In times of frustration, it’s easy to cry, “Cold calling doesn’t work!” In this video and accompanying blog, I answer the question, “Is cold calling really dead?” Here are several steps you can take to achieve cold calling success.
You get to your office, sit down at your desk and open up your calendar. A concerned look sweeps over your face. “Only one appointment this week.” You look at your pipeline and get that squirmy feeling inside your gut, as you realize your pipeline is not as full as it needs to be. You’re wondering where you’re going to find your next prospect.
The uncertainty begins to sweep over you. The stress starts creeping into your body, for you realize you can’t keep procrastinating the cold calls you need to make in order to book more appointments with key decision makers.
Does this situation sound familiar? As you might imagine, I’ve been getting a high volume of calls from sales managers and their salespeople struggling to meet their sales goals.
After investing several hours cold calling; trying to get through to the decision maker, getting hung up on, hearing “No, thank you. I’m not interested,” then, “Click,” this experience can leave you feeling depleted, frustrated and annoyed. You don’t understand why you’re unable to set the appointments with the prospects who you know you can help and therefore need to meet. You ask yourself, “Why won’t they talk to me? I know I can help them. If only they’d give me some time on the phone.”
In desperation, you cry out, “This cold calling thing doesn’t work for me! And if I’m not going to cold call, then what else can I do to schedule meetings with more qualified prospects who can buy from me?”
As such, they abandon their cold calling efforts to try and pursue prospecting through other avenues. Social media, networking, referrals, up-selling and cross-selling into current customers, webinars, trade shows, email blasts, business events or spending an obscene amount of time doing “research to uncover the ‘perfect’ prospect to approach,” whether face to face, phone or email.
The real irony here is, these alternative approaches are bound to be just as ineffective, leaving you feeling as frustrated as you felt when you cold called; all because you didn’t address and resolve the real root cause of the problem.
At this point, most people who feel cold calling doesn’t work in actuality, have learned the wrong and costly lesson.
It’s Alive! Focus On The Quality of Your Cold Calling Efforts
So, what is the answer? Is cold calling really dead? The answer is a resound, “Not even close.” Therefore, do not abandon cold calling! Cold calling is far from dead and I see evidence of this every day.
What businesses and salespeople need to realize is, there’s no one solution to business development anymore. Companies need to take a comprehensive approach when it comes to generating new prospects and selling opportunities. And regardless of what path you take in an attempt to generate new business, you need to ensure your approach truly reflects best in class selling practices so that you can see positive and realistic results from your prospecting efforts.
Sure, I realize for many people cold calling and prospecting ranks right up there with getting their teeth pulled without the gas.
However, as someone who has coached and trained thousands of salespeople and managers over the years, here’s what I’ve learned very early on. It’s not that cold calling doesn’t work. Cold calling works fabulously well. It’s the way you’re cold calling that doesn’t work. And I see evidence of this every day with clients, as well as the botched attempts people make when cold calling my office.
In other words, your message, approach and strategy is flawed. So, consider that it’s more about your approach and cold calling strategy; what you say and how you say it – that is ineffective and what your prospects are unresponsive to.
Think of it this way. If I asked you to dig a ten-foot hole with a spoon, do you learn the lesson, “Gee, I guess I can dig holes very well. So, I won’t try that again.” Or, is it more about having the right tools? That is, “Well, if I had the right tools, I would be able to dig a ten-foot hole more effectively and efficiently.”
Research and Refine
Look Under The Hood – And In The Mirror
Take the time to re-assess your business development, prospecting and cold calling strategy. Map it all out on paper and in a document. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage and refine it. Write out the steps you take that encapsulates your entire prospecting system, taking the time to craft every message you deliver to a prospect; whether via email, voice mail or over the phone when you finally connect with them.
Script out the qualifying questions you need to ask every prospect. Craft a proven response to defuse the most common initial objections you hear. Conduct free market research, simply by asking your customers, “Why did you buy from me?” Your customers will provide you with invaluable insight into why they bought from you so that you can refine your message accordingly in a way that resonates with other prospects. Now that you know what ‘value‘ means to your customers, you can weave that message into your opening statement when cold calling as well as all other prospecting efforts.
I’m certain there are opportunities to refine your approach that would enable you to generate more positive results when cold calling. I guarantee it. (Seriously, I guarantee it; so feel free to send me the cold calling template you feel isn’t working and I’m happy to take a look at it!)