Whatever the reason, business owners and salespeople often cringe at starting their day cold calling. Changing this might be easier than you think.
When I interview clients who want to hire me as their sales coach to assist them in developing or refining their prospecting and cold calling strategy to generate more prospects, I ask them to ‘pitch’ me on the spot. Here’s how the conversation typically flows.
“Right now?” they say.
“Sure,” I say. “After all, you have a choice. You can either practice on me or practice on your prospects.”
“Well, okay. But I never really liked to role play.”
A few minutes later, they give me their cold calling ‘pitch’, examples of the types of voice mails they leave, and what it sounds like when they introduce themselves at a networking event.
“So, what do you think, Keith?”
“I think I have great news for you.” I reply.
A Simple Tweak
“The good news is, we’re going to change your approach around. We’re going to fine tune some of the things you’re doing and develop more compelling language in your opening statement, which will eliminate the initial objections you’re hearing and get you in front of more qualified prospects faster. Here’s where we create some new possibilities for you. So if you’re ready, I’d be happy to share with you in more detail what I’m hearing and some areas I see that we can work on. Ready?”
“Great. Now, you said earlier that you feel as if cold calling doesn’t work for you.”
“Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t seem to be effective in my business. I’m certainly not getting any results or should I say, I’m not getting the results I used to get.”
“Oh, so there was a time when you did generate some results from cold calling?”
“So, what’s changed?”
“I’m not sure. That’s why I’m calling you.”
“Have you ever been trained or coached in how to cold call effectively?”
“So, how did you learn?”
“I picked up the phone and started dialing. I’ve seen some other people do it, some co-workers, my manager, but that’s it.”
“Did you ever consider that it’s not the cold calling doesn’t work but the way you’re cold calling that doesn’t work? In other words, consider that it’s more about your approach; what you say and how you say it. Let me explain,” I continued.
“For example, if I asked you to go outside and dig a ten foot deep hole with a spoon, do you learn the lesson, “Well, I guess I can’t dig holes very well” or is the real lesson; “If I had the right tools I would have been able to accomplish this goal faster, with less effort.” You see, it’s all about the tools you’re using when cold calling. Even if you handed Tiger Wood, the greatest golfer in the world a pair of lefty clubs, while he still may outperform most golfers he would not be able to operate at his best, at the pinnacle of his potential, simply because he’s using the wrong tools. The same philosophy applies to your career and to cold calling.”
“Wow, Keith, that makes perfect sense. I really never thought of it that way.”
“Well, as you mentioned, that’s the reason why you called me, right?”
There Ain’t No Cheese Down That Tunnel
When managers call me looking to see how they can boost their sales numbers by getting in front of more qualified prospects, I ask them if they have ever provided their sales team with any specific training and coaching regarding cold calling and prospecting. Most say “No” yet still expect their sales team to continually produce better results in less time. That’s the same thing as expecting to shoot a 75 your first month as a new golfer without any lessons or coaching.
Ask yourself, are you using the right tools or are you still trying to drive your cold calling process or new business development strategy forward using four square wheels?
Photo credit: Bart Macquire