Cold Calling

How to cold call. Cold calling is slowly becoming a lost art. However, it is still one of the most powerful tools that a sales and marketing organization can enlist. For starters, a lot less companies untilze cold calling these days. That makes the game much easier for the the ones who do and whole lot easier for those who do it well.

Here are some rules for cold calling that you must follow.

1.) Know who you are calling
There is nothing worse than not knowing who you are calling, asking for the wrong person, or pronouncing their name improperly. There is no excuse for this. If you can't get this simple step right, you are in the wrong profession. There are two easy techniques to help make sure you get this step right. First, try looking on the website of the company you are calling. (If your cold calling on consumers, this is much more difficult. I'll get into that a little later.) Many websites list the employees' contact information. (This is a gift to all you sales people. Use it.) The second technique is to place a pre call prior to attempting to reach your target on the phone. I call this step doing your homework. You simply call your target company and introduce yourself to the person who answers the phone, honestly tell them that you are hoping just to get the name of the person in charge of whatever it is you are trying to sell. While you are at it, ask for the spelling, their proper title, proper pronunciation, If they like to be called any other name or a shorter version of their name (Is that John or Jon? - Jonathan or Jon?) and even their mailing address. (It is not always headquarters.) WRITE THIS DOWN! Also write down the name of the person you spoke with, the date and your next step. (We'll get more into this later as well.) With this information, you are much better prepared to make a successful cold call. Now your starting to learn how to cold call.

2.) Know why you are calling
You must start with a clear objective. What are you looking to accomplish with this call? Are you looking to make a sale with one phone call? I doubt it. So know what you want and stick to the plan. Some smart objectives for cold calling are to schedule a meeting or an appointment, to provide a proposal, to have your name added to an approved vendor list, to sign the person up for a trial, and many more depending on what you sell and your normal sales cycle. Having the person agree that you can send them your brochures is not a good goal. In many cases it can be counter productive. There is a time and a place where that can work, but only when the person you are sending it to has asked the right questions, has told you a little bit about their organization and their needs, and truly requires the information before they can commit to the next step in the sales process. The problem with sending brochures as an objective is that it is too easy. It is easy because there is no commitment requires or obligation to say yes to can I send you my brochures. Most people will say yes just to get you off of the phone. That is not how to cold call for profit. This will not help you achieve your sales goals. Not to mention this can be an expensive technique when you take printing costs and postage into consideration. Now set some real goals for your cold calling and stick to them.

3) Confidence is King!
Cold calling for sales can really play on your confidence. If you are confident, you will be successful. That is not to say that confidence is all it takes. Knowing how to cold call is not going to help unless you already know how to sell your product or service. If you are not good at selling in general, how could you expect to be good at cold calling? If this is the case, forget about how to cold call for now and start with how to sell. If you know how to sell, you must master the art of how to cold call. The more experience you have, the better you will perform. The only way to gain experience is by hitting the phone. It takes a very strong personality to get through enough calls to gain that experience, but without paying your dues, you will not succeed. Only after you have enough experience and confidence, will you understand the power of cold calling for sales.

It's a Numbers Game
Any self-proclaimed sales Guru who tries to say that cold calling is not a numbers game is just trying to say something different or controversial. It is a numbers game and I can prove it. First of all I have the hands-on experience in cold calling equal 10 experienced cold callers and I know my business inside and out, but if I started making cold calls right now, it would take approximately ten cold calls to get one appointment. It may happen on the first call, but the averages prove that I would not get a second appointment for at least ten more calls or up to twenty. I urge you to try this and answer the question for yourself once and for all.

First of all be prepared. Know who you are calling, get their name right please and know what your goal is for the call. In my business it is an appointment, but yours may be different. Once you are prepared hit the phones. Don't forget to properly introduce yourself, make a promise or a claim that can add value to the person you are calling and ask the qualifying question to achieve your goal for the call. Do this one hundred times and record the results. Due to voice mails and gatekeepers this one hundred cold call experiment may take days or weeks, but when you finally finish, you will understand the numbers for cold calling for your sales.

Once you know the numbers, you can properly plan your sales and forecast your potential. If every ten cold calls leads to one appointment and every three appointments leads to one sale, then you will need to make 30 cold calls to make one sale. Now you need to discover how many cold calls you are capable of doing in an hour, a day, a week and a month. Then divide those numbers by the 30 needed to make a sale (or whatever your numbers may be) and you will have a very accurate assessment of how much you can sell over any given period of time through cold calling. Once you know this, the only thing that can stop you from achieving all of your sales goals is laziness.

Does the math make sense? Just because you complete the experiment and know your numbers that does not mean that they can't change. As you gain experience, you will be able to improve your numbers, but only to a certain extent. It is a numbers game after all.

Is it worth the effort?
Only you can answer that question. There are a lot of other great strategies finding leads and making sales. You may find that it takes you 8 hours to make 30 cold calls and that one sale a day is not going to get you to where you need to be, in this case you may want to avoid cold calls and look for qualified leads through either referrals, advertising, networking, event marketing or any other sales strategy as your main strategy. However, if you are not at a tradeshow or networking event and your advertising is not making the phone ring and you do not have any fresh referrals, you better be on that phone making cold calls to fill the down times. Michael Jordan was quoted as saying "If you do the work, you'll get the reward." This is true not only in sports, but also to be successful at sales.

Now go do your work and make your cold calls
Good Luck. (Here are some great books to help you get better results.)

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