How To Approach Cold Calling The Right Way

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Who has the best sales record wins in business, this is nothing new. One of the most effective yet feared methods to achieve your sales goals is the infamous cold calling. Check out these tips that help you overcome your fear and start calling!

Rejection is painful and hard to handle. This is why cold calling is one of the most dreaded activities for sales professionals. No one looks forward to calling someone out of the blue to read off a script only to be yelled at, hung up on, or told that the person they are calling has no interest in what they have to say.

Too often sales reps do not even have a clear idea of what they are going to say when the person on the other line answers the phone. The fear of the unknown is real and a fear that sales people deal with on a daily basis.

These fears and objections are a great obstacle to the sales and marketing efforts of most companies. For us to be able to overcome these obstacles we need to take a whole new approach to cold calling.

Cold calling is not always the right prospecting choice. Depending on what you are selling and to whom you are selling it to, it is usually wise to employ a variety of prospecting methods. Never the less, cold calling is still a popular method and can be highly effective when the correct approach is applied.

Based on a recent study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, on average cold calling has a 6.16% response rate (significantly higher than the response rate for direct mail at 3.4% and email at 0.12%, it is easy to see why cold calling often feels like a scary and daunting task.

Here are a few simple steps to help you turn the feelings of fear and hesitation you have towards cold calling into feelings of excitement and eagerness.

Change Your Perception – Change Your Results

How you perceive the action of cold calling is how you will come off on the other end of the phone to whomever you are calling into. If you are selling a product or a service, you need to be able to believe in the value that it brings to your customers. If you don’t, then you’re selling the wrong product or service and you might want to consider representing a different company.

The following three criteria needs to exist for you to be confident that you are selling something of value:

  • You are selling a product or service that brings real value to your customers and helps them solve an actual need.
  • You are calling an audience that is known to have a need for your solution.

With these two pieces of criteria, it is easy to understand that instead of being a nuisance, you are actually providing those whom you are calling with a great opportunity. You possess a solution for a problem that they likely have.

Remember perception is reality and if you are going into a call with a positive attitude about your job, what you are selling, and why the person you are about to dial needs you, then you will come off as confident, sincere, and enthusiastic – all winning attitudes to bring with you on any sales call.

Lead With the Benefits (The 30-Second Rule)

As many studies and years of experience have taught me, you have about 20-30 seconds to capture someone’s interest before they either hang up on you or come up with a reason why they don’t want to buy or can’t continue speaking with you.

An article published by Heinz Marketing suggests keeping in mind the following point when making that initial cold call, and my experience concludes the same:

Don’t ask how they’re doing.

Avoid the clichés like “How are you today?” or “How’s your day going?” That just makes you sound like every other telemarketer that called them that day or ever. You want to differentiate yourself from the norm with your first few words.

Do ask if they have a moment.

By asking them in a confident manner if they have a moment to speak with you, you demonstrate that you respect their time and do not intend to rudely interrupt something important. This will usually already set you aside from your competition right off the bat because others will usually either start with a cliché or jump right into a script.

Make a statement about benefits and outcomes.

Let them know that what’s in it for them. Why should THEY listen to YOU? Tell them briefly about the benefits that they will get from chatting with you. Let them know that you are calling to benefit them by addressing one or more challenges commonly faced by others like them. If the benefits you present and challenges you mention are important enough to them, then they are more likely to continue the conversation with you.

Ask if they’re the person responsible achieving this outcome.

You don’t want to waste your time and energy pitching the wrong person. That will almost never go anywhere. Find out early on if you are speaking with the right person. If so, then great – continue the conversation. If not, ask them who is and redirect your efforts there.

End The Conversation With Specific Next Steps

Often times sales people conclude calls with vague next step dates and actions because they’re either excited or anxious to get to the end of the call and move on. You must always remember to be specific about precisely when and how you will connect with your prospect next by specifying an exact time and day for a follow-up call or face-to-face meeting. It is also critical to specify any specific actions that either party is responsible for prior to the next conversation.

Try something like this:

“Let’s reconnect again next Tuesday at 2:00 pm. I will call you on your direct line. In the meantime I will have a high-level competitor analysis report that I will bring with me, and you need to provide me with a list of your top 3 competitors by Thursday at noon so that I can work with my team to prepare that report and present it to you next Tuesday.”

Then take it one step further. In the email or meeting invite that you send to your prospect, include the specific activities that each participant is responsible for and the corresponding timelines.

Cold calling is all about being prepared both psychologically and with how you plan on engaging whoever picks up the phone next. With the right attitude and preparation, you can greatly improve the results you get.

Happy selling!



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