Listen to these short sound clips and you'll never make these mistakes again.
Here are some real-life examples of cold calls gone wrong. These short (less than 30 second) clips were recorded by Steve Kloyda, also known (rightly) as "The Prospecting Expert," whose website has great advice for avoiding them. (I've added my own "solution" to the mistakes.)
1. Fake Friendliness
Mistake: The salesman attempts assess the prospect's receptiveness by asking an inappropriate question, thereby antagonizing the customer.
Solution: After you've briefly described what you're selling and why it's unique, ask a question that helps assess if there's a need. (And keep your ears open for cues!!)
Example: "We help couples like yourself plan for the future, so that you can send your kids through college and still have something to retire on. Just out of curiosity, how do you and your husband make these kind of decisions?"
3. Talking About Yourself
Mistake: The salesperson goes on and on about what he wants and what he's doing until the exasperated prospect just wants to get off the phone.
Solution: List out the objections that you hear most often and devise a follow-on question that keeps the conversation going.
Example (in response to "we've already got things set up."): "That's wonderful! Most people ignore these important issues until it's too late. Just out of curiosity, how are you estimating the amount of savings you'll need?"
5. Failure to Differentiate
Mistake: The saleswoman engages the prospect in a conversation but is unable to express why what she's selling is different from what the prospect already has.
Solution: With the first 10 seconds of the conversation, include something that your firm does better than anybody else in the world.
Example: "Several firms in your industry have saved around 25% on inventory expense using our software and I'm wondering whether you might be interested in learning more. Is this a good time to talk?"
6. Asking the Wrong Questions
Mistake: The saleswoman asks a series of Yes/No questions that give the prospect the opportunity to express disinterest. Then she asks for a referral, which is absurd at this point because she hasn't created sufficient trust.
GEOFFREY JAMES writes "Sales Source on Inc.com," the world's most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014. To get weekly blog updates, sign up for his free "Insider" newsletter. @Sales_Source