Warm Up to Cold Calling

Most business people hate cold calling. Why is that? Primarily it is fear. Fear of rejection. Or maybe fear that you will be perceived as being aggressive or pushy on the phone. Or just that you are uncomfortable interrupting someone during their busy day. Whatever the issue is, I highly encourage you to get past these uncomfortable feelings. I know this is easier said than done but try to take a more positive spin on why cold calling can be a win-win situation.  Stop thinking about yourself and think about it from the prospects perspective.  Whatever your business is, your product or service will either make someone very happy (think new car, clothes, food) or fix a problem that has been creating a certain amount of pain for somebody (think saving someone money, or fixing their broken computer). So why wouldn’t you want to get on the phone and try to either make someone happy or remove their pain? Either way, you are trying to help someone.  And when you help someone you make them a very happy and/or satisfied customer . . . and close a sale for yourself . . . thereby creating a win-win situation.

So with “helping someone” as your primary reason to pick up the phone, here are some tips to help you become more successful at making cold calls:

Target the right people. You should know the characteristics of your ideal client.  It could be their geography, type of business, their gender, or their age. Whatever they are list out the characteristics and be sure those are the people you are calling because they are the ones most likely to buy from you.

Establish your goal. Your goal for your call is not to sell them over the phone. Your goal should be to determine if they are in need of your product or service and would it make sense to have a further conversation about how you might be able to help. Get an agreement to meet them. Nothing more than that.

Create a script. You can’t wing it here. You need to know what to say and more importantly what questions to ask. If you don’t have a script you will most certainly miss something. I don’t expect you to read it verbatim but at least have an outline on how the call should proceed.

Have a conversation. This isn’t about you just talking about all the features and benefits of your product or service. Don’t talk at people, talk with them. It’s about having a conversation to see whether it makes sense to take the next step. 

Practice. Invest in a digital recorder and record yourself. Ask a colleague to role-play with you on the phone. Just like everything else the more you practice the better you will become.

Be honest, professional and to the point. Don’t ask people “how are you today.” Do you really care? You don’t even know them so don’t try to sound caring.  Just state the reason for your call and get down to business.

Track your stats. You should know how many dials it takes to get to someone and have a conversation, and how many of those conversations turn to appointments, and how many appointments turn to sales. Know your numbers and then try to improve on them.

Now that you are armed with these tips I’m sure you are just chomping at the bit to pick up that phone and make some calls. No? Not really? Well, don’t feel alone. All of us at some point felt like the phone receiver weighed 50 pounds and we couldn’t pick it up to make the call. But once you make the first call the second one becomes easier and so will every call after that.  It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone. And the more calls you make the more comfortable you will become. And, not to mention, the more money you will make.