Cold calling can be quite intimidating for many sales reps….but it is ultimately a process into itself and when done correctly can be quite rewarding.
Fact is that cold calling is your best friend when the chips are down (read- bad economy, loads of competition in the same geography and in the same dwindling niche!)
so here goes…
- Step 1. Research a list of prospects. Before making your calls, research your prospects. Look for prospects who have a similar profile to those who have bought from the past. They’ll be easier to sell. Next to each prospect, note any of your current customers in the prospect’s industry, region, job classification, or anything else that might help you to position your offering. Don’t spend a lot of time on this, just find out enough so that you can pitch using terms that the prospect can understand.
- Step 2. Build your script. Once you know whom you’re going to call, focus on what you’re going to say. Write a brief script (no more than three or four sentences) that introduces who you are, what you do, and what you provide. An effective script asks for the appointment early. Please note that the purpose of the script is NOT to communicate substantive information about your offering. Instead, the purpose of the phone call is to win the right to actually sell to the prospect.
- Step 3. Anticipate objections. Each time one of them materializes, you’ll need to handle them appropriately… and then ask for the appointment. Most objections are common to all sales situations, so you should have little or no trouble listing them out. The trick here is to practice handling objections until the response is automatic. Note: the most important part of handling the objection is asking for the appointment.
- Step 4. Get positive and get calling. Attitude is everything. If your offering has value to the customer, you’re doing the prospect a favor by giving him or her the opportunity to meet with you. Therefore, have confidence in your ability to provide value. That confidence not only helps you communicate more effectively, it provides the motivation that will drive you to actually sit down and start making the cold calls.
- Step 5. Leave a message (if necessary). If you end up in the contact’s voice mail system, don’t despair. Leave a very brief message based upon your calling script. However, rather than setting a time for an appointment, say that you’ll be calling back on a certain date and time, but would appreciate a callback. The next time you call, ask the admin if the contact is in. If not, tell the admin that you’ve been trying to connect with the contact and would like to know when would be a good time to call.
- Step 6. Handle the objections. Once you’ve got the contact on the line, execute the script. Don’t read it! Put it into your own words, with enthusiasm. In almost every case, you will get at least one, and probably more, objections. Since you’ve anticipated these objections, you should respond to them as necessary and then ask for the appointment again. If you receive more than 3 objections, it’s fair to assume that the prospect is not going to meet with you, so thank the prospect and politely end the call.
- Step 7. Repeat the process on a daily basis. if you’re determined to excel, commit to an hour a day attempting to achieve two appointments. If it takes fifteen minutes to get the two appointments, then you can quit early. Practice this regularly and, according to Andrea, you’ll very quickly have a calendar full of qualified prospects.