Cold calling is one of the most effective methods of prospecting currently available to sales people right now. I’ve often seen sales people spend way too long drafting emails or writing inappropriate blogs when the quickest way is to just pick up the phone!
Whilst you may only convert a small percentage of calls into live opportunities it is by far the most reliable and measurable prospecting tool out there.
The problem is that A LOT of sales people are scared of making cold calls.
In this post I’m going to provide the top tips to help you or your team overcome fear of cold calling and start using it as the effective sales tool it can be!
Is it wrong to be scared of cold calling?
Is it really hard to understand why someone might be scared of cold calling? I mean you’re phoning someone you’ve never spoken too, they’ve never heard of you, you’re interrupting their day and you’re just going to try and sell them something!
Think about when you were growing up. You were taught that interrupting people was rude and not to talk to strangers. Suddenly you have to do this and somehow create sales opportunities!
Whilst there are plenty of resources available to sales people now including social media, email, video and instant message, for a lot of your target prospects cold calling will still be the most effective method of getting hold of them.
So how can you overcome fear of cold calling?
Just like any fear it is quite easy to overcome. Whilst I haven’t managed to overcome my irrational fear of spiders just yet I have been able to help lots of sales people overcome their fear of the phones and help them become cold calling champions. Here are my top tips:
1) Don’t Feel Bad
As I mentioned above a lot of sales people feel bad that they’re interrupting someones day to try and sell to them. One of the most important keys to feeling comfortable on the phone is not feel bad for making the call. If you feel uncomfortable you’ll come across uncomfortable which in turn will make your prospect feel uncomfortable. Take 5 minutes before starting your calls and remember why you’re making them. You’re trying to help people.
2) Have A Script/Notes
For some people scripts are the best way to help guide them through the call and make sure they cover all key areas. Others will be better at free styling it but may prefer to have some notes covering key points to discuss. Having some form of guide in front of you will help you if you lose your way and be
3) Walk Around
This may not be possible for everyone but if you have the opportunity to, get out of your desk and walk around. Your posture will help you talk clearly and by walking around you can be more engaging on the phone.
4) Be Prepared
Have notes on your product, notes on overcoming common objections, notes on your prospect or industry, the more preparation you have the better you’ll feel going into the call. Have your note pad and/or CRM ready to take notes or ready to refer back to any previous notes. Have a drink at hand and anything else that will ensure you are ready to rock the phone.
5) Ask Questions
Don’t worry about trying to cram as much information in the phone call hoping it will miraculously be of interest to the customer. The best cold calls are ones that ask lots of questions and involve the potential buyer. By asking questions you’re taking the pressure of yourself and giving the prospect the opportunity to talk and be listened to.
6) Know Your Desired Outcome
So many sales people fail to work towards a desired outcome. They’re too busy worrying about the call or stressing over trying to win the business they lose focus of what the actually want to achieve. If you’re looking to get contact details, make sure your call is focused on that. If you’re trying to book a meeting, make that the focus point. This will help you avoid wasting yours or their time and feel more confident on the phone.
7) Value YOUR time
It’s easy when fearing cold calling to worry about wasting peoples time, but flip it around and start to put more value on your time. You are the key to helping them save money or becoming more efficient/effective so your time is valuable to them. Don’t fear wasting time but see it as an investment.
8) Be Happy!
One of the single greatest cold calling tips of all time is quite simply “Smile and Dial”! Be happy and enjoy making your calls and your customers enjoy them more as well! Would you rather have miserable phoning you or someone happy?!
9) Lead By Example
Whether you’re leading a team or just part of a team, lead by example and help show people that it’s a positive experience making cold calls. This is more important for sales managers, if you’re trying to teach or coach people to cold call the most effective way is to pick up the phone yourself and SHOW them. We have a lot of sales people scared of cold calling but we also have a lot of sales manager afraid to pick up the phone as well. You can’t keep talking about how good you were at cold calling 10-20+ years ago, if you really want to help them you need to show them.
10) Practice Makes Perfect
My final tip is practice makes perfect. Each cold call takes you one step further, teaches you more and will make you more confident. The more calls you make, the more confident you’ll get. Yes you’ll make mistakes and the majority of calls won’t be successful, but each call you make gets you one step closer to someone who WILL want to buy from you.