Selling is hard, and selling to complete strangers through the phone can be even harder. A lot of people dread the cold calling option and never really give it a go. Truth is, it can be extremely useful, but the lack of a proper cold calling strategy is only going to lead to failure and embarrassment. Nevertheless, cold calling can sometimes be a necessary strategy, and there is a lot you can do to be successful at it.
First off, you need to acknowledge that when cold calling, there’s always a risk the other person will hang up without giving you a chance. Nervousness, fear of rejection, and the lack of a strategy are usually what sets people up for failure. Let’s address these issues, one by one.
Nervousness essentially makes you uncomfortable while calling prospects and, as incredible as it may sound, people on the other end can feel it. If you are going to sell you need to sound confident, so overcoming your nerves is crucial.
Step 1: Write a script
The first thing you should do is to write a script. It will calm you down and help make sure you don’t forget anything that is relevant. Some may argue this will make you sound unnatural, but that is something you can work on. The script should include an intro, your pitch (a problem and your solution) as well as common formalities.
Step 2: A proper environment
You need to make sure there’s a proper environment around you. Cold calling inside of a poorly lit office will make you miserable, and if you are trying to sell people misery you won’t be successful. To fix the problem, experts suggest you should have some light background music and a mirror in your office (as it will give you some much-needed human contact.)
Step 3: Behavior
Stand up and move around instead of staying at your desk. That will help you feel more confident. Moreover, you should smile. If you smile your mind will add sincerity and enthusiasm to your voice.
Practice will make nervousness eventually disappear, as you will soon know exactly what you are doing while calling potential clients.
Overcoming the fear of being rejected
It’s natural to fear rejection, and in some cases the thought of not being able to provide for your family is not enough to overcome it. People can still try, but if they’re scared the potential customer will feel it. Insecurity will lead to failure.
In some cases, no amount of self-talk is going to help. So how do you overcome the problem? It has been suggested that a great way to do so is to have rejection as your goal. That doesn’t mean you should purposefully try to fail, but that instead of trying to achieve a huge degree of success, you should try to achieve a large amount of failures, making success the side dish.
Let me explain: Let’s say you’re selling a specific product in a company and that, on a weekly basis, you need to make at least three sales to keep your job. Before you reach your goal, you will be scared of being rejected and may let your fear influence your work. If you do reach your goal, chances are you are going to wind down and worry about next week. Now let’s say you set your own goal: To be rejected at least 30 times every week. If so, every time you are rejected you will come a little closer to your goal, and every time you sell, you are only going to have to work harder to be where you want to be. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always try your best, on the contrary; it means you should strive to improve every time you get rejected, so the goal becomes harder and harder to reach.
With this strategy, you will soon neglect the fear of being rejected, as the “no” on the other side of the phone is going to be the wind beneath your wings. Failure is part of the path to success – as Michael Jordan puts it:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Defining a strategy
Everything stated above should be part of your strategy, but it doesn’t need to end there. Cold calling is just like any other activity, in a sense that practice makes perfection, and that everyone has their own strategy and routine.
So take everything we discussed above and start making calls. Try out new things you believe might kill the tension and break the ice. Remember that, if you are comfortable, callers will be much more receptive and will allow you to pitch.
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