Do you have a sales team of fearless salespeople and prospectors? There’s not a company out there who can afford to have their salespeople, prospectors and rainmakers become a little gun-shy when looking to attract and develop new business. Here’s how you can overcome sales and prospecting reluctance permanently.
Are you aware of the limiting thinking you may be harboring towards selling, cold calling and your prospects? When salespeople resist engaging in any business development, such as cold calling, a typical response from many sales managers is to provide additional training, role-playing, a revised presentation, or more qualified prospects to call on as the solution to improving cold calling results and productivity.
Granted, salespeople do report an increased level of confidence and a decrease in call reluctance when they have been provided with the right tools, processes, and systems. Unfortunately, these tactics don’t always eliminate the anxiety or level of resistance that salespeople experience when cold calling.
Perhaps the real issue is not tapping into the source of cold calling reluctance. Fixing the symptom without understanding the true source of the problem only results in a temporary solution.
Instead of focusing on strategies that only address the symptom, explore the source of your anxiety to permanently overcome the fear and resistance to cold calling; your beliefs surrounding cold calling.
Prospecting and Cold Calling Aren’t Dirty Words
When I ask salespeople about their feelings or attitude towards cold calling, I hear the following responses. Compare your list to the following common responses:
1. I fear rejection.
2. I don’t want the prospect to say “No” or hang up on me because I take it personally.
3. I call on people who have other things to do than speak with someone they don’t even know. I’ll just be interrupting and annoying them.
4. I am a stranger. Why should they talk to me and give me their time?
5. I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
6. I don’t want to come across the wrong way and destroy a potentially good selling opportunity.
7. I am not going to come across professionally. I would rather meet with them face to face, since I present myself better in person.
8. I am not comfortable with my prospecting approach so I don’t want to look bad.
9. I know they’re not interested.
10. I don’t want to impose or be intrusive.
11. I know they’re probably happy with their current vender. If they weren’t, they would call me.
12. I hate being cold called!
13. I don’t want to have to close hard or push something on someone.
14. I don’t want to deal with shoppers.
15. I hate leaving voice mails. They never answer the phone and certainly never return my calls.
Conversely, when I ask salespeople what they love about cold calling, what I get is complete silence.
It Ain’t About You!
Look at the first word that begins each statement above.
I, I, I, I, I!
Making the selling and cold calling process about you is the number one roadblock to successful prospecting and the number one cause of cold calling reluctance.
While many salespeople would say the selling process is about the customer, they wind up making it about themselves. How do I know this? Look at some of the limiting beliefs that contribute to cold calling reluctance that we mentioned earlier. Think about all the fears or reluctance you may experience when it comes to cold calling or selling.
Instead of making the selling process about you and how much you can gain if you sell, make it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them.
If you are experiencing any fear or resistance to prospecting, look at who you’re making the selling process about. Chances are, you’re making it about you!
Once you shift your focus and energy towards making it about the prospect, it will immediately relieve you of the unnecessary pressure to look good and perform.
You are either making the selling process about you and how much you can gain (money, sales, status, and so on), your fear of rejection, looking bad, or hearing “No,” or you’re making it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them. Now, the cold calling process is no longer focused on the salesperson’s negative assumptions or fears but on the prospect and the advantages that your product can provide them.
After all, if you are making the sale about you and are concerned about your performance, then how are you ever going to capture their interest when all of your energy, concentration and attention is being directed on to you rather than focused on the prospect?
How You Think Is What You Get
Whatever you assume or believe about cold calling, your prospects, yourself, selling, and your career is exactly what you’ll manifest in your life.
I know this may challenge traditional wisdom and your current beliefs as well as stretch your perception and point of view. However, if you’re looking for extreme results, then it calls for extreme thinking and not just a change in what you do and how you do it. With the business community continually evolving, change is critical.
Salespeople have tendency to exploit all of the reasons why they don’t like cold calling or why they won’t succeed at cold calling. However, have you ever taken the time to develop the reasons why you will succeed?
To make this real for you, if you believe that cold calling is, “Forcing someone to accept something they don’t want, intrusive, annoying, manipulative, a waste of time, intimidating, scary, something I hate being subjected to myself, and so on,” that’s exactly what you’ll continue to experience every time you cold call.
If you believe that all prospects are a certain way (uninterested, shoppers, rude, are only concerned with price) then how do you think you are going to approach cold calling and deliver your presentation, whether you realize it or not?
Think about the type of prospect that you are going to be attracting, the questions you would be asking and the kind of objections you’ll be hearing? Based on your current assumptions surrounding cold calling, prospects and selling, every new experience will now become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Joy of Business Development and Cold Calling
To combat this, consider challenging these assumptions and replacing them with healthier ones that would better serve you. For example, I love (or like) to cold call and prospect because:
1. Cold calling is informative. It lets the prospect know where they can locate the best product/service they need.
2. Cold calling is beneficial. I can share all the incredible advantages of my product/service with the people who can benefit from it most.
3. Cold calling is a way to genuinely deliver value, educate my prospects, serve people, and improve people’s lives, regardless of whether or not I make the sale.
4. Cold calling enables me to become a prospect’s trusted expert or advisor so that they can make the best purchasing decision.
5. Cold calling is a way to prevent people from making potentially costly mistakes that result from purchasing the wrong product/service or using a company that may not effectively fill their needs.
6. Cold calling makes it possible to earn the business of more prospects who I wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect with otherwise. The more I cold call, the more I sell. The more I sell, the more happy customers I have.
When working with different sales teams, I always find it interesting that some salespeople attract the difficult customers. They then find themselves in a position where they have to negotiate price, have more cancellations or returns, or have to deal with prospects that want to review three separate proposals before making a purchasing decision.
Conversely, there are other salespeople who seem to effortlessly generate the best leads and get the desirable, loyal customers and repeat business.
This is not a coincidence. At some point, you need to ask yourself, “What role is my attitude playing in this? How is my thinking and my assumptions affecting my performance?” Once you can identify your current limiting beliefs surrounding selling, business development and cold calling, I’m sure you will see the answers to these questions staring you in the face.
Make the selling process about the prospect and customer and the value you can deliver, rather than what you can gain if you sell. Once you do so, the sale then becomes the natural byproduct of your selfless efforts and good intentions.
Photo Credit: Nick Fletcher