For a sales consultant a cold calling task is maybe the most humiliating and in some degree horrible component of sales. The term ‘cold’ refers to the fact that you haven’t laid any groundwork for your call. If you are calling prospects who have already expressed interest in your products, such as a prospect who fills out a postcard or website request for information, then it’s referred to as ‘warm calling.’
Different sales experts will refer to both phone calls and physical, drop-in visits as cold calling, but most salespeople think of cold calling in terms of the telephone. When in doubt, you can usually assume that a reference to cold calling relates to phone calls rather than visits.
There are several reasons why in today’s world, cold calling is just not the most effective way to increase sales:
Cold Calling Irritates Customers. A cold call is a phone call to a prospective customer, who has not sought you out nor are they expecting your call. With the busy schedules we are accustomed to these days, chances are high that you will be interrupting them, which can be very irritating. Another factor that irritates cold-called customers is the persistence with which sales people make these calls. Often times they do not take no for an answer, which can make the customer feel badgered and irritated. Not exactly the best way to build a trusting business relationship.
- Cold Calling is Unfocused Marketing. Cold calling is somewhat (sometimes completely) random. Resources are often wasted on calls to never-would-be-customers, meaning they absolutely would not use your product or service. Time and resources would be much better spent pursuing customers who are actually in the market for your products / services, and trying to sell them something you know that they want or need.
- Cold Calling Can Lead to Loss of Respect/Trust. Cold Calling and telemarketing are often times lumped together in the same category in the minds of consumers, and since these methods are often used by unscrupulous marketers, the technique can have a negative effect on your business’ image. A negative image could mean a loss of respect and trust in your industry.
To increase your results with cold-calling, the following must be done regularly:
- Have a dedicated time each day to prospect.
- Know the reason for calling before you call: customer benefits, not product features.
- Leave short voice mail messages.
- Assume your voice mail messages will never be returned.
- Always call one level higher in an organization than you believe is necessary.
- Be confident and competent.
- Phone calls placed before 8:30 a.m. are the most likely to be answered by the person you called.
- Respect the gate-keeper by treating them in the same manner you would treat the prospect.
- Prospecting calls on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons will have the worst results.
- Prospecting on “semi-holidays” and inclement weather days will get a higher response.
- Make it your goal to earn the right, privilege and honor to talk to the person again.
- Believe in what you’re selling and the benefits that the prospect will receive from your products and services.
- Believe in yourself and your professionalism.
- Anytime is a good time to make a call; don’t wait for the “perfect” time.
Now pick up the phone, and start speaking with your customers! You won’t regret it.
Finally it is fair to say that there is a challenge in any business which makes this journey much more interesting. Cold calling is the most difficult component of sales, however it is indeed one of the rewarding adventures in your online sales.