Cold calling is NOT easy, trust me I know it.
I’ve spent over 10 years making cold calls and training cold callers. I know, it’s a little ironic as I’m now a social selling trainer, but social media hasn’t actually been around that long in the B2B arena.
Last year whilst leading a sales team of 100 salespeople making 100-200+ cold calls each day, I did some research. I wanted to know what seperated those that were successful at cold calls and those that weren’t.
I listened to hundreds of cold calls across that year. Some were AMAZING! Others, well those around me would have seen me physically squirm whilst listening to them.
I wanted to find the number one reason that made people SUCK at cold calling.
Ok saying they suck at cold calling may be harsh, but I wanted to find out what was the biggest difference between those generating good numbers from cold calling and those who were unable to generate good numbers. What is the the main reason?
Funnily enough I actualy found several!
Now there was ONE that really stood out, but first let me show you some of the other reasons people struggle to succeed with cold calling:
5) Lack of confidence
One of the biggest killers of success in cold calling is lack of confidence. Salespeople either feel bad for interupting someone, they don’t know what they want to actually get on the call, they’re scared of using the phone or they’re not confident in the product they are selling.
In sales, if you’re not confident how do you expect to install confidence in your prospect?! Especially on the phone, you need to be 100% confident in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. When I listened and watched salespeople cold calling I noticed that the ones who generated results made those calls with total confidence. Their body language showed confidence, they spoke with confidence and they sold with confidence.
4) Too much distraction
I know this one first hand, when I made cold calls I would need to be in the zone. Often the first cold call is the hardest, once you’ve made a few and you’re in the flow it becomes a lot easier and you gain momentum. I used to set key time zones where I would cold call and do nothing else in that time, nor let anything else distract me.
Those that were easily distracted, or looking for distraction, struggled to generate results. You can hear it when you listen to it, you can see it when they make the calls. They’re busy talking to people around them, looking for any opportunity to take a break, make a drink, send an email or look at social media (not for work reasons!).
3) No plan, script or guide
Now there’s been a few great conversations about whether scripts are good for sales or not. Personally I have always wanted to speak naturally, and not from a script, however I have seen how when done right, scripts can have a hugely positive impact on sales results.
Where cold callers struggle is when they don’t have a plan, a guide or a script to guide the call. If they’re not sure what they want to achieve, or what they need to say, often the cold call falls apart. The best cold callers know that they want to find as many opportunities to progress the call, whether that’s to an email or meeting or quote. They know what they need to ask, what needs to be covered and what they want to achieve.
2) Too much talking, not enough listening
This was very close to being the number one reason. I can’t tell you how many cold calls that I listened to where the prospect was TRYING to talk to the sales person, they were trying to help show the salesperson what their problems were and almost lay out why they could be the perfect prospect. Instead the salesperson just kept talking, talking over them, not actually listening to what they were saying and talking at them.
The most successful cold callers were brilliant “active” listeners. They asked the right questions and then actually listened to the answers. All of that information gave the salesperson the right opportunity to be able to sell successfully or qualify out the prospect.
Now we are ready to look at the number one reason that I found people struggle to generate results on cold calls.
This reason, in my experience and opinion, is the biggest barrier that seperates the successful from the unsuccessful in cold calling.
The #1 reason people suck at making cold calls….
1) Not overcoming enough objections
Each cold call will have a number of objections and challenges that stand between the sales person and the sale. Those that are successful at cold calls are able to overcome more of them, it’s that simple. A lot of salespeople unfortunately fall down early and miss opportunities to win sales.
Where I saw salespeople give up on a call cold, I saw others push past, push further and often win opportunities. I’ll give you a REAL example of this. One of my top cold callers was given an objection on price, the prospect had found the exact same product for a significant cheaper price (£200 instead of £2,000).
I saw a large majority of my weaker cold callers face this objection daily, often falling at this hurdle and then complaining to me that our product was too expensive. This salesperson however, didn’t give up.
They asked more questions, what was this product? What did it include? Who was it provided by? After listening to the answers they were able to identify that the product wasn’t actually comparable and it wouldn’t solve the problem they were looking to solve. Within the space of a few minutes they were able to overcome that objection and then close that sale with ease.
By overcoming JUST ONE objection, an objection that most salespeople were giving up at, they closed a sale.
If you want to generate more opportunities from cold calling, build up your confidence, avoid distractions, know what you want from the call, listen more and overcome more objections!
What are your best cold calling tips?
Please add them into the comments box below, I’d love this article and all the comments to help as many salespeople as possible!
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About the author:
With over 250 sales blogs written over the last couple of years, Daniel has become a source of knowledge, motivation, entertainment and inspiration for salespeople all around the world. Daniel is the Founder & Owner of The Daily Sales, the most popular page on LinkedIn for salespeople! With an audience of over 300,000+ and growing by thousands each week, his content reaches salespeople far and wide.
Daniel now speaks at events around the world and delivers his hugely popular 1-day Social Selling Masterclass whilst on his mission to help all sales professionals and sales teams leverage social to its full potential.
For more information on Daniel speaking at your event or bringing in the Social Selling Masterclass to your sales team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.