cold calling

Coldplay

It strikes fear into the hearts of the most seasoned sales pros. It can be ulcer inducing. It causes those horrid nightmares over and over again. It gives you shaky hands complete with clammy palms. What is it? No, not a hangover…it’s Cold Calling. It can give you an enormous leg-up on the competition, yet nobody in their right mind actually enjoys it.
So why do it? Well, the benefits are numerous; it gives sales reps a chance to sell in a pro-active mode instead of waiting for leads or referrals to contact them; if your competition isn’t cold calling then you’ll get to uncover opportunities first and limit the impact of competitors; and it will strengthen your skills in overcoming objections like nothing else can. So if it’s such a solid tool, why does it make everyone wince at the mere mention of it? Because it’s human nature to take people’s negative reactions personally. Once you can get over that and really believe that it is not personal, the world is your oyster. So how do you do that? Here are some ideas;

  • Reality check- Remind yourself, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’. The thought of having someone reject you is much worse than the reality of it.
  • Role play- Practice with a co-worker. This will help you cultivate different responses to different objections. Keep practicing until your voice sounds natural and you are not scrambling to figure out how to respond to various questions and objections.
  • Top 10 list- When preparing to pick up that phone, have a list next to you of the 10 or so most common questions and objections, along with your response. The more prepared you feel, the less threatening the person on the other end of the phone seems to be.
  • Do your homework- This is the single most important thing you can do to arm yourself for cold call battle. Research the company or contact person before you call so that when your target tells you they don’t need your product, you will be able to tell them why they do. You can impress even the crankiest of targets by simply knowing what you’re talking about with regard to the business you’re approaching for a sale.
  • Multiple contacts- When all you’re doing is cold calling, each call can feel overwhelmingly oppressive. To take the dread out of those calls, make them just one component of a contact campaign. E-mail, snail mail or fax the contacts you are also calling upon. By making contact through multiple avenues, it takes the pressure out of the phone calls. Multiple contacts are best done in concert; make a call then follow up with an e-mail. Mail a letter then follow up 3 days later with a call. Keeping the contact attempts tightly grouped will be more likely to get their attention and get them talking to you.