Cold calls are kind of a funny thing. They really get a bum rap in the sales world. The reason for this though is not because of their effectiveness, but more because they are so feared.
This lead us to ask, why are cold calls so feared? One of the reasons is because of our fear of rejection. Doesn't the fear of rejection almost seem like an oxymoron. Isn't it a saleperson's job to interact with people and expect "X" number of rejections? So why do we fear rejection so much? Well, in sales all you need to do to say your a salesperson is pretty much say "I'm in Sales" or "I'm a salesman". So most sales people are unqualified to be in sales, but because no one else at the company wants to do it, we allow mediocre sales staff to stick around since they at least try to sell.
Over the years, I have tried a lot of things to generate more sales including Cold Calls. Although I have had some mild success with cold calling, I never stuck with it. This is mostly because I too sucked at sales and didn't like rejection. Recently though I realized part of the reason Cold Calls suck, is because I did not have a strong sales system in place to support the cold call practice. For example, in the past, we would just call random companies. The mere thought of this still give me the chills.
Then I read Cold Calling Techniques that Really Work! by Stephan Schiffman. These techniques did really work to some degree. The problem though is the book teaches you good cold calling techniques, it doesn't teach you how to engage the prospect in a way that they want to meet with you. It is still a good read and I do use some of these techniques on a regular basis. This book however has not help me conquer the underlying issues like fear of rejection.
Ok, now fast forward a few more years. Again, we have started cold calling. And now what we realize is that we have a better understanding of the underlying issues tied with cold calling. You know, things like Fear of Rejection, Need for Approval, Unsupportive Buy Cycle, and Self-Limiting Beliefs among several others. So once a sales team or person understands these issues, they can be worked on and overcome. Then you need to define your target market and have a system to generate qualified leads of these people- an inbound marketing website works very well at this.
Once you have overcome the underlying issues and have qualified lead in your pipeline, the next step is getting the ball rolling and keeping it rolling. To do this it helps if you understand the best way to interact and engage the prospects you are calling. The goal is to have a conversation with the prospect in a way that they feel this is a "conversation", not that they are being "sold".
The old adage is true everyone likes to buy,
but no one likes to be sold.
So by having a conversation that the prospect enjoys and set you up as an expert in your industry without you actually coming out and saying that warms up the cold call. This type of calling actually starts to become enjoyable and easy for both the salesperson and the prospect. Think about it, how much more successful will a salesperson be if they are not fearing making calls, but actually enjoy them. Do you think the level of confidence will come across in the call? Of course it will. This will build success and a better closing ratio. Which will build a more willingness to do cold calls.
Ok, so at this point you are probably wondering…
How do we learn these type skills?
Is there a book we can read, a class we can take? Well, yes and no. Here is the deal you can read the solid sales book called Baseline Selling, one of my latest reads. This is a great book, but not something I would be able to apply to my business in a timely manner since we are all too busy and overworked, right? A strong salesperson on the other-hand may be able to apply these techniques but most will struggle overcoming the underlying issues alone.
So, what other option do we have? Well, I would recommend talking to the authors organization Kurlan & Associates. These guys are top-notch and do a great job at evaluating your sales staff, training and educating the staff they recommend you keep, help you drop the staff that will not ever become solid salespeople and also hire new sales staff as well (I think).
If you implement their easy to use and understand sales methodology, the chills created by the thought of cold calling will become a thing of the past. Your sales team will start making big improvements in the first month, but in as little as three months you will be kicking yourself for not starting the program sooner. If you would like to learn more, just reach out to me and I can make an introduction to you, or feel free to reach out to them directly.
Good luck and happy calling!