22 May Overcoming Cold Calling Fears
Nobody likes to cold call, but it is the way of life. At echogravity, we talk about inbound marketing and how to drive traffic to your web site via SEO, social media and content, but a solid sales strategy requires that people get on the phones and push the front forward. Yes, the connection rate is low and the chance of success is dismal, but there are ways to overcome the fears associated with picking up the phone and working on the skills that breed increased success.
Most companies we talk to don’t have an inbound marketing engine that lays up a stack of new leads to call on. So, if your company is looking for new business and relies solely on your sales team to land deals, they should try these cold calling tips to get over their fears and hesitations.
- Cold call on the way in and way home from the office. The hours of call time during the commute hit those times where people are most likely to answer their phone. We all know this as a staple tactic of cold calling: call before 8am and after 5pm. However, few people cold call from the car. Obviously, safety comes first, but having a list ready to call from on both ends of the commute will show that you are prepared, organized and committed. A call from a car is generally received differently because of that cabin white noise in the background. The call will be different because it may make the prospect feel a bit more important(car calling time is usually spent with friends and family), the call is generated from a cell phone number, and it’s different from the usual call they get from other sales reps. You might lose out on getting the latest updates from NPR or Mike and Mike (ESPN), but you will make more money and be happier in the end.
- Make calls Directly after successful events. If you make a deal, place a candidate, get a start or win a project, close the deal and get on the phone. Riding high from a deal will get you spewing confidence through the phone. Smart buyers love to talk to people that sound like they’ve done it before and can sell anything. Additionally, your need for the new deal will be a little less since you just rang the bell on a new commission. Cold calling and sounding desperate can be a downward spiral which may be tough to overcome. Close that deal and hit the phones.
- Only cold call late in the week. Nobody likes to walk into the office Monday morning and start talking to people they don’t know. Work the majority of your prospecting late in the week, and use the momentum of success in the first half to generate new opportunity late. This tactic goes in conjunction with point number 2. Set up appointments for Monday’s and Tuesday’s and get all of your meetings out of the way early in the week. If your cycle is organized, you will be staged with successful activity through the first half, giving you confidence late. To make this work, be sure to schedule cold calling on Thursday and Friday by locking it into your calendar.
- Leave 20 messages a week after 9pm. This tactic may not make a lot of sense, but there is a clear strategy behind this one. The argument is based off of the premise that you will leave messages as part of your normal mode of prospecting (which I firmly believe in). So, leaving messages late in the evening tells your prospects that you are a workaholic. It tells them that you are willing to work late and during odd hours to get their business, as well as service their account. It also gets you comfortable talking to their voice mail and having a virtual discussion with them, even if it is one way. A by-product of this strategy is that you are likely the first message they get in the morning when they check their voice mail. Do this enough times and you are likely to get a return call from that prospect out of sheer respect for your efforts and late night workings (oh yeah, apologize and tell them that you were too busy during the day to call them during normal work hours and that’s why you are calling them so late…).
- Go completely against the grain- list all of the things that you would normally say in a cold call and say none of them in your calls. This tactic is a purely a play at differentiation. In a red ocean market, it is nearly impossible to make traction on cold calls. It’s also the case that nearly every tactic has probably been used. So, here is the chance to try new stuff by saying all of the things you normally would but don’t say any of it. For instance, instead of saying “my name is Kevin O’Brien with echogravity and I am calling you because my company provides marketing services for it staffing companies”, I might say “since I was having such a great day, I decided to pick up the phone and start cold calling and you were lucky enough to be on my list.” (Hopefully you get the idea…).
Cold calling is not an easy task, but it is required in some form with most types of businesses. At echogravity, we subscribe to warm calling and the use of inbound marketing to drive new opportunity. However, if your strategy does not include these marketing practices, try these cold calling concepts to see if they increase your productivity. Make sure to measure results before and after change to relocate those activities that drive better results.
And of course, if you start booking new meetings, make sure to download our nailing the first meeting ebook to learn how to make a great impression with your new prospect. And for you sales managers and executives out there, see if your team is full of sales champions and has the DNA for success. You might also be interested in our 10 Hidden Sales Metrics eBook as well.
Kevin O’Brien is a Co-Founder and Partner at echogravity. Kevin’s credentials include being a top recruiter for a international Big 8 consulting firm, top business development rep for a global consulting and staffing firm, and consulting with over 100 companies across North America.