There’s a little Girl Scout on the street carrying boxes of different flavored cookies, timidly trying to knock on her neighbors’ doors worried that somehow she’ll be booed out and that doors would just slam shut on her face after offering her cookies for just a few cents? Such a pitiful sight eh?
But imagine what this little girl could be feeling even before approaching doors. Will they know that she is on official business and would just be selling cookies for the good of humanity? Will she be able to speak her rehearsed cookie scripts? Will she make her first order?
Little that we know that a lot of grown ups, even professional salesmen, experience anxiety for the idea of making their own cold call. It’s so normal to feel butterflies hitting big time up and down your belly, that just thinking of making the call (whether personal or business) would even want to make you throw up.
But, let me give you the exact explanation of what a cold call means. A cold call is a personal call, it can be a visit or phone call to someone you know a little or someone whom you really don’t know. The main reason for the call is that you are selling something for personal or official business.
Others think that a cold call is only being made to total strangers, taken from phone book or referrals from other persons. On the contrary, this cold call can be made to someone you already know or to a prospect you’re already familiar with. It can be someone you met last month at a party or maybe a friend introduced him to you before and you found him to be a good prospect to sell the product. But still, contacting someone you know breaks the ice for a moment. Try to narrow your prospects at first where you feel comfortable, once you’ve mastered the technique that’s the time you can move on to more challenging prospects you never even thought of approaching.
The ordeal that you have to go through first is making that personal, meaning one on one, physical appearance or tele-presence. This can make you so tense that you feel like quitting everything. There are even cold calls that make you feel like you will disappear in a heartbeat.
Even professionals like doctors, lawyers and professors feel the same, which is why they depend on friends or clients’ referrals for fear of losing their dignity and good name after making an unsuccessful cold call. One deep breath can help do the trick.
Nothing can be as uncomfortable as prospecting someone for your cold call. The fear of being shouted at or making a fool out of yourself, are roadblocks and keep you from selling. This can be overcome with the right attitude together with guarded planning, preparation and if possible – Training. Believe it or not, salesmanship is possible for everyone.
Take these simple tips on how to Cold Call
Always be Positive
Remember that cold calling is a powerful business strategy. First be positive with your self. Your co-workers and your prospects you’re about to make the cold call should be next to feel positive about. There must be enthusiasm in your voice the people can feel right away.
Prepare to be Prepared
It’s not enough to know the procedure and having the right attitude. Prepare the list of whom to be called or visited, how the introduction should be done, learn what prospects do and the most important part of all is that your offered product or service should be something that could be of good use for them. Being well prepared can turn a simple cold call into real business.
I am what I am
Never sound too over reactive or obviously nervous on the phone or when you shake your prospect’s hand. Never try to be somebody you are really not with an aim to getting the attention you need. Assume that talking to your prospective customer for the first time should be the key to a lasting relationship.
Anticipate that you’ll be declined. That’s it. It’s really hard but never take it as a personal attack on you. Don’t let the feeling of being dismissed put you down and roll you back. Be patient and learn from your mistakes. You will reap a good harvest if you commit yourself to being persistent. This will also help you find a strategy that will work in the long run. Look at each turn down as if it were the next stepping stone.
The Art of Questioning
You cannot expect someone to believe you right away and just sign up after describing your company’s objectives. You have to ask the right questions. Ask what they do correctly and promptly to help you use it along the conversation. A sure attention getter when opening a conversation can be “May I ask you about something Ms/Mr?” People want to help and this question lowers their guard. The next question will be “Can you help me out about this thing sir/ma’am?” This question does not ask for a yes or no answer but would definitely give you a valuable response that you can use all through out the interaction.
It’s possible that the little Girl Scout on the street asked the same question and left the doorway with 2 less boxes of cookies at hand!