6 Tips to Make You Love (or at Least Tolerate) Cold Calling
No sales, no business! It's as simple as that, and even though we know that rule, many of us just find it too difficult to pick up the phone and dial.
Why? because nobody really likes rejection, and certainly not constant, repeated rejection. Which is what can happen on a bad sales day: It can take up to eight attempts before you even get to speak to a prospect, and that can cause you to give up.
That's why the majority of people fail at sales -- not because they're not good enough, but because they're not persistent enough.
Sales is a numbers game. It would be great to pick up the phone just once and make a sale, but that is a rarity, as less than 2 percent of sales happen on the first call.
So, that's the challenge. According to the statistics, 80 percent of sales occur after the fourth sales conversation; yet 92 percent of people give up on or before that fourth conversation. And that's too bad because sales is about tenacity, the willingness to push on through the "no's," the "I'm not sure's," to get to that fifth conversation and put yourself in position to make the sale.
It's a struggle I know only too well. But here are six simple tips that I learned that will help put you into the right mindset to conquer your sales fears, doubts and loathing so you can close more deals
1. Make sure you are speaking to the right person.
Sales is a numbers game, but we can reduce the rejections we receive by making sure we are speaking to someone for whom our offer is both relevant and resonant. It's better to spend 15 minutes making sure you have the right prospect than to call just anyone. Rejections are so demotivating; even with the right person you will feel that way. But with the wrong person, you are truly setting yourself up for failure.
2. Have the right goal.
If 80 percent of sales happen on or after the fifth goal, then we need to make sure we have the right goal for our calls. Clearly, the first four calls are not about making sales; they are about keeping the conversation going and getting potential clients to the fifth conversation, where our chance of making the sale is significantly higher.
I found that having the right goal took away the pressure I felt, leaving me more relaxed, which itself helps create better outcomes. You also take the pressure off the prospect: The reason is that he or she doesn't have to give an immediate "no," which then allows the conversation to flow, and gives both of you both opportunity to get better acquainted.
When we have the right goal, even a no can be a success, because it gets us motivated to come back and try again.
3. Make sure you have the right message.
Sales is not about selling products; it's about offering solutions. To do that, be sure that your sales message highlights the benefit that you bring. The message needs to both resonate and be relevant, even intriguing, to a potential client. When you have the right client and the right message, your chances of getting to the next stage increase significantly.
When I started out, I'd call and say I was a Top 100 Leadership Expert and was inquiring about speaking opportunities. I thought this was a great pitch: I was sure there would be interest from my prospect in hearing from a "top expert" but in fact nobody saw leadership as their issue.
I was much more successful when I changed the conversation to solutions. I particularly remember asking if an Atlanta-based company would be interested in hearing about my FAST success framework, which was excellent for driving change programs. The prospect was interested, given that the company was struggling with a large change program itself, so my call had a come at a great time.
People want solutions, not products or services, so make sure your message highlights that.
Related: Why Do You Need to Cold Call?
4. Review and refine your message.
Comedians and professional speakers are constantly reviewing their material, checking what works and what doesn't. They are brutal about it. They want to know what gets the right response from their audience, what creates a connection and generates engagement. When even an individual word doesn't work, it's cut or replaced.
It's great to have a script but you constantly assess it and improve it, always looking to increase your conversion rate. Sales is a process. Like any process, to be improved it needs to be assessed, reviewed and refined.
5. Use tools to increase the number of conversations.
It normally takes, on average, eight calls to get to a conversation with a potential client, so each call which ends with the wrong person or a voicemail is wasted effort, and that reality can help increase your frustration and reduce your confidence.
That's why you should consider using tools. There are several out that there that can help you maximize the amount of time you spend selling versus dialing.
6. Be persistent and consistent.
With 80 percent of sales happening after the fifth call, sales is all about being persistent and consistent. It's great to have the gift of the gab or to be able to charm the birds from the tree, but it's the drive to call and call again that differentiates success from failure.
The money is in the follow-up. Amazingly, 48 percent of sale people never follow up at all, let alone make five calls. Then they wonder why they're not finding success.
When you increase your confidence in the sales process you will have more conversations and convert more cold calls into warm leads, which will then lead to more sales.