Ever won the lottery? Yah, me neither! Avoid dialing random numbers out of the phone book to sell your product or service. The chances of cold calling your target market will be as effective as playing the lottery.
Cold calling is a highly debated topic among sales experts. Some say it is a complete waste of time, while others have built entire sales careers by cold calling. Cold calling can work; you just got to approach it correctly. Here are a few tips:
1. Qualify Your Calls.
Maybe salespeople find cold calling difficult because they do it all wrong. Cold calling is not about calling anybody. You need to know whom you are calling, whom you may want to talk to and why they may need your product or service.
For example, if you sell ham & cheese scones and you cold call an orthodox Jewish synagogue, there’s a good chance they won’t need your scones for any meal.
Instead Try This! Find a list of coffee shops & delis. Call and ask to speak with the food purchaser. When you finally get to speak with him or her, perhaps they will be interested in carrying your ham & cheese scones in their establishment.
Sales work is about meeting needs and wants. You must contact those who need or may want what you are selling.
2. Get To The Right Person Right Away.
When I would make cold calls, I would state whom I was calling for and then make a habit of kindly asking if I was speaking to the right person. This was always appreciated. If you don’t get to the right person, you’ll end up pitching your sale to the secretary or the temporary worker, or heck, maybe even the janitor if your luck is bad enough. We call these people the gatekeepers. You have to get by the gatekeepers and sometimes that’s tricky.
Solutions: Keep your matter confidential. You don’t need to tell the gatekeeper what you’re calling about. Often times they’ll take the liberty of deciding whether your call is important or not. Ask to be connected and give your name…that’s all. No luck…then simply try again later.
Secondly, ask to be put through to voicemail. Voicemail is effective. Make certain to leave a professional voicemail. A message that is short and sweet with your name & number stated twice is helpful.
3. Know Your Product!
Let’s say you’ve had success thus far. You qualified your call, you’ve reached the individual you planned to reach and now it’s “ShowTime.”
You need to know your product well. There are no excuses here. If your product knowledge is sub-par you’re wasting everybody’s time. If you are lucky, you may talk with someone who knows little about your product yet is still interested. On the other hand, you may end up talking to the guy who helped invent your product.
Solutions: First let’s state the obvious. You should gather all the possible information provided on your product or service from your company. Also, actively participate in any training that might increase your product knowledge. Pursue information about your product by searching online, reading, or speaking with a seasoned veteran.
Secondly, make a ‘questions book.’ Before selling your product or service, satisfy all of your own curiosities. This will take care of a lot of basic questions. Write down the questions and answers in your book or on your computer.
Cold calling is not relationship-based, so your best strategy is to know the ‘who, what, when, where and why’s’ of your product or service. This way your potential buyer may decide to listen to you even if they aren’t interested in taking a sales call.
Good luck with your cold calls! Remember to warm them up by qualifying each call. Be strategic in getting to the right people and make good use of everyone’s time by knowing what you’re talking about. The confidence you will experience will put you in a position to lead every sale. And for a customer, exploring product benefits with a knowledgeable sales person, is time worth spent- So why not be that person?