What can strike terror into the heart of even the most successful sales professional or entrepreneur? What can crush self confidence, destroy self esteem and leave even the most seasoned quivering with humiliation and defeat? The Terror of Cold Calling.
Top Ten Tips for Terminating Telephone Terror
1. Make telephone calls.
Few things are more terrifying than the unknown. The fear you create for yourself is far worse than the reality of cold calling. Once you start making telephone calls and continue making telephone calls it gets easier. You overcome fear by doing.
2. Make a lot of telephone calls.
If you have only one prospect to pursue, that prospect becomes overwhelmingly important. If you have hundreds of leads, no one prospect can make or break you. The more calls you make, the more success you will have.
Prepare for cold calling the way you would for any major presentation. Know what you want to say, how you want to say it and how you want to represent yourself, your company, your product or service. And know the goal of your telephone call.
If you are new to cold calling or uncomfortable with cold calling practice out loud. Role-play with friends or colleagues. Practice various scenarios. This way you will not have to worry about what you are going to say, you will be prepared and you can focus in on your prospect.
5. Start with less important leads.
It will be good practice and less stressful. Once you feel more comfortable, start working on the more important leads.
6. Stay calm.
You will for the most part be talking to people who will appreciate your call. If a prospect is rude, remember: This is not personal. They may just be having a bad day. Move on.
7. Realize your priorities and your prospect’s priorities are different.
You want an immediate “yes,” your prospect may want to finish a report, finish a conversation, start their vacation.… Be very careful not to read negative or extra meaning into early conversations with your prospect or prospect’s secretary. If, for example, your prospect’s secretary says that your prospect is “on the phone,” “in a meeting,” or “out of the office,” that does not translate to “My prospect knows that I am calling and is avoiding me.”
8. Accept some things are out of your control.
If a prospect does say “no” ultimately that is out of your control—but what is within your control is continuing to prospect and continuing to make calls. It is also within your control to improve your cold calling skills, take seminars, read books or hire a coach—then fewer prospects will say “no.”
9. Play Arlene’s game.
The object of Arlene’s game is to focus on rejection. The goal is to reach 100 points. You get 1 point for every rejection. Give yourself 1 point for every “no” answer. If your prospect says “yes,” that’s a bonus. Focus on acquiring points. The more calls you make, the more points you acquire. When you reach 100 points you win. Give yourself a prize!
10. Have fun!
This is not life or death—it’s only a cold call. The fate of the world does not rest on you and your telephone. You will not destroy your company or ruin your life if a prospect says “no.” Loosen up, be creative, have some fun!
© 2013, Wendy Weiss