One of my sales training clients in Vancouver feels his Salespeople are not making the necessary commitment to cold calling. I have yet to witness a Sales Team that honestly claimed they exceeded their company’s expectations and were experts at reaching out to start new buying relationships. Stop procrastinating and start making cold calling one of your great strengths with these Five Steps.
No Salesperson or Sales Manager would disagree with me. Cold calling is the toughest, most painful, elusive and necessary action of all Salespeople. We spend more time procrastinating and excusing ourselves from cold calling than actually doing it.
Why is that?
Most of us have never learned how to become proficient at cold calling. We muddle our way through it and get little results from our efforts. With the pain versus reward balance tipping greatly to the former, we consciously convince ourselves to focus on other important areas of the sales process and move cold calling to next week’s activity list.
Use these Five Steps to turn your challenge into your strength
Many years ago, I sold life insurance door to door. When I started, I had no client list, no established customers and was handed a residential map with the borders on my territory clearly marked. I was given some great sales training and had no choice but to learn, grow and adapt. Those three years gave me great experience in cold calling that followed me in every Sales and Management position. More importantly, it taught me character and how to never take rejection personally. Here’s what I learned.
#1 – Get the right attitude
When someone says no, they are actually saying that they are not interested in what you have to offer at this time. They may be abrupt, curt and even rude. Never take this rejection personally. They are pushing you away because they didn’t ask or engage you for your services. From their personal experience, they have to be firm to get rid of you. Think about it. How do you react when someone you don’t know solicits you? Move on, shove off and take a hike – I’m not interested. That’s how we all react.
Change your perception by asking yourself these questions
- Do you believe in your product or service?
- Do you believe in your ability to offer your customers knowledge and expertise?
- Do your existing clients place great value on the areas mentioned above?
Then why are you depriving new customers of the experience of dealing with you? New potential customers say no to opportunities that they haven’t yet explored. The basis of all great decisions is knowledge and education. That’s what Professional Salespeople offer – the access to great information that forms the basis for all great decisions. Change your perception and you will alter your reality.
#2 – Create a Cold Calling Action Plan with a Schedule and Target
Set an Action Plan to achieve cold calling results. Winging it is not what Professional Salespeople do. They have a strategy, target and schedule.
Schedule – Set a weekly schedule for cold-calling. Decide on the best days, times and determined duration for cold calling. Book these as appointments in your calendar. Keep your commitments. Book client appointments or meetings with your Sales Manager around them. Self-discipline is the most crucial attribute in mastering cold calling.
Target – Set a specific number of weekly appointments that you wish to book with new potential clients. Ensure you don’t book them too far out, as that will give decision makers time to find a reason to refuse the appointment or no-show. Write these tentative appointments in your calendar as “New Call #1, New Call #2, etc.” Keep cold-calling until you have filled the appointments with the names of decision makers and the companies they represent. Self-accountability is the second most critical ingredient to cold calling success.
#3 – Create your own unique personal script and practise it
This is where I here many of you saying “scripts don’t work, they sound artificial and rehearsed.” They most certainly can. Nothing is worse than listening-to-a-Salesperson-read-a-script-word-for-word-like-a-robot. Your goal is write a series of scripts that come from your personality and style of communication.
Ensure that they contain a VBR – Valid Business Reason from the customer’s perspective, not yours. Once you have them written, internalize them and make them yours by practising them in a mirror or recording them on your smartphone. If you think that’s silly, understand that all performers like athletes, actors and musicians practise consistently. Why should you be any different? Listen to the recording. Relax and adjust the words. They need to sound like something you would actually say.
#4 – Measure your results
Knowing your appointment schedule for cold calling and first meetings with new clients, you must track your results to be able to improve them. All of your efforts will come down to this metric of measurement – How many calls do you have to make to book the necessary targets of new appointments you want? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
#5 – Modify your results
Once you have established this routine for a few weeks, you will get a keen sense of your current results. This gives you the opportunity for modification to improve your numbers and efficiency. Spend the most amount of time in adjusting your script when addressing new customers. You will have your “aha moments” when you suddenly create a new way of responding to an objection. You will book an appointment because of your improved confidence, abilities and consistent adaption to situations as they develop.
What usually happens
Unfortunately, too many Professional Salespeople make these cold calling mistakes.
- Inconsistency and Lack of Disciplined Structure – No Action Plan or Strategy.
- Lack of Preparation – Picking up the phone or walking into a business improvising or winging-it.
- No Method of measurement – No monitored results to be able improve upon.
- Necessity – Due to attrition, we go into panic prospecting mode and expect immediate results.
Using these five steps to master cold calling has given many Salespeople tangible results that add to their confidence, depth of account list and increased their sales volumes.
Isn’t it time to make a commitment?
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Thank for reading!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
PROSALESGUY TRAINING offers Keynote speaking, Group Sales Training, Individual Sales Training, Sales Management Mentoring and Consultation, and Business Consulting Services in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Training can be done on site or via web conferencing.