What if I told you that you could have a meaningful conversation with five qualified prospects over the next two hours? And what if you could do it without leaving your desk? And, even better, what if you could do that everyday? Conversations with five new prospects everyday. What would that mean to your business?
Guess what? You can do that right now. There’s nothing stopping you. The only thing you have to do is pick up the phone and start dialing numbers.
I know, I know – cold calling is dead. Or at least that’s what many of today’s “sales experts” would have you believe. Today we have email, social media, inbound marketing, an abundance of networking opportunities, and many other ways to connect with prospects without having to make the dreaded cold call.
All of those prospecting methods have their merits and I’m not knocking any of them. However, I’d argue that in terms of pure numbers and efficiency, there may not be any more effective prospecting method than cold calling.
Think about it. What other way is there for you to reach out and directly connect with your prospects? You could send emails, but most will go unread. You can post to social media and that may help you build your brand and develop contacts, but it’s likely to substantially impact your results in the immediate future. You can go to a networking event, but again, that’s more about building your contact circle than generating near-term business.
If you need to refill the pipeline quickly, your best bet is to develop a list of qualified prospects and then hit the phones. I know that the thought of cold calling can generate serious anxiety in many salespeople. It’s not a comfortable experience. I get it. Believe me, it’s cold calling is no walk in the park for sales coaches, either.
However, if you can develop a process and put that process to use on a regular basis, cold calling will become less uncomfortable. And there are few things that provide a bigger rush than actually generating a sale from a cold call. After a few successes, you may find cold calling to be a thrilling experience.
Here are a few tips to make it easier and help you find success during your next call session:
Believe in your product or service.
Let’s face it – your prospects have very advanced and acute B.S. detectors. They know when you’re not being sincere. And in sales, there can often be no greater crime than being disingenuous. Insincerity is often the fastest way to lose a prospect’s trust and, subsequently, lose the sale.
You can help yourself by taking some time before your calling session to really analyze your product or service. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Think about their problems and challenges. If you were them, what parts of your service would get you really excited? And what parts of your product would you view unfavorably?
By doing this self-analysis, you can hone in on the strengths of your service and then speak about those with enthusiasm. You can approach your prospect over the phone from a consultative angle. They have a problem. You’re offering a solution to help fix that problem.
Be enthusiastic about your product’s strengths and honest about areas that aren’t strengths. That will help you build trust and will keep them engaged in the conversation.
And what if you can’t find any part of your product or service that you really believe in? Well, that’s a whole other conversation, but suffice it to say that you’re going to have a hard time selling something in which you can’t find value.
Follow the three-minute rule.
Like everything else in sales, cold calling is all about the numbers. You have to accept from the outset that an overwhelming majority of your calls will not result in a sale. In fact, most won’t even result in a live conversation.
That’s okay. What’s more important is that you make enough calls to give yourself opportunity to have good conversations. It’s all about volume. The more calls you make, the more people you’ll talk to, which means you’ll have more chances to sell.
Once you understand that truth, it becomes easy to see how damaging a long conversation can be to your cold calling efforts. Many salespeople get sucked into the “good conversation” trap. They call a prospect and chit-chat with them for 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of the call, they say it was a success because they had a “good conversation.”
Okay….but did the conversation result in anything?
Use the three-minute framework in your cold calling efforts. The first minute should be for exchanging pleasantries and building rapport. The second minute is for you to make your pitch. The third minute and beyond are for you to overcome their objections and get them to make some kind of commitment.
Granted, many calls could go beyond three minutes. You don’t just hang up the phone as soon as you hit the three minute mark. But by using three minutes as a framework, you keep your pitch concise and keep the conversation on track. That will help you make more calls in your allotted time and give you more opportunities for success.
Get them in a “yes” frame of mind.
Think about the last time you bought a new car. Did the salesperson walk you around the vehicle pointing out all of its attractive features? Did you nod your head and agree?
http://tourdusilencelaval.org/LkmhZ/ “Yeah, I like the leather interior.”
moved here “Yes, that is a lot of legroom in the back.”
“Yes, I’m sure my kids will love the back seat video screens.”
There’s a reason why car salespeople do this. They know that it’s easier for you to say yes to the purchase after you’ve already said yes to many other smaller questions. Every time you say yes, you’re reinforcing your own thoughts that you actually like the car.
When you cold call someone, they’re automatically in a “no” mindset. No, they don’t have time to speak with you. No, they’re not interested in hearing about your service. No, now isn’t a good time to chat.
Instead, ask them something that they have to say yes to.
Are you interested in cutting your firm’s printing and document costs?
Do you want to get more qualified leads via your website?
Get them to say yes to something small and then gradually up the ante on your questions. The more they say yes, the more receptive they’ll be to your pitch.
Do you exercise regularly? Have you ever taken a long break from exercising and then started back up? Those first few minutes on the treadmill don’t feel too good, do they? It’s hard to get motivated to go back to the gym after a long break.
Cold calling is no different. You have mental resistance to it because it’s not a part of your normal routine. Just like that first trip to the gym, the first few cold calling sessions are going to feel uncomfortable and awkward. You have to fight through that and keep going.
The more cold calling you do, the more natural it will feel and the more comfortable you will be. Your positive attitude and lack of nerves will be evident in your voice and you’ll conduct your calls with more confidence. That will lead to more successful outcomes.
To be a good cold caller, you have to do it regularly. It’s a skill that requires practice, just like anything else. If you’re really committed to it, then carve out regular blocks of time on your calendar and treat those times as if they’re sacred. Stick to them at all costs. You’ll quickly see improvement in your abilities and your results.
If you’re struggling with your over-the-phone prospecting, let’s talk about it. We can develop a script and rehearse it so you get better results. I’ll point out areas for improvement and coach you on your delivery, your ability to create rapport, and your closing skills.
In fact, I’ll give you the first coaching session at no cost. Schedule a no-cost, no-commitment coaching session today and let’s turn you into a cold-calling, lead-generating machine.
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