By STACIA SKINNER

This Guest Business Owners’ Blog, written by Stacia Skinner, originally appeared in the Creative Training Solutions newsletter.  For more on small business selling techniques, contact Stacia at 847-577-4115.

 

Recently, there has been quite a bit of chatter on social media and in articles declaring, “Cold calling is dead!” But is it? I think it is more like 99% of salespeople don’t like to make cold calls rather than cold calling being dead. Cold calling could never be dead!

Maybe it depends on your definition of a “cold call.”

A colleague I respect from the sales training industry recently said something that I agree with 100%. He stated: “These declarations of death usually come from people who FEAR cold calling, STINK (a different word was used — use your imagination) at cold calling, or both.”

Most of us think of a cold call as walking up to the door of a company we have never done business with, approaching the receptionist, and asking the infamous question: “Can you tell me the name of the person in charge of. . .?”

That is one form of cold calling, but that is not what the majority of successful sales people do. A more realistic definition of a cold call is: A call (either on the phone or face-to-face) to someone you have never spoken with before, with a specific objective. For most of us, the objective is to set an appointment to talk further.

So a cold call can be a variety of things. It can be a call to a name on a list; a referral; a new contact within an existing customer; a dormant account, or a prospect in a new territory that you are taking over. It can also be a walk-in to an organization.

There is an art to successful cold calling, but there is also a process to it. Here are five tips to refine your cold calling process:

  1. Have your list ready.

The day before, make sure you have the company names, contact names and phone numbers of those you want to call.  Mix it up a bit by making calls to those who have never done business with your company, accounts that have become dormant and referrals. This way, you can go down your list without procrastinating, and you’ll have some variety.

  1. Schedule time in your calendar each and every day to do these types of calls.

I know you have heard this before, but I’m not asking you to block out several hours at a time – just to schedule 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon. You should be able to knock out anywhere between 10 and 15 calls in that amount of time.

  1. Be specific with your objective for the call and stick to it!

This is where scripting can help you. For a cold call, remember, you are doing interruptive marketing. The person you are calling is not waiting for your call. Instead of trying to get into a long dialog, respect their time and ask for an appointment in the future (on the phone or face-to-face) so they can be prepared. Remember:  “How is Tuesday at 2:00?” Note: For more tips on scripting, contact us at www.cts-solutions.net.

  1. Don’t get discouraged when you get a “No.”

At the same time, don’t stop making calls when you get a “Yes.” Remember, we are in the business of getting “No’s.” We have to get the “No” in order to find our “Yes.” It is the law of ratios. Make sure you get your “No” ratio. When you get your “Yes,” don’t stop! You are on a high and sound more positive on the phone, so make a couple of more dials and capitalize on that happy mood!

  1. Be prepared for the negative responses you will hear.

You know the most common negative responses you get when you call. Make a list of those you hear and learn how to turn them around to your benefit. Realize the first response is a “knee-jerk” reaction and not the real reason someone will not meet or talk with you. You need to keep going to the second or third negative response to find out the real reason they are saying “No.” Note: For more tips on becoming a master of Turnarounds, contact us at www.cts-solutions.net.

In sales, we cannot stay in business without growing the business; cold calling can be a critical part of accomplishing that goal. Use your art as a salesperson, but also put a process to it in order to gain great results. Let’s just pick up the phones!

 

Creative Training Solutions Ltd. www.cts-solutions.net. stacia@cts-solutions.net. Read her e-book, Sell Now!, available on Amazon.

 

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