Community Futures Meridian

Box 2167, 125 - 1st Avenue East, Kindersley, SK - Phone: (306) 463-1850

Embrace the Cold

  • June 4, 2019
  • Written by Meridian Admin

 

Almost everyone hates, or maybe it’s fairer to say dislikes cold calling even though it’s recognized as a necessary strategy to increase business. But what if you could discover a way to change cold calling to warm calling? The wonderful thing about cold calling is that, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Cold calling is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.” Sure, you may get rejected but you might also land the biggest deal of your life.

There’s no doubt, cold calling, or outbound marketing, is still a valid sales technique. The two main challenges are: people don't like to do it, and when they do the success ratio is low. The question is why?

Why do people fear cold calling?

A fear of rejection accompanied by a feeling of embarrassment that they will come across as a pushy salesperson is the main reason. When we think of cold calling we think of annoying, sometimes sleazy, tele sales people calling us at dinnertime. Our immediate gut reaction is to expect them to be unprofessional, pushy, scripted - our first emotion is one of dislike. And, we don’t want that to be us, do we?

Rejection - it’s all in the numbers

Salespeople are generally optimists, but there is a difference between being optimistic and delusional when it comes to recognizing how difficult it is to get someone to buy what you are selling. Rejection is an integral part of selling - there is no way even the best salesperson could expect to call fifty prospects and sell to every one of them (interestingly, the average sales development rep makes 52 calls per day). The majority, in one way or another, will end in rejection. It’s all a numbers game.

What’s the biggest myth of cold calling?

That your objective is to get a sale; it may be your long-term goal, but it’s not your objective. If you see the objective of a cold call as starting to build a relationship with a prospect, rather than making a sale, you will feel a lot less pressure.

Cold calling and gatekeepers

When making a cold call, it’s not always clear if the person you are talking to is in fact the buyer, or decision maker, they may be a ‘gatekeeper’ someone who ‘guards’ the person you need to connect with. In this case your immediate objective is to discover who has the power to buy. Second, you need to sell yourself to the gatekeeper so that they become your supporter, even your coach, someone who can tell you who’s the right person to talk to and how to reach them. Rather than try to get around the gatekeeper, recruit them. Never underestimate the power of these people, they often have the power to recommend a buyer meet with you.

When is a cold call not a cold call?

When you’ve warmed it up! The biggest challenge with a cold call is simply you are approaching a stranger and expecting them, at some point, to give you money. Remember, cold calling doesn’t have to be random calling; when you are building your prospect list don’t forget to ask everyone you know for referrals, there’s nothing more powerful than being able to say, “Jen suggested I call you, she thought you might be interested in …” And, don’t forget the six degrees of separation; LinkedIn is an amazing resource for finding someone in your wider network who knows the person you are cold calling and could make a referral.

How important are first impressions in cold calling?

In spite of the earlier comment about tele-sales people being annoying, occasionally you come across one that you actually warm to - something they say, or a certain warmth in their voice stops you from immediately putting the phone down. These people aren’t rigidly following a script, or maybe they really believe in the product or service they are selling—whatever, you feel that they may have your best interests at heart. The result is you listen to them. In no other form of selling is a first impression as important as in cold-calling by telephone - and nowhere is it tougher.

Whether you are cold calling by telephone, or in person, remember it is far harder to close down someone who is smiling (yes, smiles do transmit along phone lines), pleasant, and showing interest in you personally than someone who obviously just wants to get straight to a sales pitch. Your personality can be an asset or a liability, it’s up to you - you have approximately 10 seconds to warm up that cold call by making a positive first impression.