How do you get over the fear of cold calling? If you're tired of that pit-in-the-stomach feeling of dread that overtakes you every time you sit down by the phone, here are a couple suggestions that may help you:
Research your targeted firms prior to making a call. Having some knowledge about the company, their direction and challenges grounds you and gives you a context for the positioning your product/service offering.
Craft several customer-enticing messages. Use the guidelines in my Selling to Big Companies book to establish credibility, pique curiosity and close with confidence. Create a script, say it out loud, rewrite it so it sounds normal and not salesy. Make sure it focuses on the difference you can make - not your product/service.
Practice what you'll say.Revise & redo. Call yourself on your own voicemail. Listen as if you were the customer. See if you'd delete yourself. If so, revise it again. Then practice on your friends or colleagues. Get their feedback. Would they delete you? If so, when?
Role play what to say when you reach a decision maker. Figure out your common stumbling blocks and think of new approaches that would lead to different outcomes. Plan how you'll pass the "Tell me more" test.
Personally, I try to look at it as a challenge. I chose not to see my dead-end calls as failures. Instead, they are simply challenges to be overcome. I'm always searching for ways to be more effective.
Finally, do it despite your fear. I don't know many people who love cold calling. Over time, you'll do less of it because you acquire a customer base, but at the beginning it's tough.
I used to sit in my car for 1/2 hour before making live cold calls on customers. It sometimes took me forever to pick up the phone - or so it seemed. Yet I did it anyway, cause it needed to be done. And it does get easier, but it takes time.
"If companies don't get the people element right, and don't motivate those people well, tools and processes won't do them much good at all."
Amen. Over the last few years, I've seen more sellers suffering from burnout than ever before. They're pushed to the brink to feed the corporation's insatiable need for increased shareholder value.
More, more, more! That's all that's important. Quotas are raised, and then raised again. Yesterday's successes are quickly forgotten. The corporation's and customers' needs take priority over a personal life and family.
As far as I'm concerned, this is totally out of whack.
It is also not sustainable. Life is not all about shareholder value. Salespeople need to feel that their work is making a difference and that they're appreciated.
Is it any wonder that one of the biggest issues facing the corporate world today is lack of employee engagement? I think not.
In the past few years I have made a deliberate choice to avoid working for companies where I "feel the greed." I'm all for making a healthy profit, but not when it destroys people's lives. This may be controversial to some, but I will not sell my soul for the almighty dollar.
Turnover is common in sales jobs, so this salesperson's dilemma is likely something you'll encounter in the upcoming months.
Question: One of my peers resigned and I've inherited some of her big accounts.
My boss has asked me to make a personal call, then follow up with an email to introduce myself and begin a dialog with them. Also, I've been asked to send a card with a note that says, "I'm looking forward to working with you."
What should I say in my phone call and follow-up email? Any other suggestions?
Jill's Response: Think about things from your customer's perspective first.