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June 1, 2020 11:30

How to give an effective consulting call?

Best cold calling tips to sell consulting services

People fear like death the telephone because they’re afraid of rejection. They think people are going to judge them (and they’re right ;-) and hurt them (yes, they’re right again !) but a « NO » is something you need to learn to handle. Calling is about perseverance and in life you’re going to fall many times on obstacles.

During a phone call with a prospect, you have four to seven seconds to make an impression, good or bad. The main thing is that you have a few seconds until someone, judges each piece of what you’ve just said. Knowing exactly what to say in the first 7 seconds is one of the fundamental keys to calling. When you win the first 7 seconds, a prospect gives you grace for the next 25 seconds. Then you have to do a good effect again to win the next 25 and so on.

I don’t want to put too much pressure on you but studies revealed that if you make a negative first impression, it takes eight subsequent positive impressions to erase that negative first impression.

The cold hard truth is that if you’re not spending your time having conversations with buyers, you aren’t building your business. You’ll not become immediately comfortable on phone, but little by little you’ll understand the power of this weapon. Remember: You’re the only one responsible for your success. So it’s time to take action and stop waiting for people returning your calls.


Is cold calling dead for consulting activity?


People usually say to me that cold calling is a dead activity. They think it was necessary for the ’80s but it’s not anymore. After all, we can send emails, text, exchange on, so why should we bother with calling? Yes, the rules of selling have been transformed in the digital era. But cold calling is not dead. It just needs to be considered in a new way.

As far as I’m concerned, calling is more important now than ever. Since social media has rapidly expanded, a lot of unknown people are hidden behind their screens, and interlocutors are more eager to put a face and a voice on a name and a mail. They’re looking for real connections and true interactions. Something a little more human than generic mass mailing campaign.

The call remains the best weapon of the seller: the higher probability of selling an appointment, of signing a deal. Also very powerful because it is an exchange and not a single way of information.

Conversation creates relationships and relationships to create revenue opportunities. Just a little figure to convince you: 92% of consulting customer engagement occurs on the phone. Not bad, huh?

Since you’ve already interacted with your prospect on social media, this call is not really a cold call even if it’s the first time you hear the voice of your interlocutor.

I perfectly know how you feel now. I’ve made hundreds of phone calls. And many of them were really cold calls with direct and aggressive persons. I still remember each of them and the FEARS. The fear to be judged, the fear to don’t speak correctly, the fear to fail, the fear to stumble upon the words.

But do you know what you’re stressed by the phone? You're stressed because your skills are less than your fear. So to increase your skills until you overcome your fears, there’s one and single way: practice!

Always keep in mind the following and everything is going to be fine. In approaching your first conversation, you should orient everything you say to the customer’s perspective and focus the entire content of your call exclusively on the customer’s situation. The most successful sales professionals don’t initiate contact by talking about their company, their offering, or themselves. They introduce and describe themselves through the issues that they address, not through the solutions they offer.


Before giving a consulting call


  • Find motivation


    • Remember your mission & repeat clearly to yourself why you need to succeed. The professional objective of sales does not exist. Everything is personal. It all depends on why you have to pick up the phone to make this sale: whether it's to pay this bill, send your child to college or put money down for a new house.
    • Break down activities into the daily routine. Thus, many of us lack the motivation to sell simply because they feel overwhelmed. They feel that they cannot do everything necessary to achieve their objectives. Block your agenda for calling on several small-time blocks spread within the week. Focus on the small steps in a consistent way.
    • Make Calling the most important objective of your day.
    • Celebrate even your small successes. Sometimes, when we get to the bottom of the sales motivation curve, we start to forget our little successes.


  • Have fun and make calling a game


    • At Xerox, management has created the so-called « race for the NO ». On the morning , at 9am, all sales poeple start their day by calling prospects. Their aim is to be the first to get 10 « NO » in a row in order to get a price. So first they train themselves to call and call again despite the objections and create a habit of Cold Calling. Second, it’s sometimes funy that a sales person stand up and say « Goddamn ! I was almost there but a prospect give me a final « YES » ! »
    • Give a fee for each one of your call. If you remark you need 10 calls to have 1 appointement. Don’t give a fee to your win call. Instead divide the amount into as many calls as necessary. Example : if the average consultancy contract is 20k€ and I need 10 calls to get my rendez-vous, each call worths 2k€. Either the answer is a NO or a YES, each call has the same value. Your mind moves forward to the next call and your remain motivated to reach the total sum. There’s no failure, but only small little successive successes.


  • Pick up the right moment


    • Choose your day. Be extremely motivated since cold calling is the most difficult selling activity. If there’s a personal issue for you this day, if you’re sick or in a bad mood, don’t call.
    • Don’t delay and find excuses. Calling is an activity people want to avoid like plague, but it’s a necessary evil. So put call on your agenda and stick to it.
    • Choose the right moment for your customer. People perfer to be called on the morning before daily staff meeting. Usually a call on Friday or at the end of the week gets a better performance : at the end of the week, people are already thinking about weekend and are more relax compared to Monday mornings.


  • Be prepared


    • Mental conditioning : Create a nice environement to call. Clean desk in a quiet place will trigger a clear mind. Be in a right dressing code : it’s not because you’re at home you can wear pyjamas to make your calls.
    • Rehearse again and again what you’re going to say and what you’re going to reply in case of objections. You need to avoid to search for words or « euhhh » moments that will tense your interlocutor. True professionals follow a script. So do you.
    • Research. Don’t prepare the day of the call : there’s a risk that you don’t estimate yourself ready enough to call and spend your entire morning preparing yourself. Prepare everything the day before. On the D day, just get a paper and a pen in front of you with company features sticked on the wall. That’s all. Computer will delay your actions and calling is just about taking action.
    • Focus : spend 80% of your time on the 5 best prospects you ahve in your funnel.


  • Expression


    • SMILE ! Smile can be heard by your interlocutor. People who hear your smile are more open-minded and empathic. Don’t underestimate the power of a smile and train your zygomatic muscles. Use short and precise sentences. Work on your voice: not too fast, not too loud.


  • Record your call


    • Examine your failures & Learn from them. Some people might call this a failure, but I really don't think you can fail in sales. The only way to fail in sales is if you leave. Until you stopped, you didn't fail.

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