NEW TO COLD CALLING?
If you’re a new business owner you’ve probably never made a cold call in your life.
Maybe when you started out your customers came through networking with other professionals and/or referrals from trusted friends and associates.
But now that first line of business has dried up you know you need to do something drastic if you are to stay in business.
Your quickest and best option is to prospect for new business over the phone.
Get the right mindset
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself blocked and immobilised by call reluctance.
Call reluctance is real and rampant among new and seasoned business owners.
Before you even think about picking up the phone you must dispel any negative beliefs you have about cold calling.
You don’t want to ruin your chances before you get started.
Your mind is the greatest soap-opera scriptwriter in history and it will probably run through scenarios like …
“People hate cold callers”
“No-one will want to speak with me”
“They’re too busy”
“They’ll just hang up”
You are not a mind reader!
You have to lift yourself out of your funk and stop second guessing yourself.
It’s worth noting that despite the fact that cold calling gets a bum rap, it’s still one of the most popular strategies businesses employ when seeking growth.
You must have self belief
Of course to be successful in anything you need to believe in yourself.
You need to believe that your service offering is of great value.
You must adopt the attitude that you are doing your prospect a favour by calling and giving them valuable information about the benefits you provide.
There is no doubt you will meet with resistance.
It’s par for the course.
Prepare yourself for rejection but don’t expect it.
And when it happens whatever you do, do not take it personally.
If you get rejected, it’s important to know why.
But don’t mull it over for too long.
Just learn from it then dust yourself off, pick up the phone and make your next call.
The best way to get over your disappointment is to take immediate decisive action.
You don’t have to love cold calling
Not many people do.
But feeling neutral about the process is good.
Neutral is a place where you can function.
Another thing to keep in mind is that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no way”.
It may be your prospect needs more information before making an informed decision.
Don’t simply assume you are defeated when you hear “no”.
Find out the reason.
It could be an obstacle you are easily able to overcome.
When you lose an opportunity try to find out why before you end your call.
It will help you to improve your service offering and/or your presentation so you can do better next time.
Create a targeted list
You should have a targeted list of people to call.
If you don’t, you will have to figure out who is most likely to need what you are selling.
You must know who your target market is so you don’t waste your time making contact with people who are not likely to become your customers.
Do your homework.
Make sure before you pick up the phone that you have a list of researched, targeted, and qualified prospects.
This will increase your chances of having a productive conversation with someone who has a need for your service offering.
If you don’t have a contact name or title, don’t be afraid to aim high.
Ring the company and ask for the business owner or the CEO.
Get used to dealing with companies at their highest level.
Odds are if you capture the interest of the business owner you have a very good chance of getting in the door through his or her subordinate.
Prepare a script
When you are starting out you really do need to have a written script.
You must be prepared.
You need a formula to follow, a reference point to return to, in case your conversation wanders off course.
Make sure you write your script in spoken English and make it sound conversational.
Do not read it word for word.
You want to sound natural, at ease.
It’s helpful to write down every single question or objection you think you might hear so you are prepared with a well-considered response.
Add to your list any new ones as you come across them.
Practice makes perfect
It pays to practice.
Read your script through several times then record it.
Play it back to yourself.
Notice the inflection in your voice.
Do you sound bright and friendly?
Do you sound genuine and confident?
Ask a friend or colleague to play devil’s advocate.
Get them to give you a run for your money.
The aim of the game is by the time you get on the phone to play for real you want to have your act together.
You want to sound spontaneous and conversational.