Startup Sales: Don't Make These 3 Cold Calling Mistakes

Startup Sales: Don’t Make These 3 Cold Calling Mistakes

Cold Calling


Originally published on CloserIQ Blog and written by Alicia Anderson.

When attempting to acquire new customers, there are many common mistakes that startup salespeople stumble upon that make it even more difficult for their client to understand what they have to offer.

Below are three such cold calling mistakes — unrefined positioning, speaking in convoluted jargon, and talking a big game — and how you can avoid them whether it be via email or a phone call.

1. Unrefined Positioning

First and foremost, give a summary that introduces who you are and what you can offer in simple language. It is better to be very specific on your services instead of all encompassing.

This may seem counterintuitive, since most companies want to identify as a one-stop-shop but this type of ‘wide positioning’ leaves clients confused as to what you can really do. Instead, focus on a single vertical, explaining how you can make a difference.

EXAMPLE: “We help dermatologists streamline their patient schedules, freeing them up to take on more complicated in-office procedures.”

2. Speaking in Convoluted Jargon

You know your product so you understand the vernacular of the impressive features. But all that technical talk can make things a little too complex for many and make their eyes glaze over in seconds.

Instead of reciting an endless list of features, opt for a more concise approach that involves explaining how the product or service will benefit them. In essence, point out what’s in it for them.

EXAMPLE: Recently, a client of mine utilized this approach when selling a real-time verification software in a subscription model. Instead of taking the dry approach of what the software does and how it differs from other similar competing software, we focused on how the software can benefit the consumer — by reaching the elusive millennial demographic. In the end, reaching the demographic had more impact than what the software did.

3. Talking a Big Game

It’s easy to hype up claims and say you’re the best and the most reliable and the only ones that can deliver. But in the end of the day, those are all words and most customers are savvy enough to know that’s all talk.

The age-old idiom “show not tell” applies to sales — prove to your potential clients that you are capable of handling their needs by giving specific examples of your work (e.g. data, testimonials, case studies) instead of telling them.

In the end of the day, anyone can make claims about how great their product or service is, but let your client come to those conclusions on their own by giving concrete examples of what you have accomplished.

EXAMPLE: “Company A is an online global community of 4mm baby boomers and their favorite brands. Last year we drove over $3B of tracked incremental  revenue for partners like X, Y and Z.”

Following these three tips can help you customize a customer-friendly interaction with future clients. By efficiently introducing yourself, keeping your language simple, and letting your experience speak for itself, you will be helping clients better understand what you have to offer.

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