Cold calling gets a bad rap. I often hear from others that it is outdated, has limited value or not effective. I disagree. While we all prefer qualified leads, cold calling is still a crucial activity in today’s sales process. It is also a characteristic of an elite club of salespeople- the highly successful ones who make six plus figures in income.
After a recent sales training summit offered, I spent time with a sales representative doing cold calling. After about 8 calls in an hour, the representative exclaimed, “I guess we aren’t being really productive, are we?” It was at that moment I realized I had failed him by not explaining the real value of cold calling.
While this list is far from exhaustive, let me share 3 important reasons why cold calling is imperative and critical to being successful in sales.
1. Cold calling fills our funnel with future opportunities. Successful salespeople never lack for leads as they discipline themselves to gain future calls and appointments with target clients. How? Simple. They identify the right clients and then constantly make connections with these people. While there are multiple ways to make contact, the old fashioned way of cold calling by showing up and seeking to meet prospects in person is still a very effective method (and frankly novel given todays’ high tech world).
Need proof? In about an hour with the rep I was coaching, we had gone 8 places, talked to 6 people, and gotten 3 positive responses or contacts of the right person to talk to. Using proper follow up, there is a good chance that 1-2 of these could develop into real sales in the future. I will take those odds every day.
2. Cold calling perfects our pitch and presentation. Struggling salespeople avoid cold calling for a variety of reasons but often it is due to their fear of what to say. That is exactly the point. You should be afraid. You must be prepared. Practice makes us better. Otherwise you will lock up and shut down, stumble over words or better yet say something stupid like, “Do you have any work for me to look at?”.
Cold calling for successful salespeople is a chance to perfect their pitch. They understand that being fast on your feet is one of the competencies that sets them apart. This means the ability to hear a need and know exactly how to discuss a solution and value proposition that brings value to the customer.
With proper research, mastering powerful analysis questions, and knowing your value proposition, you have the opportunity to look credible and build rapport fast with customers.
3. Cold calling makes you resilient. In sales, you have to learn to be mentally tough. It is not a profession for the weak minded. Even the most successful salespeople are being told “No” multiple times a day or week when cold calling. The key in cold calling is to learn to turn rejection into resilience, which is the ability to recover from difficulties or trouble. Continuous cold calling requires you to brush it off when rejected and keep moving to the next prospect. Learn to fail forward as author John Maxwell says in his book with the same title. Don’t be defeated. Use your setbacks as motivation to get better and keep moving.
While selling continues to change and morph, one thing is for sure. Cold calling using a variety of modes including in person calls is still important and critical to your success in sales. Be committed to spending at least 10% of your week or more doing cold calls. By completing 25-50 new contacts per week, I promise your confidence and income will soar.
One more tip to be successful in cold calling. Be ready to warm up every encounter. Know as much as you can about every company or prospect as you can. Memorize your standard value proposition and be ready to use it when needed. Assume every cold call can turn into an appointment, request for proposal or future contract. Always guide your conversation toward this end.
Ready to win this week? Sit down now and block out the times and day you will focus on cold calling. Commit to researching the best prospects to cold call. Get your pitch ready and make your aim to get an appointment with the right decision maker.
Finally, don’t be average. They are still waiting for better leads, better pricing, and a warmer day. Get your coat on. Tackle the cold. And join the ranks of the PRO’s.