In the delicate dance that is the world of sales, it’s probably safe to say that cold calling is one area where sales people and prospects are totally in tune. No one relishes cold calls, whether you’re the initiator or the receiver. But cold calling continues to thrive for one reason: when done right, the tactic can lead to new business.
In fact, a recent survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers by information company DiscoverOrg found that 75 percent had taken an appointment or attended an event based on a cold telephone call or email.
“Clearly, cold calling can work when the caller makes all the right moves,” says Art Sobczak, a sales trainer and author of the Amazon.com best-selling book “Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure and Rejection from Cold Calling.” “Unfortunately, some common mistakes can make cold calling frustrating and fruitless for both the sales person making the call and the prospect receiving it. Cold calling can be productive, smart and even fun, and, most importantly, convert into sales.”
In the free report “The Top 10 Dumb Cold Calling Mistakes that Ensure Failure and Rejection,” Sobczak highlights some of the most useful content from his best-seller.
One sure road to failure is to initiate a cold call without any information on the prospect and company you’re calling. “A lack of personal information shows a lack of interest, and that makes the call feel ‘cold’ to the prospect,” Sobczak says. “You can warm up the call by using search engines, online resources and social media sites to get personal and professional information about a prospect before you make a call.”
With that information, you can use social engineering – speaking with others in a prospect’s company to gain intelligence about the company’s current business status, needs and plans. Having that information allows you to speak to the issues that are of most interest to the prospect.
Another common mistake is treating call screeners like obstacles, rather than viewing them as gateways, or even decision-makers in their own rights. “Assistants and screeners hold the key to the buyer’s door” Sobczak says in his free report. “Treat them like dirt and you have no chance. Instead – pay close attention, here – treat the screener as you would the buyer.”
How you open a phone call is also critical. Never start out a call talking about yourself, your company, your products or service, Sobczak says. Instead, focus on results – both the results your prospect needs and the results you can offer. In fact, your opening should be so interesting and pertinent that it will entice a prospect to call you back if you leave your opening message in a voicemail.
“When you prepare your interest-creating opening, also be prepared to deliver it as your voicemail message,” Sobczak writes in his report. End the message by telling the prospect when you will call back and offering your phone number if he/she wants to reach you sooner.
Finally, Sobczak says, don’t be dissuaded or discouraged by rejection.
“It’s been said that by the time a kid is 10 years old, he or she has heard ‘no’ something like 10,000 times,” he says.
Yet the resistance doesn’t stop the child from asking for the same thing, again and again.
“They don’t say ‘Aww geez, I got a no. I guess I will just get depressed, feel rejected and forget about ever asking for ice cream again.’ ”
Think and act like a child, Sobczak advises, and don’t let rejection derail your efforts.
And the best possible way to handle rejection? “Turn every call into a win,” Sobczak says.
“It’s not that tough. The win could be as minor as keeping the door open for a future contact. It might be leaving someone with a positive impression of your company. It might simply be the satisfaction of learning that this person is not a viable prospect. It’s about your attitude.”
For more insight into sales success, to download a copy of the free report or to order Sobczak’s books, visit smart-calling.com.