In the 20+ years I have been advising CEOs, presidents and business owners, it’s been unusual to find a business person who enjoys making cold calls. Most would rather go to the dentist than to pick up the phone and cold call.
To define: A cold call is when you contact someone by phone or in person that you don’t know with the intention of introducing yourself. The goal is to get a future appointment to discuss how you can be of value to their business with your product or service.
If you ask your sales force to start cold calling businesses you will usually get serious resistance. Salespeople often spend a great deal of time selling you or the sales manager reasons why they can’t make these calls rather than studying sales prospecting techniques that will be helpful in calling upon potential new business.
When hiring, always seek potential candidates that are comfortable talking – and selling – on the phone as well as in person.
In the current business economy you can’t sit back and wait for customers or clients to come to you. You and the sales team need to be assertive, and at times, perhaps even aggressive yet still professional. Otherwise, the competition will seize upon the opportunity to take business away from your company.
You’ll read articles saying cold calling isn’t effective any more in business. That’s not true. It depends upon your business. How best to reach your potential customers.
Is your company on social media? Are your salespeople conducting daily social selling on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? If so, do they have online social business conversations that move offline and involve calling a potential customer?
Here are two tips to help you and any member of your sales department make more effective cold calls:
1) Ask yourself: Why am I making this call?
If you’re making the call because you want to sell something that may actually be one of the reasons you are finding resistance to this activity. You need to make the cold call for the greater good.
You’re calling because you have something of value to offer, a product or a service, that will help other businesspeople or companies be more efficient, more profitable. In a few words, tell the prospect how your product or service can be of benefit. What the unique point of difference is to doing business with you.
The call has to be about the prospect and what you can do for them. It’s not about you or your company. If the call subliminally gives the impression of: Hello, my name is Howard and I am calling you because I want something from you and I need your money. The call will quickly end and in fact, you may get hung up on by the prospect!
2) To eliminate the anxiety of cold calling remember you are not trying to force anything on anyone. Selling is not about exerting your personal or business goals over someone. It’s about educating customers as to how you can be of value to them. You’re exchanging the value you are offering them for the money they will pay you.
Remember the purpose of the first call is to introduce yourself and to get an appointment. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you and most won’t, be polite, be professional and move on to the next call.
Once you determine how many calls you need to make to get an appointment you’ll know how many calls you need to make every day to get the number of appointments and sales you need.
- The number of dials it takes to talk with a target prospect; the decision maker.
- The number of people you talk with to get an appointment.
- The number of appointments to get a sale.
You can actually work it out to a mathematical equation something like this, for example:
100 phone calls = 5 appointments. 5 appointments = 1 sale
(These are not real numbers. You will develop your own equation based on your unique business.)
If you work your phone calls as a mathematical equation you will know how many dials, how many appointments you need to get the sales volume you’re looking for per week, per month, per quarter, per year.
Remember: Business is about people. What you sell are relationships to help other people be MORE successful. In turn, you and your company will be MORE successful.
To your success!
Ready to improve sales and grow your business? Talk with Howard! – 888-738-1855 – Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress.