Nausea, dry mouth, anxiety, sweaty palms, analysis paralysis. These are just a few of the common symptoms of a fear of cold calling. Minutes, hours, days and sometimes weeks tick by as salespeople and small business owners muster up the courage to reach out to potential customers. Meanwhile, potential revenues are lost to someone else. If you are looking to grow your business, cold calling is a necessary first step to sourcing potential clients. Whether you are face to face or on the phone, you must reach out to new potential customers. Never fear—warmer weather is on its way. The following are some recommendations on how you can overcome your fears and see success in cold calling.
A majority of fear associated with cold calling is based upon a fear of failure or rejection. Many salespeople are concerned that they may not say the right thing. As a result, the first rule of thumb when cold calling is to “be prepared.” Being prepared encompasses three steps:
- Do your research by visiting websites, reading company fliers/brochures and reviewing trade publications. By knowing your potential customer, you will already have a head start on identifying potential needs, you will have a greater sense of confidence, and you will demonstrate a genuine interest and understanding.
- Develop a purpose and set goals. Many salespeople try to sell their product/service on their initial cold call. A better purpose might be to simply schedule an appointment. With your purpose in mind, set yourself some realistic goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Build yourself a script that doesn’t sound scripted. A script will provide you with the structure that will instill confidence, help you maintain control and ensure that you do not skip critical information. Review your script frequently and adjust it accordingly to your own personal proven methods.
Now that you are prepared, let’s review a few other pointers that can assist you during your cold calls. First and foremost, it is important that you call with confidence. Confidence is contagious, and people are more likely to engage if you are confident in yourself. Do you want to schedule an appointment with or buy a product from someone who does not sound confident?
Your potential clients probably receive dozens of sales calls weekly from the yellow pages to long distance providers, and they may have an effective “gatekeeper.” The key to bypassing the gatekeeper is to not sound like a sales person, be extremely endearing and find a way to demonstrate that you are the call/visit that the owner/boss does not want to miss.
After reaching the decision maker, it is critical that you focus on the task at hand of setting an appointment. Do not answer questions. The person asking the questions during a call is the one in control and that should be you. By answering your prospects’ questions, the conversation will be effectively derailed and he/she may not have any reason to speak with you in the future.
Don’t give up! You may hear a lot of nos, and you might even experience some irritable people, but the next big appointment/sale may be a call away. The time when you think you can’t handle anymore is the time to make one last call. When things are going well, make sure you ride the wave of success and use your positive vibe to set even more appointments.
Finally, make cold calling a fun experience by creating a competition with yourself, your co-workers or competitors. Make light of your experiences and remember that each unfortunate, uncomfortable experience will only make you that much better on the next call. In conclusion, I would imagine that you’ll also find it fun if you start setting more appointments, closing more sales and making more money. It all begins by picking up the phone or knocking on that first door.
It’s cold enough outside—warm up your business by making some cold calls today. iBi