Cold Calling…The phrase says it all. It strikes fear into the hearts of some and annoyance into the hearts of others. Many business professionals dread their cold calling time. However, many leaders understand it is a tried-and-true way to grow business.
When I began my career, I didn’t realize the role cold calling would play. Fifteen years later, I have had positions where I was the person making the calls, the person receiving the calls and now the person leading people who make the calls. I have learned what an art form simply making a call can be.
There are business professionals who are incredible at cultivating new business contacts and driving revenue for their company. One of the attributes that these professionals usually have in common goes beyond their ability to cold call but is their joy in cold calling. What these professionals know is that cold calling, when most simply put, is making a new connection and asking for that person’s time or consideration. It is a different perspective that takes out the fear of “what if” and replaces it with the excitement of “what if”. They take a mindset of “what if the person on the other side…doesn’t like me, is frustrated that I interrupted their day, hangs up” and they exchange it for a mindset of “what if the person on the other side…needs this product I am sharing with them, has been confused on how to improve their business, doesn’t realize that workflow could be better with the information I have.” When your mind changes from the call being about you to the call being about your customer, everything changes, including your results.
If simply being told to shift your perspective is easier said than done, here are a few tips for making cold calls less painful and more successful.
- Designate time each day that is your appointment to make cold calls on the phone or in person. Consider the business category when setting your time. Often an hour after a business opens or right after lunch can be great times to catch decision makers before they focus on their next project.
- Keep this appointment with yourself if you can help it. Too many times even great business people put off their cold call appointment to manage other tasks. Put an out-of-office reply on your email or phone saying you are at an appointment and will respond later in the afternoon. It will set clear expectations for those needing you and free your mind to make the calls.
- Concentrate on helping who you are speaking with. Listen to their needs so you can develop a business solution that will help them. If your focus is helping potential customers, your sales numbers will not have to be a focus.
- Let business be business. If someone you call is not interested, don’t let it be a personal knock. We should all be passionate about our jobs and strive to be the best but we have to be realistic too. Not every call will be successful and that’s ok.
- Make one more call. When you think you have done all you can do, call or go see one more person that day. You never know if that is the very business that will become your next big client.
Whether you have a career based in sales or not, each of us makes cold calls, likely every week. Ever asked someone for a favor or told a friend about a product that you love? The difference in these examples and a cold call is you have the relationship already established, while cold calling is mixing networking with making a request of someone or a suggestion that could benefit them. Our business relationships earn us the right to be consultants with each other. However, a relationship will never come until you make that first call or attend that next networking event.
If you are in a position where you receive cold calls, I encourage you to invest in truly listening to the person reaching out to you. They could be holding the keys to the next business efficiency for your company, and you will be the smart one who took the time to listen.
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