In my 8+ years of Sales/Marketing/Business Development experience, I was always asked to make cold calls initially to generate my pipeline and then as time passed, I would be allowed to shift to references and other forms of lead generation. I am sure most of you and many more who still have to make cold calls to prospective clients can relate to this situation.
I am being very honest while saying I hate COLD CALLING! I am ignored, prospects just don’t like me disturbing them at that time of the day, never get through the reception to speak to the right person (I call the Receptionists RUDE ROSIES - just don’t have the time to listen), and worst of these reasons: "We do not entertain SALES Calls!" Whoa! That’s a punch on my face and I want to just place my headset down and make a run out of my office!
Well, I learnt with experience that it was nothing to worry about really. We have all been through this phase. Some couldn’t cope with it and shifted their department altogether and some who did cope still feel the sting on some cold calls on "those bad days"! Let me help you overcome some of these barriers by sharing my experiences in the hope that it would help you someday on some call!
1. Attitude? Check!
Before I call someone, I make sure I prepare a few points in my head as per what my aim is in calling this person and how he/she would benefit from this call and the product/service I have to offer. I start to believe that I have a solution to a possible problem they might have. Convince myself enough that I am SUPERIOR, (Yes, Superior!) than the client I am supposed to talk to. Superior, because, I have chosen this client to help him with his business. I am going to offer them something that will solve an issue they are facing or give them an idea about business they never thought of could work great for them. I am NOT just any SALES person! This attitude helps in some way to overcome the problem in the next point.
2. Getting past the RUDE ROSY! (Receptionists) –
Receptionists do make it difficult for us to reach that right person – the Decision Maker! And sometimes, they just get onto your nerves and not help with anything. I am sure some of you might think it is a dead lead and not try again. I didn’t give up though. I called back and a few things like showing fear of losing business to competitor if they get hands on our product/service first, losing a good deal for the company just because Ms. Rude Rosy didn’t transfer the call to the right person, or a simple, Receptionists would not understand what we want to offer, so the need to speak to someone who would know what I am talking about in their company, are some of the examples of how with a bit more of Attitude, I could make past many of these Rosies!
3. Prepare – Do your homework before you dial that number!
Speaking to the right person and not knowing about who they are, leaves you taking pauses and breaks or just blindly follow a pitch where the person at the other end doesn’t even listen to half of what is said. Prepare before-hand, I say! It helps a lot to know a bit more about a possible lead. Go through their website, Linkedin Profile, know them better, prepare a few points on what could possible grab his/her attention, learn more about their company and services etc. In short, being prepared before a call, gives you that confidence like you know that person a bit more now and can know what NOT to say on the call. The first 30 seconds if you sound knowledgeable enough, you break the ice by using the next method.
4. WIIFM – What’s in it for me?
We all know about WIIFM. What’s In It For Me! Literally speaking, any person would only talk to you to listen to you is when they benefit out of the time they have given you. So instead of trying to tell them about how great your product/service is, why not tell them what benefit the product/service could possibly have on their business? And to tell them that, you need to probe more to let them tell you more about their business first.
5. Listen intently!
You will always be able to pick up one such word – a business offering where the client would pause or re-think or sound doubtful about. If there is a pause or client has to re-think or sounds doubtful, you know that is the area of problem for the client since he isn’t sure if he can speak about this product/service with you. That’s when you know you can offer a solution bundled in a way that can sound like a solution to that problem. I have even gone one step further during this stage and asked them directly about what issues are they currently facing and they have responded with the truth! Just picked that up and had a sale!
*My product/service is definitely going to solve his/her issue
*The issue being resolved, the client would have a better rapport with you, taking into consideration that you aren't just any Salesperson. You are different.
*It helps me achieve my targets
*It helps my company achieve their targets.
All’s well that ends well! A few other techniques would follow in my later posts to help you understand different aspects of this Cold Calling process.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach us at +91- 8097 333 447 for any other topics you would want us to write about! All Comments appreciated!