“Cold calling. “
Ooooooooh. Did you hear that? It was the sound of terror as it shivered down the spines of countless sales people nationwide. The very mention of the term can frighten even the most courageous of the daring souls involved in sales. Here are five cold calling tips to help you overcome the stigma and improve sales performance and effectiveness when it comes to the infamous cold call.
(1) Do your homework.
Calling through the phone book is awfully 1985—not to mention depressing. Zero in on your target audience with a bit of careful research. Figure out what group(s) you want to talk to, and then figure out which subgroups make most sense for you to contact. Do a bit of legwork to figure out who to reach within your target organizations. The leads might be cold but they don’t have to be frozen.
(2) Tailor your opening pitch.
None of this introducing-yourself-with-a-fifteen-minute-infomercial-monologue business. Instead of saying the same line or two in the same tone and at the same pace, tailor your pitch to each potential client. Mention something from their website, offer a sincere compliment, or jump right into a relevant offer. Whatever you do, be kind to whoever answers the phone and any gatekeepers you bump into along the way. A bit of friendliness early on is not only kind, but it can also benefit you later in the sales process. A simple but sincere “Can you point me in the right direction?” or “Do you know who I would talk to about this?” can get your foot in a door that may otherwise be permanently closed to you.
(3) Shake off rejection.
The best salespeople in the world know not to take rejection personally, and this is especially true when cold-calling. Will you hear “no” a lot? Yes. (Except that time.) Embrace the fact that rejection is just part of the gig and that, to paraphrase Babe Ruth, each strike out brings you closer to the next home run.
(4) Put the pedal to the metal.
This means sit down, get on the phone, and make the calls. Don’t get up every two minutes. Resist the temptation to check your email every 60 seconds. Put your cell phone away and just go for it. Short-term goals can help keep motivations high. For example, “In 20 more calls, I can enjoy this delicious tic tac,” or, “If I stay in my seat until I finish this list, I can take a lap around the office before I start the next page.” Come up with small ways to keep you in your seat and in the zone for extended periods of time.
(5) Take intentional breaks.
Cold-calling can be draining, so use your breaks to renew yourself and get pumped up, rather than letting the process suck the life out of your team. This means that breaks should be full of whatever may motivate your group, such as ping-pong, trash-can basketball, delicious snacks, or scratch-and-sniff stickers (just kidding. Kind of.). Keep the enthusiasm level reasonably high so you return to your desk re-focused, but not so high that you bombard potential clients when they answer the phone.
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