Top 10 Tips For Cold Calling Success

At some point or other every sales person has to cold call. Whether it’s ringing totally new clients, chasing leads, gaining referrals, networking or following up on a conference card handed in it’s not something that many salespeople are that comfortable with.

Being able to cold call confidently, professionally and effectively will not only open up more potential business for you it will also allow you to feel more in control of your own destiny and much more empowered. Here are my top 10 tips for cold calling success…

1. Plan and prepare your opening statement.

The more individuals I train the more important I think this is. I have made tens of thousands of calls and listened to far more. Whether cold or indeed warm calling the biggest problem by far is lack of client engagement. This can be down to several factors but by far the most significant is a failure to plan and prepare a decent opening statement.

An opening statement needs an introduction, a hook (what’s in it for client) and a bridge to your questions or your close. Without these it’s impotent. Make sure that the benefits you offer are a) really benefits and b) relevant to the person you are speaking to and not just you! My top tip would be to imagine your self in your client’s shoes and then ask, “What will this call potentially do for my business and why should I care?”

2. Get into the right state of mind and expect success.

Unmotivated people to not make good salespeople. Let’s face it, who would buy off someone who didn’t appear to believe it themselves. When I train teams I am constantly amazed at the number of salespeople who pick up the phone expecting rejection. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they are making cold calls, customer care calls or follow up calls … only a small percentage of top performers absolutely expect success.

Attitude and mindset are infectious. Clients know within seconds whether you are congruent with your message or not. I once did a verbal survey with my clients asking them why they bought from me in the first place. The overwhelming (and surprise at the time) answer was, “It felt like the right thing to do!”

Expecting success is a crucial part of your success.

3. Know WHY your need to do this.

On a day to day basis most of us forget WHY we are doing certain things. We find ourselves cold calling because we have to or because we are told to. If you want to make change in your cold calling habits then it is going to require some commitment, some focus and some persistence. The best way of leveraging these attributes from your self is to ask yourself, “Why is cold calling important to me? What does it do for me? How does it link to my goals and my dreams?”

When coaching individual sales people on teams I can usually tell who will act and who will not and it’s usually down to whether the individual has a need or a want or not. Holding your self to a higher standard is hard if you have no reason to so spend some time and work our why cold calling is important to you right now.

4. Practise delivery focusing on pace, pitch and tone.

When I listen to sales calls I am frequently shocked by the message within the message. In face to face sales 55% of the message is non-verbal. On the phone, this element is missing and this means that the message consists only of the words and how you say them. Whilst the words are vitally important the way you say them will be directly linked to your success or ultimate failure.

Having listened to thousands of calls I can honestly say that the message behind the message for most calls is … “I’m bored, tired and putting in the numbers and you’re probably tot say no anyway!”. Would you buy from someone was saying this to you?

Get someone you trust to listen to your calls and give you feedback on pace, pitch and tone. What message are you sending out?

5. Plan and prepare relevant questions.

Questions and client interaction are paramount for selling. Most salespeople think that they are good at questioning. Most are wrong. Planning and preparing good questions is something that all salespeople should do regularly.

Questions are incredibly important because they focus the mind. This is as true when talking to others as it is when talking inside your own head! Most of us put the focus in the wrong place both internally and externally by asking the wrong questions.

Imagine ringing a new client, introducing yourself and giving a few benefits. They’re listening but they’re not on board yet!! Now imagine asking questions uch as, “Does that sound like something that would be of interest to you?” and “Would you be interested in meeting up then?”

These questions are an absolute waste of time and the resounding answer that you get will be, “No!”.

Questions need to focus the client’s mind on something that you would like them to think about such as, “Have you ever had any difficulties…?” or “How do you currently…?”

6. Have your support tools to hand.

Part of being professional is being prepared. When you get on the phone you need your diary, notes, paper and pens to hand. I cannot count the number of times I have watched a sales “professional” start to close for a meeting and then realise they don’t have a diary open on the desk or on the computer. One long pause later… rapport and meeting lost!

Expect success, work out what support tools you need to be successful and make sure that they are to hand.

7. Divert calls and minimise disruptions.

A recent survey studying working habits suggested that the average worker actually works for less than 3 hours in an average working day. This seems quite high to me! Most people seem to find so many extraneous and irrelevant tasks to do that it’s a wonder they ever get anything done. To be a sales superstar you need to work out what activities bring you success and then set aside time to do them.

Work out your ratios and then work out how many calls you need to make to achieve your personal goals. Once you’ve done that get on and do it. Most salespeople actually spend too much time “on the phone”… the problem is that they’re not focused enough when they are on the phone. Try turning off your mobile, diverting all calls and asking not to be disturbed. Get your self energised and prepared and then make 45 minutes worth of top quality, proactiver calls. You’ll be amazed by how much you can achieve in ¾ of an hour!

8. Set clear objectives for your session.

Many salespeople make calls without any objectives or goals. This is a complete waste of time. You need to plan and prepare for all proactive sales sessions. Pre-decide on your activities and how you are going to measure them. Set realistic objectives and targets and stick to them. Only this way will you be able to improve and grow.

9. Don’t put your phone down.

Whether cold or warm calling it’s important that you keep the energy flowing when you are making proactive calls. It’s too easy to get distracted, start doing something else or take ever increasing breaks between each call.

One very effective way of achieving shorter break time and therefore more proactive energy is to not put the telephone down between calls. Not only does this work but you also save on the psychological energy of having to pick the phone up again every call!! I also recommend that wearing a headset increases the work rate of nearly all telephone sales people

10. Master your physiology.

Your physiology is the way you use your body… your posture, movement, facial expressions and breathing. Changing your physiology changes your state. If you were to walk into a room full of salespeople on the phone you would instantly know if they were “up for it” or not by the way they were sitting, moving, talking and so on.

Take a moment to think about your physiology now. Think about the best telephone call that you’ve ever made… How were you sitting / standing? How did you move? What were your facial expressions? Voice patterns? How did you hold your head? How was your breathing? Did you use a headset / handset?

Get your log-book and make a note of your findings. Over the next week I want you to concentrate on starting all of your telephone sessions from this physiology and maintaining it throughout. If you find your physiology changing then get yourself straight back into the right physiology. Remember that doing this in front of the others in the office at 830am in the morning could feel unnatural… and so will the extra commissions when they roll in but I think you can cope with that!!!

So that’s it. 10 top tops for being a great cold caller and a better salesperson. If you want to know more about cold calling or develop any of these strategies in more detail then have a look at my website…

For the last 10 years, Gavin Ingham has been helping sales people to explode their sales performance by turning self-doubt, fear and lack of motivation into self-belief, confidence and action. With his inspirational approach to sales performance and motivation Gavin combines commercial experience, personal excellence and communications technologies in delivering personal and business sales success.

Visit http://www.gaviningham.com now to join Gavin’s free monthly newsletter packed full of sales secrets, strategies and tactics. Join now and get Gavin’s ground-breaking 9-part objection handling course absolutely free.


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