Cold calling is telephoning a prospective customer with whom you have had no prior contact in an attempt to sell your products or services. Done right, it is a highly effective method of business development, but even seasoned salespeople can shrivel with fear at the thought of picking up the telephone. At Network Scientific, we have lived through the fear of the first few cold calls and come out the other side. Read on for our top tips on how to survive the gauntlet of cold calling.
Being motivated is key to making your cold calls count. The person on the other end of the phone line is more likely to engage in a conversation with you if you are upbeat and positive.. Push out any negative feelings and focus on what you want to achieve from the call. Visualise yourself with a highly successful sales record and understand that cold calling can get you there; but be realistic, it is going to take time and it’s going to take effort. Understand what motivates you and use it. Give yourself a little reward for every twenty calls, or for every lead.
One of the main reasons people are reluctant to pick up the phone is fear of rejection or failure, a quick way to minimise these doubts is to be prepared. Think about those times you have walked into an exam and you know you have done enough revision. You will probably still be a little nervous, but you will probably be able to control those nerves. Conversely, if you know you haven’t adequately prepared you will be painfully aware that the most likely outcome is failure, and this will massively increase your stress levels.
You need to have a deep understanding of the product or service you are selling. This will enable you to not only speak about the benefits your product/service can deliver but also align those benefits to the unique requirements of the prospect. Changing your pitch on the fly in this manner is only possible if you know the product/service, and how it can relate to different markets, inside out. There is unfortunately no substitute for doing your homework.
Make sure that you are comfortable with your pitch and tone before you make the call. Your initial focus should be on the problems you can solve or the benefits you can deliver. Leading with features alone is likely to leave the prospect wondering why they are taking the time to speak with you. Avoid call scripts, they make the prospect feel like they are talking to a recording but do prepare a list of the salient points you would like to get across. Even highly-experiences telemarketing people use these and having that safety need can really help to calm your phone fear.
Objection handling is key when conducting sales calls, think of any obvious objections you might come across before you call and plan out how you intend to handle them to ease rejection nerves. Remain mindful that even with the best preparation prospects can sometimes throw you a curve ball. Be prepared to think on your feet.
Change the way you think
One of the mistakes a lot of salespeople make is thinking that by making a cold call they are being a nuisance. However, if you have done some research on the company that you are calling and established a potential need for your product or service then your call can really add value to your prospect’s day. Indeed, it is possible that you may be able to solve a problem so fundamental to your prospect that they will view your call as vitally important. Treat the call as an opportunity to work with the prospect to either solve their problems or grown their business and you will become more confident in picking up the phone.
Listen to your colleagues
If you work in an office with people around you who are also making cold calls, make sure to listen to them and take notes. Write down what is working for them or phrases that you might like to incorporate into your own pitch. It is important to make use of all the resources around you and leveraging on the abilities of more experienced colleagues can be a real confidence boost.
Get comfortable with rejection
The vast majority of calls you make are not going to go the way you want them to. Prospects will be in meetings, will be too busy to speak or will just not be interested right now. This is the reality of cold calling and it can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow. You will need to develop a thick skin, don’t take rejection personally and don’t let it knock your confidence. Even the real high-flyers hear ‘no’ more often than they hear ‘yes’. Learn from the refusals but don’t let them eat you up. Instead, refine your pitch and make the next call!
Make it fun!
You are more likely to want to do something if you set clear goals and celebrate your successes. Here in the office we have a bell that we ring when we get a lead from a sales call, the whole team joins in and we all cheer when someone rings it. If you aren’t in an office where you can celebrate with your teammates, make sure to reward yourself when you succeed with something fun!