You will no longer dread the dreaded cold call after you read this column several hundred thousand times.
There is a fear and dislike many salespeople have when it comes to cold calling. John Whittington at the Lake Norman SalesMasters® club mentioned that he had a big fear of being thrown out of a company when making a cold call. It was suggested to him that his strategy should be to only cold call on one-story buildings.
There is a lot of hoopla about call reluctance. Fear of cold calling. Baloney!
If you have trouble with cold calls, it's usually for one of the following reasons:
- Lack of preparedness on the part of the salesperson
- The "not wanting to be rejected" syndrome
and the big one…
- Poor training
You must prepare yourself psychologically — it may take as many as 10 no's before you get a yes. Big deal — it's a sales call, not nuclear physics.
Defining Cold Calling is simple — it's not a dictionary definition — like "calling someone you don't know in the hopes of selling them something." Rather, cold calling is a process that encompasses concepts, techniques and rules, that if followed, will lead to appointments and sales.
There are two types of cold calls: in person and on the phone. While the in-person call has more power and flexibility, the telephone is a more productive use of your time. The rules and guidelines presented here are applicable to either type of cold call.
Cold calling becomes much simpler when you understand the fundamental rules:
- State your purpose quickly — within 15 seconds.
- Get the prospect interested.
- Ask questions that make them think.
- Make them respond in a way that determines their interest level.
- Make them respond in a way that determines how qualified they are.
- Make statements that build rapport and confidence.
- Make them laugh.
- Be sincere.
- Keep your eye on the prize — never lose sight of your objective no matter where the call goes.
- Maintain control of the call.
How can you accomplish this as often as possible?
Follow the Boy Scout Motto…Be Prepared:
- Have your materials ready.
- Know your objective and the purpose of your call before you start- to appoint, to inform, to question, to talk to a certain person, to sell.
- Set minimum and maximum goals for each cold call.
- Have a script memorized.
- Develop appropriate, interest generating opening lines.
- Select likely target prospects. The closer you can get to your target audience, the more likely your call will bear fruit.
Hate cold calls? Many salespeople make the cold calls easier by turning them into "warm" calls. They do this by:
- Pre-calling someone other than the prospect to get information about the prospect or the prospect's company.
- Sending an email with some information.
If you don't want to cold call, figure a way to make it a warm call.
When you follow-up call after an email it better not be,"Did you get my email?"
Try this instead…"I sent you some information on Monday about our computer software and how it can be put to use by your accounting department, but it's not totally self-explanatory. I'd like to have about ten minutes to show you how it's working in businesses like yours, and to explain why I believe it will work effectively in your accounting environment."
Prospect says, "How much does this cost?"
You say, "Oh, I don't charge to make a sales call."
HUMOR — Make me laugh and you can make me buy!
More food for thought — cold cuts about cold calls:
- It's an attitude and a numbers game…If you see enough people and you have the right attitude, (and you're prepared) you will succeed.
- Get ready for the fact that you won't make a sale every time — big deal, so what.
- Know your 'no' factor to get to your 'yes' factor. If you can get an appointment in seven tries, begin to count the no's so you'll know how soon it will be until you get to yes.
Cold Calling is an attitude and a numbers game…If you see enough people and you have the right attitude, (and you're prepared) you will succeed.
Try this — start thanking people for telling you no. Tell them that they're helping you get one step closer to yes. Tell them how much you appreciate it. Ask them if they know anyone else that might not be interested, because you still need three more no's before someone says yes. Tell them you need people to tell you no, because it helps you get to the yes quicker. It'll blow them away.
Cold calling is an acquired skill. You acquire it by practicing and being prepared. Want to get better at cold calling? Easy: Make more cold calls.
The biggest, most important rule of cold calling is… Have fun! It's a game — play to win.
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