“Cold calling is dead.”
I’m sure you have heard this phrase repeated over and over again. It seems increasingly common for sales people to believe that cold calling is dead, and it almost brings solace to some sales people to feel like they don’t need to cold call anymore.
I’m baffled by that though…because without cold calling, how would you get sales? I know, I know, cold calling calling methodologies have changed, but the fact of the matter is you still need to call on customers. The term cold calling has taken on a negative connotation, however in reality all that cold calling is is making sales calls. And sales people need to make sales calls.
In order to convert a lead to a customer, you need to make that first call (whether it’s in person, by email, or by phone). Without a sales call, you cannot close sales.
The reason that so many sales people are frustrated with cold calling is because potential customers HATE it…and increasingly so. The opinion of potential customers greatly affects the practices of the seller. That is absolutely true. I think that people have always been averse to being “cold called,” however in today’s world, where we, as consumers, have the ability to choose what information we receive (or don’t receive), being cold called seems to be even more of an inconvenience.
So the challenge that sales people face today is two-fold:
- How can we change prospects’ opinion of being cold called by us?
- How can we begin to enjoy the process of cold calling once again?
How can we change prospects’ opinion of being cold called by us?
This is where we can really take advantage of technology today. As sales people, we no longer need to call anyone and everyone, hoping to find an interested party. Instead, we can do ample amounts of research to determine who our ideal customer is. Then those are the prospects that we focus on calling on (if you want to get a crash course on ideal prospecting, visit www.livingsalescourse.com).
When you develop your ideal customer profile, you’ll be able to focus on customers that already have a higher likelihood of being interested in what you are selling.
I will expand further on how you can pre-introduce yourself by using social media and other means to create a personal brand that they are familiar with (that supplements the brand your company already has). You should utilize social media to begin interacting with your target customers. If you are in B2B sales, this would involve following and interacting with decision makers and the companies you are targeting, and interacting with them online. If you are in B2C sales, you can make sure to interact with customers in forums, discussions online, hashtag conversations, and more.
How can we begin to enjoy the process of cold calling once again?
It is imperative that, as salespeople, we stop memorizing scripts and thinking that there is a one-size-fits-all formula. People are turned off by cold calling because they feel like it isn’t personable. And sales reps are turned off by both customers’ opinions and the fact that they can’t be themselves because they are memorizing a script (which is why customers are turned off…vicious cycle, huh?).
Identifying your ideal prospect, focusing your efforts on them, and then being YOURSELF when you talk to them will allow you to enjoy the experience, and will also make your customer feel less threatened. Plus, if you are focused on your ideal prospect, you will find more customers who say “Yes,” which will only boost your excitement about the process further.
In summary, cold calling isn’t dead…it just takes a bit more creative work than it used to, and ultimately allows the sales process to be more personal.
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