Do you find that you tense up and busy yourself with odds and bobs around the office when you hear that you need to begin cold calling? Are you putting silly notions in your own head that you will not get the deal and therefore you are refraining from cold calling? Let's all take a step back and just breathe! I find that the best way to overcome this fear or negative attitude towards cold calling is to relax and put yourself in a positive space, and most importantly, try to get yourself into a powerful position or powerful mindset. Below are a few tips that have helped me through cold calling, which I am certain will do the same for you. It is important to keep in mind that making a cold call is not just having a person on the receiving end of the telephone listening to all you have to say and to eventually agree with you and buy all that you have to offer. A cold call is an art in itself and by following a few set rules, you can save yourself much frustration, pain and rejection. This must begin with self control and an understanding of how consumers think.
To begin with, attitude is everything! Do not begin the cold call when you are in a bad mood. Always smile before picking up the receiver and the other person will feed off your happiness. When making this telephone call, make sure that you are in the right frame of mind and that you are willing to deal with all the negativity and rejection words: "I am sorry, but the boss is out of the office right now." "The boss is fully booked for the next three months." "Sorry, but the boss has just stepped away from his/her desk." "I am sorry, but the boss has said that you can send a proposal and he will get back to you." Eventually, you hear so many sorry's that collectively, it almost sounds insincere. How would you react to all of these comments? If not for your desire to make your business a success, you would just give up. It may be a good idea to effectively communicate your desires and sell! Make sure that you speak clearly and in a direct and firm manner. It does not matter what industry you are in, you will always notice that you will need to either sell yourself as a brand or sell your product. Both positions require effective and direct communication.
As a response to the above comment, that the boss would prefer to look at a proposal before meeting with you, hypothetically try to consider a rewind of the phone call. As I mentioned, attitude is everything, so always begin your phone call by asking the secretary how she/he is and if she/he is able to assist you. Provide a brief explanation of what it is you do and how you are able to assist the company. Some times the front line staff member will automatically ask you to send an email with your business profile, website address and other important information required for the company to get an idea of what you can provide. Do not forget to ask if there is a chance that you will be able to speak with the owner of the company directly to organize a meeting. This response is more direct and instead of being defeatist, you are creating a relationship with one of the most important people in the company. If the company owner is unavailable, ask if you can call back and speak with him or her at a more convenient time.
It is imperative that you create that initial positive and trusting relationship in order to be able to gain access to the boss. How do you create that aspect of trust and develop your relationships with others? Some make jokes and this can work. However, you need to ensure that if you make a joke, it is not rude, has no racial insults and is not degrading of people in general. Have you tried using this method? did you find that this worked for you? Remember to always be professional and mind your manners!
Mind Your Manners
People have forgotten how important it is to have manners. Being courteous and polite does not mean that you are allowing someone to take advantage of your good nature. Politeness means that you have come from good breeding and that you have respect for yourself and for other human beings. A mere "please" and "thank you", opening a door for someone in need or allowing another person to walk through a door before you, always goes a long way.
If you want something bad enough, you need to have the desire, drive and guts to go and get it for yourself and do not stop trying until you reach your goal! the only person standing between you and your goal is yourself. Stop telling yourself that you "can't". Rather pick yourself up and try your best. The only way you will learn and improve is by making mistakes. Show the front line staff member that you mean business, you are trustworthy and would like to assist the company. Once you create this relationship, the rest becomes easier.
Speaking With The "Big Boss"
At long last, you finally manage to get through to the company owner. What do you say? By now you are slightly shaken, palms sweaty, you have a lump in your throat and are just about to drop the phone and bow your head in shame. No! step back, take a deep breath. It is almost as if you have to prepare yourself not only for the conversation with the front line staff member and the time it takes for you to eventually be transferred to the boss, but also to eventually speak directly to the boss. These calls can create such a whirlwind of emotions, where even after a simple telephone conversation we find ourselves completely shattered or extremely excited. From a communication perspective, both of these extremities can cause us to loose sight of what it that we truly want and how we need to get it.
Of course, we all know that sales can be a very challenging career choice that one is required to constantly work at and to continuously develop relationships and connections with many different people. These connections then provide leverage for you to be able to do business with the larger companies. Do not be hasty, needy, a constant bother, insulting or give any reason for your business connection to not want to have anything to do with you. I am not saying lie down and allow your connection to do as he/she pleases with you. I am saying stand your ground when needed, but be prepared to back away when this is also necessary. It can be tough to gauge, but over time and the more you practice cold calling and relationship building, the easier it will become.
The trick is to always remain calm, know your business inside out and make sure that you have a full understanding of your product and costing. Without these, it becomes very difficult to get the upper hand when cold calling and when you eventually reach the opportunity to have your meeting. Always keep at a fairly even emotional and mental state. Think clearly and know what it that you want out of the meeting.
Michelle is a speech and communication specialist working with companies and individuals in South Africa and internationally.