If you’re anything like the majority of people that I meet, then cold-calling is one of the things that you hate to do most. I’m not going to lie to you either, I hate cold-calling myself. It is a messy art form–but a very useful art form–in the sense that it’s one of most proven and effective ways of getting new business. These are some useful tips on how to not only get the most out of each call that you place, but also good habits to practice when you start to get into it regularly:
1. Realize that the worst thing that they can say is….No. : Okay, maybe not the worst, because from first-hand experience I can tell you that people will say some things that you didn’t even think were possible to come up with. However, they’re still just telling you “no”, which is what you thought they would say to you before you called anyways, right? That’s where the anxiety comes from. Just remember, every single time you hear “no”, you are another “no” closer to hearing “yes”. The law of averages will eventually reward you for taking a bunch of chances, where it’s said that approximately 2 out of 72 people will respond positively. Focus on weeding out the 70 people not interested so that you can get to work on the 2 people that need you!
2. Get up and get moving: I’m serious….Dead serious. It actually works. The theory is that by sitting down, you’re a little too relaxed and it’s easy to get too comfortable. When you’re cold-calling, your main objective is to get people on the other line just as excited as you are about it. Stand up, walk around if you have to, look at a different section of the room you’re in to avoid monotony, and you’ll just sound better overall.
3. Throw away the script: What? Did you just say throw away the script? Yes, I did. When I was at my first “corporate job” and had to cold call, I would read from my hand-crafted scripts that I would change every day to try to make them better. What I ended up realizing was, I kept changing the script around for nothing because it was all in my delivery. What I did was I studied our product and learned specifics that our bosses didn’t even know, rehearsed my script and instantly I was averaging at least 3 sales a day.
4. Prepare for the objections: Sounds pretty obvious and it should be a no-brainer, but if you’re a business owner and have to come up with them yourself, it’s pretty tricky. It involves looking at all the faults that your business has and finding a way to minimize these shortcomings as much as possible. With typical call-centers, they usually have something prepared for you. What should you do? Ask someone you know will be honest with you about your business. Then, play devil’s advocate with yourself and find a way to turn those negatives into positives.
5. Get past the pesky secretary: If you’ve ever done B2B (Business to Business) outbound calls, then you first hand how often you get a secretary that just will not put you through. They do an excellent job of providing a filter for quality control, but that’s why you have to let that resonate through the phone. Here’s a tip: Write a personal letter or email to the owner or manager you are trying to get a hold of before you call. In the letter, state somewhere that, “You can expect a call from me on [day you intend to call them] at [time you intend to call them]. The owner or manager is now expecting a call from you, so when you get a hold of the secretary, you politely state, “Yes, this is [your name] and I am calling for [owner or manager’s name]. He/She is expecting a call from me.” Not only will you get through to who you’re trying to get a hold of a majority of the time, but it’s a great ice breaker when you finally get a hold of the owner or manager. It should sound a little something like this: “Hi there [their name], this is [your name]; I had sent you a letter/email saying I would give you a call, so I’m glad I got a hold of you here”.