How to overcome the fear of cold calling


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A sales training course focused on overcoming the fear of business-to-business cold calling and increasing results by boosting lead generation activity

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  • Cold calling, or tele-marketing to give it it’s correct name, is about generating interest and not about winning the sale. You are at the very start of the sales process.
  • You are being proactive about starting a relationship. In terms of one’s love life, you can sit at home and watch TV wishing you had more friends or even someone special in your life – or you can get out there and start talking to people. It might feel a bit uncomfortable at first but you soon get used to it and when you get some success you forget about all the ones that went before!
  • So you have decided to get out there and start meeting people. You want a date but you have to start chatting to people first! Things begin from there. So when you are calling people it’s like you are chatting them up and nothing more. So your in a bar and you start chatting to people and some are pleased to speak to you, some will ignore you and occasionally someone will be rude. When you are doing it you are just hoping this one will be successful rather than worrying about what the other people are going to say. Provided you have something that will make a big impact on your ideal clients then think about how there are people out there wanting to speak to people like you – you can wait for them to find you or you can go and find them and start a conversation.
  • This is the Mnemonic for the various things that will each individually help to improve confidence and collectively make a massive impact in confidence.
  • The biggest thing to help boost confidence in cold calling is to ensure you know who you are calling and why they are going to want to speak to you. It’s about research and targeting people who have a more than fighting chance of needing your help. For example, if there is some new legislation that impacts a certain industry and you have a service that can make a difference then you will seek to base a campaign around that angle. The point is that when you know you have something specific that the person you are calling will want to hear about, your will feel more confident. It is worth putting in the effort.
  • A big reason for people’s lack of confidence when making calls is that there is no clear outcome for the call or unrealistic expectations. The chances are that the person at the other end will be very busy and rather than making the outcome getting them to agree to a face-to-face meeting, perhaps a better outcome would be to get agreement to a 10 minute telephone conversation. From there you can see if there is a good fit and the outcome for that call would be to either get a face-to-face meeting or remove that that particular prospect from your list. A much shorter list of qualified prospects is actually a good step forward
  • Another thing that adds confidence is activity and if you track your activity you will remind yourself that you are getting somewhere, especially when you have the occasional bad call. One trick you can do is to set yourself a target number of calls for a session and then count down until you get to zero. For example, you decide you are going to make 10 calls and then have a break. You write down the number 10 and then make a dial. No matter what the result you cross out the number and write 9. Say to yourself that you only have 9 calls left to make. Each call you make the remaining task seem easier and easier
  • The language you use when calling will make a big difference on how people respond to your call. The bad news is that pushy sales people have trained people in companies that such activity is going to be a waste of time and slightly annoying. So if you sound the same and use similar words then they will assume you are going to be just as annoying and just as much a waste of time. The good news is that if you sound like a normal person rather than a sales person you get treated in a totally different way. Companies develop a kind of sales radar and your job is to fly below the radar by not sounding like a normal sales person. Words like “Interested in” and “follow up” will immediately flag you up as a sales person and the shutters will come down. And if you sound upbeat and like a confident sales person the same will happen. Bizarrely, sounding mono-tone and slightly down beat or at least level toned works so much better. So the point about language is to be sure you sound like a regular person rather than a sales person and the more you get treated well the more confident you will feel.
  • There are two things you have to be ready for with a cold call. The first is the introduction and the other is what they say in response to your introduction Having a well rehearsed introduction will give a big boost to confidence. You need an introduction and response to both the receptionist and the person you are trying to reach and possibly even gatekeepers if calling large companies With the introduction if is worth really working on finding the right words and fine tuning them. There are lots of different opinions about this and people will typically teach you what has worked for them and their clients. The truth is that as long as it is respectful and relevant you will get a response and as long as you do enough of it then you will get results. You can get eve better results but that will come from fine tuning. I donot believe on one-size-fits-all and it should all be part of the groundword.
  • So you have made your introduction and what happens next is they say something in response. Whilst you can have a standard introduction the prospect give you a response which may seem unpredictable. That’s not true…it is very predictable… If you make enough calls you will find that you probably never get more than 10 types of response and we can pretty much guess what they will be in advance. So for example, “ I am busy at the moment, can you call back”; or “ We do not have any budget”; or “ We are happy with our current supplier”; or “ Can you send me some information” etc etc What we need to boost confidence is to list these out, come up with a script for suitable replies and then practice them so much that you do not need the script.
  • OK now the last part of the GO FLIRT formula for boosting confidence is down to timing and this is really about expectations. If you are thinking that the people on your list are waiting there for you to call then you will, unfortunately be disappointed. We all have busy lives including the people you are calling – so timing is important. They may be in the middle of something or away from their desk. The time may be wrong now but right later. Keeping this in mind and continuing on an ongoing basis will boost your confidence because it then becomes more of a case of when rather than if. You may even have an initial conversation with the person and agree not to meet at this point but as long as you start a relationship and get their OK to call again then you have another bite at the cherry. In fact there is some research that shows that the more we interact with people consistently over time – in a positive way – the more likely they are to want to give us a try. So do take timing very seriously
  • Just a couple of extra things….It is possible to change the way we feel and you can make yourself feel more confident before you make the calls. One of the easiest things you can do is either sit up with your back straightened or, better still, stand up. Breath deeply from your stomach and smile with both your mouth AND your eyes. Believe it or not, the person on the other end will be able to hear your smile in your voice and will smile back in their voice
  • And a word on gate keepers. Most conventional sales trainers make them out to be ogres and, occasionally you will come across one. In the main you will find they are very nice if you take all the previous advice. It’s only if you sound like you are going to be a waste of time….and, to be frank, they are just doing their job Treat gatekeepers with respect they deserve and be respectful of their bosses time too…..and you will get a much better reception. What often happens is that there is a more suitable person for you to speak with and they will know and direct you to them. You can refer back to their recommendation and it makes the whole thing so much easier. If you want to get the rubber glove treatment then just act like every other Rambo sales person who is just seen as a time waster. You need to be smarter than that!
  • Just like anything else, mastery comes from mastering the basics. The more you do the things we have discussed the more confident you will be and that will help you take action. The more action you take, the more experienced you will get and the more confident you will feel. I normally recommend that rather than doing lots of calls all in one go you get used to doing fewer calls on a regular basis. For example, just 10 calls every day adds up to 50 calls a week – it all adds up……
  • How to overcome the fear of cold calling

