Anyone who has ever been in sales, or who has solicited donations for a pet project knows that cold calling is one of the most effective and terrifying methods of prospecting available. For every live prospect you get on the phone who will talk to you there are dozens that will slam the phone down, yell at you and generally try to make you feel like the worst person on the planet. In order to make a living from cold calling you’re going to need some tough skin, no doubt about it, but there are some simple ways to toughen that hide and make the experience just a little bit more enjoyable.
5. Be Prepared
This tip one comes from the years I spent in the Boy Scouts. That was the motto we lived by on every backpacking excursion. I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable it is to have a conversation with someone than it is to listen to someone shuffle through their script while mispronouncing your name. The simple truth is that if you know your product forwards and backwards and have your script memorized to the point where you can deviate when objections come up, you’re going to feel more confident and experience more success.
Every day that I know I’m going to be spending time cold calling is a day that I also know I’m only going to work two or three hours. That’s about my maximum limit, so I plan on working only that much. Then the rest of the day is pure freedom. What this means is that the paperwork and back office stuff for each deal gets put off to another day. These days are much longer than my cold calling days. In fact, they’re usually about three times longer on average, but sometimes more. In all reality, I actually look forward to the cold calling days now because of the freedom that comes when I’m done! Who doesn’t like that idea?
3. Be a Counselor
Always remember, you’re not really selling. Everyone has this idea of the Alec Baldwin character from Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross when they think about sales. That it’s a tough racket and everyone in the business is a shark. That’s the mentality you’re trying to overcome when prospecting. Now, of course this is how you make you’re living, but you need to think of yourself not as a salesman, but as a counselor. You’re literally solving someone’s problem or need with your product. In my own case of distressed real estate, I’m literally helping to save people from foreclosure. When I know that 1 in 7 people aren’t paying their mortgage right now, I know that I need to pick up that phone and save someone. I need to listen and to educate on what they need. How can I fix that need? Cold calling that is effective is really just listening.
2. Make it a Game
People are meant to grow and salesmen (or counselors!) are no different. When you’re cold calling you need to make it a game. You need to set goals just outside what you think you’re capable of and then go after it with passion and earnestness. When you comport yourself with respect and integrity in your sales you’ll find that you can do a lot more than you previously thought you were capable of.
1. Make it Material
Why are you cold calling? Are you calling just to put a number in a bank account? Of course not! You’re calling because you want to accomplish some goal or acquire some item. It could be as simple as wanting a new book, a new car, a new home or some other material goal, or as complex as putting together a college savings plan for the new baby. Whatever it is you need to make it material and manifest. Print it out and tape it to your computer monitor or next to your desk. Wherever it is you’re working you need to have that physical, material reminder of why you’re putting yourself through this task you wouldn’t otherwise do.
If you lack that manifest reminder it is far too easy to do the mental self bargaining that says “I can do without” or “I can do it tomorrow.” You don’t want to go down that path as it creates negative momentum. Sometimes success is as simple as writing it down and making it manifest in the world.
No one likes to cold call. It’s not a natural human activity. Unless we’re natural born jerks we don’t like the idea of being intrusive in someone’s life that we’ve never met. In order to be successful at cold calling we need to change our mindset to change our success. Through preparation, both physical and mental we can go a long way towards being successful in one of the oldest and most effective methods of prospecting.