-by Shamus Brown
Most salespeople I know consider cold calling a dreadful, but essential activity in our profession. Even those who are good at it rarely like it. Nevertheless, those who are successful in sales do it regularly because without prospects, one does not sell anything.
If you hate cold calling to the point where you won't do it, you've got a serious problem. Let this go on long enough, and you'll watch your commissions drop from low to zero as you lose your job.
If you truly hate cold calling to the point where it is really hurting your sales, I may know one of the reasons why.
Too many salespeople take the bulk of the pressure on themselves in the sale. We've been conditioned into it by a society that teaches us that buyers shop, and sellers are there to "serve". You've heard this before... "serve the customer".
In "serving the customer", we feel that we have to do whatever they ask to get the sale. Some prospects act like bratty children that just have to have their way. This can be quite annoying to deal with.
In letting this belief "serving the customer" dominate our attitude towards buying and selling, we give up a lot of power. It's kind of crazy if you really think about it. The prospect is the one who does or does not have a problem to solve. Its not your problem - you are just offering a potential solution.
If your prospect does have a problem to solve, then it is his responsibility to solve it - not yours. What you can do is help him figure out how to solve it, and offer your products or services if they solve the problem.
When cold calling, you are looking for problems that you can actually solve. How effective you are at cold calling is really a matter of how effective you are at uncovering problems that you can solve. It is *not* a game of how good of a "pitch" you can deliver over the phone.
If you plan your cold calling by trying to craft the most interesting, exciting, and sparkling pitch to wow your prospects into meeting with you, then you are putting way too much pressure on yourself. This may just be stressful for you, or it can even be disabling to the point where you can't or won't do any cold calling.
Also you're unlikely to succeed in creating a pitch that everyone responds to because you are guessing at what people want when you pitch first, and react second.
I have a simple formula to take the pressure off of yourself and put it where it belongs - on your prospect.
Simple, huh? So simple, it may seem too easy.
The secret to the cold calling formula is how you do each step. Here's an example:
"Hello, this is Shamus Brown calling."
"I help people to get higher investment returns and I was just calling to see if your investments have increased 20% or more for the past 3 years.
"Oh, they didn't increase... they declined by how much?... hmm, sounds bad to me, but I am not you - is that kind of performance OK with you?"
This follows the simple format outlined above. Very briefly introduce yourself and the results that you provide for your customers. This is one of the keys to making cold calling easier.
The only thing your prospect will likely hear at the beginning of the call is your results. When you are cold calling someone, you are interrupting them in some way. Their attention is elsewhere. When they hear the results that you offer, you will get their attention IF they are interested in those types of results.
Then immediately get into probing for problems, and amplifying the consequences. Once you are there, you will stir up their motivation and desire to talk further about your product or service.
Stop using lengthy introductions in your cold calling. If you get that slightly uncomfortable or nauseating feeling in your stomach while delivering your phone "pitch", it is because your pitch is too long. The longer your pitch is, the more you are "at risk" because you do not know how the message is being received.
Shorten your cold calling opener to just the essential results that you provide, and then get right into probing for problems. You'll sell more this way.
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