    1. 1. How to overcome the fear of cold calling
    2. 2. Putting it into perspective• Generate Interest• Qualify Interest• Discover the pain• Make your diagnosis• Negotiate the deal• Close
    3. 3. Its all about relationships
    4. 4. It’s a bit like asking for a date!
    5. 5. GO FLIRT!• G - Ground Work• O - Outcome• F - Figures• L - Language• I - Introduction• R - Responses•T - Timing
    6. 6. Ground Work
    7. 7. Ground Work - exercise• Write down who you intend to call• Write down what you think is their 3 main problems they are looking to solve• Write down why they will want to speak to you even though they are incredibly busy
    8. 8. Outcome
    9. 9. Outcome - exercise• Write down what you expect as an ideal outcome of your call
    10. 10. Figures
    11. 11. Figures - exercise• Draw out a grid for the numbers you will measure for yourself. For example: – Number of dials – Number of conversations – Number of meetings
    12. 12. Language
    13. 13. Language - exercise• Rehearse your calls with your manager or coach. Make sure your voice is calm and natural.• Record and review your calls or get your manager or coach to listen in and give feedback.• Notice the differences in response from different approaches
    14. 14. Introduction
    15. 15. Introduction - exercise• Write out your introductions for – The receptionist – The gatekeeper – The decision maker• and memorise them• Ask your manager or coach for help if necessary
    16. 16. Responses
    17. 17. Responses - exercise• Write out all the most likely responses you are likely to get to your introduction including the ideal response.• For each response, write out your reply• Practice and memorise each reply.• Role play with your manager or coach
    18. 18. Timing
    19. 19. Timing - exercise• Write down how you will decide whether to call back• Write down how you will manage your call backs
    20. 20. Manage Your State
    21. 21. Gatekeepers
    22. 22. What Next? Master the basics • Lots of activity • Track your numbers • Notice what works • Adjust to improve ratios
    23. 23. If you would like to be trained in how to deliver thisas a training course for others or have it delivered toyour team then please contact Richard White usingthe contact details below. This material has createdgreat results with group sizes from 1 to 20 whendelivered in the correct way:Telephone: +44 1428 651866Email: rwhite@theaccidentalsalesman.comWeb: