For anyone who knows me well, they already know that I have made over 5,000 cold calls in my sales career, which means I have made 5,000 phone calls to complete strangers.
“How did you do it?” This is always the first question people ask about cold calling.
Nowadays, there are many strategies to encourage buyers to contact us, such as social media. But, as entrepreneurs, we all know that there will be a point of time that we will need to contact complete strangers to solicit business, ask for publicity or even funding. In fact, I would say that cold calling with confidence is the first skill any salespeople or entrepreneurs should master.
For anyone who dreads it, here are 8 practical hacks to help you overcome the fear of cold calling.
Get the right attitude
The reason people hate cold calling is that they feel like they’re bothering someone else’s day. When I was doing my phone calls, I often felt that there must be something more important for the person to be doing than listening to me. I must be bothering that person’s day.
It is all about your attitude. You are proposing an important, lifelong solution to your prospect’s business. You are making an important impact on your prospect. If for some reason, your proposition is not attractive enough to your prospect, it’s not personal. There are many reasons why your client is saying ‘no’ to you. So tell yourself that when the clients say no – it’s not personal.
Melinda’s Tip #1: Imagine you are a waitress in a coffee shop, serving coffees to your customers. Would you be upset when your customer simply said ‘no, I don’t need another cup of coffee?’ Or would you simply turn around and offer your pot of coffee to the next customer? Think about this when you’re making your next call. You are simply offering a solution. If your client says ‘no’, it’s not personal. It is simply not needed at this moment.
Listen to negative thoughts.
“This is never going to work.”
“People are not going to even talk to me.”
“People hate being bothered over the phone.”
“There must be a better way to succeed.”
Let’s face it, it’s always easier to call friends or family than to call a stranger. And that is why people hate cold calling. The moment right before we cold call a prospect, there are already many negative voices telling you that it is never going to work. Guess what? You will never know whether cold calling works until you have made enough of them. So, acknowledge that it is natural to have these negative voices.
Melinda’s Tip #2: Write down all your negative thoughts about cold calling. Tell yourself that you will not recognize these voices until you have made X number of calls. Now you know that the negative thoughts exist, but you will not acknowledge them until you have done the cold calling.
Be realistic: Take small steps
If you are just starting to prospect, try to be realistic with your goals. Instead of thinking ‘I will make 100 cold calls this week,’ think instead ‘I will make 15 cold calls today to reach my prospects’. I made over 5,000 cold calls. That number sounds extremely high. But, it is only 4 calls per day over a course of 5 years.
Making cold calls is like maintaining physical health. You are more likely to succeed and maintain the momentum when you are realistic with what you can do.
Melinda’s Tip #3: Break down your activities into small bits. If you want to make 50 calls in a week, then break them down to 10 calls a day or even 5 calls each time.
Manage your time
We are always busy with so many different things, in business and in life. That’s why it is very tempting to work on other business priorities, rather than cold calling our prospects. Before we know it, we have not called our prospects over a period of time and our sales have suffered because of this.
Melinda’s Tip #4: Use your business calendar and block off the time to cold call. Are you a morning person or an evening person? Find a time when you are most energized and motivated to call your prospects. You are more likely to stick to your goals.
Would to send emails to your prospects instead? Download my ultimate “Non-Salesy” B2B Sales Email Templates. Click here to download.
Know your numbers
Instead of simply saying ‘I would like to call some prospects,’ set an achievable number of calls you would like to make and celebrate when you reach your numbers. For example, if you want to reach a sales target of 10K per month, how many clients would you need? How many prospects would you need to contact to close X number of clients? How many calls would you need to make to be able to speak with Y number of prospects? Once you know these figures, you can break down the number of calls into small blocks.
Melinda’s Tip #5: How many cold calls do you need to succeed? Look at your sales goals and determine the number of calls you need to make to reach your targets. Then break down the numbers into small blocks and focus on reaching those small milestones. Use simple Excel sheets to track down the number of calls you made and the number of prospects who agreed to take the next action. You will be able to find out your number after two weeks of calling your prospects.
Practice with a script
Having a script can be extremely useful, especially when you are just starting to sell. It is a simple guide to help you plan your call better because you don’t want to be thinking about what to say during the call. So, think about the following questions when preparing a script:
- Who is my target?
- What is my urgent value proposition?
- What is my next call to action?
Most likely your prospect is not going to say yes to your first proposition. Do you have a Plan B? Maybe offer to send some materials to your prospect? Maybe mention your upcoming webinar that your prospect might find useful? Always be ready to have your next call to action when your client says ‘no’ to your first proposition.
Once you have a good script, repeat it until you feel comfortable with it. Always be ready to modify your script until it really suits your own style and be ready to improve the scripts over time.
Melinda’s Tip #6: Create a phone script with an urgent value proposition. Need some ideas for the scripts? Download my 14-page word-for-word sales scripts to help you sell to big clients.
Role-playing is an underused strategy when it comes to improving your chances of success in sales. Every single entrepreneur should have someone to practice their sales pitch with. Practicing your call with someone will help you feel more and more comfortable with your script. It is also a great opportunity to get valuable feedback.
If possible, work with a sales trainer to refine your sales script. Or, simply ask your friends or family to listen to role play with you.
Hack #7: Are you ready to role play and improve on your sales skills? Set up a 30–minute appointment with me. Let’s review your call script and find a proposition that attracts instant attention from your potential clients.
Supercharge your confidence right before the calls
Sometimes all we need is just a little boost of confidence right before the call. When I was cold calling, I would often have a 15 minute down time right before making my sales calls. For instance, I would have a little piece of chocolate and a cup of tea to get myself mentally ready to make some calls. So, find a routine that comforts you and gives you confidence right before you make the call.
Melinda’s Tip #8: Call your favorite clients and ask them how they are doing right before calling your other prospects. Speaking with your existing clients could give you a boost of confidence, get you ready to call more prospects and help to achieve the desired outcome.
In the end – just do it. I have really appreciated all the cold calls I have made over the years. Because of them, I have now gained the confidence to call anyone. The experience has allowed me to prospect in different countries and different industries. Mastering the art of sales is like learning how to play the piano. Regardless of the number of theories you learn, you just need to sit down and play. Practice, practice, practice.
Are you ready to call your prospect? Just go for it and let me know how it goes.
To your BIG success,