Cold calling can make even the most experienced salesperson shudder. It’s hard to contact a stranger and convince him or her to buy your product or services. You may feel as if you’re being intrusive, or that your phone calls are a nuisance. Worse, if you’re nervous, your uncertainty might come across to your prospect which does not improve your chances of making a sale.
If you’re anxious about cold calling your leads, you may be making it more difficult than it really is. Your initial call isn’t meant to close a sale. All you have to do is make the right person aware of how your company could be of assistance to him or her and to agree to further contact. These simple tips can help.
Research Your Leads
When you are prospecting leads, make sure to get as much information as you can. Even something like a shared interest in pre-Civil War history or having attended the same graduate school can be used to catch the lead’s attention and make you stand out in his or her mind.
Using First Names
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, using first names actually gets you further than referring to the lead as “Mr. Doe” or “Ms. Smith.” For one thing, when you refer to a lead by his or her last name only, you are broadcasting the fact that you are a stranger. Some executives don’t even return phone calls for “Mr./Ms.” They figure that anyone who has something truly valuable to offer them would at least know their first name.
What Can You Do for Them?
Many sales agents make the mistake of beginning a cold call by reeling off a list of their company’s awards and services. The person on the other end of the phone, however, doesn’t really care about all that. He or she is asking just one question. “What’s in it for me?” If you can identify a problem the lead is having and put your company forward as the solution, your battle is at least half won.
Get to a Small Yes
Asking for a sale on your initial call is as presumptuous as proposing marriage on a first date. Instead, get your prospect to agree to the next logical step, such as agreeing to look over a proposal or allowing you to make a personal visit. If the prospect appears interested, you might also ask some questions used for qualifying leads to make sure that he or she is actually a candidate for what you’re offering.
Don’t Give Up
Unless your prospect tells you not to call again, keep in phone contact with him or her. For instance, if you read something complimentary about your prospect in the local newspaper, call to offer congratulations, or just check in every few months to see if you can be of assistance.
If you absolutely hate cold calling now, you probably won’t ever get to the point where you love doing it. You can, however, easily get to the point where making those cold calls no longer feels quite so intimidating.