Cold calling is an essential part of sales but it is not pleasant for most people. The rate of rejection is high but there are ways of decreasing it. Here are some tips that will improve your cold calling skills.
1. Power Pose
Research has shown that the more testosterone in our bodies, the more powerful we feel and act. We can take advantage of this by power posing, expanding our bodies to take up more space and send dominance signals. This increases the confidence expressed in our tone of voice, increasing the chance of a positive outcome.
2. Schedule Calls
Devote a specific time to cold calling, preferably early morning, 7:30 to 9:15 am or late afternoon, 4:30 to 6:00 pm. Just pick up the phone or headset and start. Do not procrastinate or make excuses.
3. Do Your Research
Before you call a prospect, check the company’s website, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media to see what’s happening in the company and industry. Who are the competitors? Every piece of information helps you build a relationship that could yield great rewards in the future.
4. Don’t Let Fear Win
When you feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes to let yourself feel. Name those negative feelings and breathe into them so they can vanish more quickly. Now focus on an outcome you want. Picture it vividly. Take a piece of paper and list the steps required to achieve that outcome. Now that you are in a better frame of mind, you can redirect your thoughts to the present.
5. Choose the Fuel That Drives You
Choose motivators such as: excellence – you always want to be the best at everything because you love a job well-done; love of family – being a great partner and parent is important to you; love of adventure – you like the excitement your career offers. You enjoy the thrill of closing a deal; creativity – you enjoy the novelty of your job and you are always looking for unique strategies and tools to boost your sales. Reject fear and negativity.
6. Humanize Your Prospects
If you sell to CEOs, business owners or other highly-placed people, don’t be intimidated. There is no special club setting CEOs apart from the rest of us; they still go to the hospital when they get sick. Take the attitude that your product or service could be just what their company needs.
7. Detach From the Outcome
Leave your ego out of the transaction. Don’t become so attached to an outcome that you become depressed or frustrated when your preferred outcome doesn’t materialize. Instead, practice being fully awake to the present.
8. Identify Your Prospect’s Greatest Pain Point
How does your product or service solve your prospects’ problems? What is the greatest challenge they experience when they hire your competitors?
9. Know Their Objections
Most of your prospects will have objections. You will rarely hear a “yes” right away. It is your job to know what your prospects’ objections will be in advance so you can respond in a way that is favourable to your product or service. Make a list of possible objections and your responses. Have it handy next to your sales script when you make your cold calls. If the prospect says your product is too expensive, show how the quality is superior to your competitor’s. If they say they already have someone providing your service, point to areas where you can improve their business. An initial “no” is just a gateway to a “yes”.
10. Get Past Gatekeepers
Learn how to talk to gatekeepers – the receptionists, secretaries, administrative assistants and other staff who have been trained to filter out sales calls. You can get past them and through to your prospect without seeming pushy. For example, present yourself as someone seeking information. Act as if you aren’t sure who you should be speaking to. Request that you be put through to the department you’re seeking. These tactics are particularly useful if you are in the B2B sector.
11. Don’t Sell on Your First Call
Use the research you gathered about prospects to strike up a relationship. Talk about how your product can help with the new project their company is launching or how your product helped their competitor last year. Talk about anything relevant or interesting from the prospect’s viewpoint. Remember, in this initial contact, the prospect does not care at all about your product or its many wonderful attributes.
12. Dress Up
Always dress professionally. Don’t wear your old jeans, even if you are working from home and no one is going to see you. Make sure you look the part so you will feel the part.
13. Get in the Zone
Try to enter a state of flow, where you are deeply immersed in your work and barely conscious of passing time. Avoid the temptation to make two calls then procrastinate by taking a short break and checking your Facebook. Stay focused. Avoid distractions.
14. Learn from Others
Seek out people you know who have succeeded at cold calling. Invite them to lunch or coffee. Learn their methods directly and borrow techniques that will work for you. Gather additional information from blogs, articles and books.
15. Improve Your List
Expect to encounter setbacks with your prospect list. People get transferred to other positions or leave companies or perhaps the individual or company isn’t even part of your target market. Just keep improving your list.
16. Use a Script
Be prepared. Here’s a handy script from Jess Mahoch, CEO & Founder of JPM Sales Partners: “Hi! My name is ____ from ____. We help ____ (your target market) with ____ (the problem you solve; make sure to address emotions). I’m reaching out to you because ____ (this is where it gets personal and specific). I was wondering how I can help you.”
Nezha Boutamine | Contributing Writer