Cold calling is not as daunting as many believe, particularly if you embed one mindset and get comfortable with one technique.
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Very few salespeople actually enjoy cold calling.
In fact, if there is one activity that salespeople and consultants shy away from more than any other, it’s cold calling.
One of the false truths regarding cold calling is that it rarely bears fruit. This is only true if cold calling is handled poorly.
The second false truth is that buyers hate it when you cold-call them. Again, if your cold calling techniques are poor, then that would be true.
So, these false truths instill fear, and fear reduces the amount we actually cold call, and all of this contributes to embedding poor technique and the wrong mindset!
Cold calling gets a bad rap!
The most frequent cold calling mistake I see, especially with start-up consultants, is that they focus the conversation on their own organization, product or service: “We have a new product that I’d like to come in and talk to you about.”
Why would a buyer take the meeting? Because you would like to tell her about your about your great product?
No wonder cold calling gets a bad rap!
Make no mistake: cold calling, done well, brings results!
Most seasoned sales professionals will confirm this. If you were to do one new deal per year as a result of cold calling, would you see the benefit? How about one per quarter? Per month?
If you improve your cold calling technique, you’ll most likely improve your sales skills in numerous areas, as well – from handling objections, to presenting new ideas, to asking customer-focused questioning.
And like any skill, if you improve your cold calling technique, you’ll feel more inclined to actually do it, and so, a virtual cycle can be sparked.
So how do you improve your cold calling?
While there are many tips and tricks out there, I believe that effective cold calling is a result of one mindset and one technique.
When you plan a cold call (or why not an hour or two of cold-calls?) tell yourself that your mission is not to push product. It’s not to get a deal.
Instead, tell yourself that you’re in business to really help people, that your raison d’être, your mission, is to help people. And you want to help them so much that you’ll go to great lengths to do so… yes, even cold calling!
And herein lies the mindset. If you’re going to help customers, you should be thinking of their challenges, their needs, their desires, first.
Once your are absolutely convinced of this, you can then focus on one technique during the cold-call itself.
Focus the content of your conversation on the prospect’s challenges.
This signals that you care about her business. The buyer can determine if a specific challenge exists and if it merits the time to meet with you.
Indeed, this is not going to work every time, because not all buyers will have such a challenge that they need to address. But it will work more often. It’s that simple.
The buyer will initially be more predisposed to addressing their challenges than hearing about your product.
So try this.
After quickly introducing yourself and how you help customers, tell the prospect you’d like to learn more about their challenges, to see if there’s an area where you could help them.
“Hi, Ms. Jones. I’m (Happy Helper) at (Helpful Company). We’ve helped companies similar to yours improve their (Important Processes) by up to 20%. I was wondering if Your Company might be facing similar challenges.”
If the prospect responds negatively, you will most likely have the possibility to ask one more question. “May I ask what issues you might be currently facing in this area?”
If the prospect responds somewhat positively, you can say, “Perhaps it would be helpful if I come in for 15 minutes to learn more about your challenges in this area, and then, if you wish, I can give you a bit more detail on how we approach them.”
Certainly hear the prospect out if they start going in to any detail.
The ensuing conversation
What to do after that will vary, and so the list of best practices is a long one.
Essentially, you’ll want to get a face-to-face meeting with the buyer, provided that this is a person who can make or influence a purchasing decision, and provided the individual or organization truly has a need that you can address.
You may be able to ask for a referral to someone else in the organization. You may want to do a lot of things.
But the key is to enable yourself to get deeper conversations from cold calls.
Keep this mindset top-of-mind: It’s about helping customers with their challenges, not telling them about your product.
Then focus the conversation there — on the prospective customer’s challenges.
Don’t be dismayed if you don’t get an appointment in the first call. Instead, pat yourself on the back for getting over this hurdle and realizing that you are no worse off for trying. (You’re still breathing, right?)
Focus on your own continual improvement, as well as on the prize. Soon you will have more business, through more happy customers.
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I help sales teams improve their performance by putting the “love” into the sales process. The tools and techniques vary, but the mindset is simply a heart-set.
Let’s talk about love and sales. Contact me here and let’s set up a call.
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Photo by Alon