of problems this person wants solved and probably his undivided attention. It may no longer be the magic pill or technique, but rather the full-on consulting package. In addition, you've probably built a lot of rapport and trust with this person, because you let him do the talking. Additionally he will now know that you know what he wants. Once a prospect knows that you know, he is more willing to listen to what you have to present.

Step 3 -- Show Them Your Expertise

You're probably already very good at telling people how you can solve their problems. So I won't dwell on this very much. However try to be as specific as possible, using numbers names and details. These create a vivid picture, and give the prospect the feeling that you're very competent / expert. Ambiguities leave the prospect doubtful and concerned.

For example, I could say, "For many years I've worked with hundreds of companies helping them improve their closing percentages and increase their average dollars per sale."

Alternatively I could say,

"For the past 15 years, I've worked with over 120 companies telemarketing consumer goods, such as appliances, healthcare and household services, as well as those companies telemarketing business-to-business products and services such as computer products, software, insurance, and technical services. I’ve helped Fortune 500 and companies with sales under $5 million increase their closing percentages to over 70% within 2 weeks. I’ve also helped these same companies increase their average dollar sales by over 50% by teaching effective up-selling skills to their telemarketers and managers."

This is far more impactful, meaningful and vivid to a prospect than the statement above. (Numbers, names, and details)

Also, stay on target while presenting. Concentrate on what was sold to you, i.e. the problems that s/he said were of interest. Don't try to force the prospect to be interested in things s/he is not interested in, or that you didn't discuss and/or that you feel should be important.

Step 4 -- Ask the Prospect for His or Her Feelings

Use these exact words after your presentation. "How do you feel about what I just explained to you?" This is the most important sales question for a salesperson. It indicates position with this prospect. If the prospects says s/he feels great/good, go directly to closing. "Let's write this up. What's your name as it appears on your credit card?" Closing is an aggressive step. The prospect feels good. Close this deal. Do not be tentative, such as, "So, should we write this up?"

If the prospect gives the indication s/he doesn't feel great, such as "Well, I feel okay." Or "I'll get back to you." This is an objection. You then must say, "It seems you have some concerns. What are they?" The prospect has some issues, and you have to pull them out of him or her. When s/he tells you the objections, listen, and don't argue or try to address them. Rather, say you understand and ask the prospect, what you should do, or how s/he could handle or work around these issues. Then you can address them. This may require some additional work on your part and a call back.

After you address these issues, ask again, "So, how do you feel now?" If s/he answers with a good or great, close the deal. If not, repeat the above sequence.

Again, interest and credibility are the keys to cold calling and telemarketing. With cold calling you have to pique interest immediately, so don't waste time with who you are. Lead with your benefits. Once the person says, "Yes it could be of interest," your job is to sell him or her in the way she or he wants to be sold. To do this, ask questions that will get the prospect to reveal exactly what it will take to win him or her over. Don’t push what you want to say using your normal style of selling. Otherwise, you'll get nothing but resistance, rejection and frustration. Follow the steps above and you'll see how easy and rewarding it can be to cold call and telemarket.

And now I invite you to learn more.

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Author's Bio: 

Sam Manfer is the leading expert on selling to CEO’s and other influential people – doctors, gov’t officials, etc. Sam is a sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling. That is, getting to and influencing top level decision-makers. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Grab your FREE E-Books, Videos, Articles and other Advanced Sales Training Tips at

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