Some sales people love the thrill and unpredictability of cold calling, but they’re in the minority. Most of us would rather walk on hot coals than pick up the phone and try to sell something to a stranger.
When you’re in the business of selling and marketing, though, making cold calls is usually a job requirement. If you can’t get out of it, you might as well make the most of it. These simple tips will show you how.
Decide Whom You Need to Call
Make a list of companies that might be interested in what you’re selling. For instance, if you’re in the business of showing people how to kill mosquitoes, you might consider reaching out to parks, playgrounds, outdoor theater groups, outdoor sporting venues and zoos. Think creatively. Perhaps you could sell your product to a travel group or to stores that sell outdoor equipment.
Pick an Objective
Ultimately, of course, you want to make a sale, but this rarely happens on the first phone contact. A more realistic objective might be to set up time for a brief meeting with the prospect so you can demonstrate the use of your products and answer any questions that may come up.
Write a Brief Script
Some people freeze when they get on the phone with a prospect. You can avoid this by outlining some of the key points you want to talk about. Practice your spiel until it sounds like you are speaking naturally rather than reading from notecards. Many prospects are put off by a sales pitch that sounds too rehearsed.
Check Your Mindset
Before you pick up the phone, take an inventory of the thoughts going through your mind. Are you thinking, “Oh, I hate doing this! I don’t like to bother people”? If so, it’s time to reframe the issue.
You are not “bothering” the client at all. In fact, you’re approaching him or her with the solution to a problem. A healthier thought is, “I have a service or a product that can help make this person’s business flourish, and I’m excited to tell her about it.”
Choose the Best Times to Call
Studies show you’re more likely to reach prospects between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. or between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. You’re also more likely to reach the person you are trying to contact if you call him or her on a Wednesday or Thursday.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Selling means getting used to hearing the word “No.” It may take 10, 15, even 20 calls to find a prospect who wants what you have to offer. Try not to let yourself get discouraged by the people who turn you down. Instead of thinking of it as a rejection, you might try telling yourself, “I’m that much closer to the person who will say yes.”
Cold calling may never be your favorite task, but with a little extra practice and a change of mindset, you can get to a place where you no longer dread it.