Cold calling is a necessary skill for any salesperson, telemarketer, entrepreneur, and the like. However, the ability to persuade an unfamiliar person that you’re calling to do something (i.e. buy a product, sign up for a service, donate, etc.) seems shrouded in mystery. You’re probably wondering, just how do you do it? What can go wrong during a cold call?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more about what no one tells you about cold calling, including:
How cold calling really is scary at first
How it actually gets easier
Why what you say matters
The importance of the method you use to reach prospects
Cold Calling IS Scary at First
Much like public speaking, cold calling inspires fear in the hearts of many. In the age of Internet-reliant communication, contacting another unknown party can trigger some anxiety, to say the least. Therefore, it would be disingenuous to say that ISN’T scary.
There are a lot of what-if’s that pop up for those new to cold calling:
What if they yell at me?
Will I embarrass myself?
What happens if I mess up my words?
What if the customer actually wants to buy/signup/donate?
And many more…
The truth is that cold calling can make you incredibly self-conscious. You may have thought you were a competent salesperson, but in reality, you might actually be an amateur. As a result, this can be devastating for many people’s egos…
Luckily, there is hope.
It Gets Easier. Much Easier
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
As mentioned in the introduction, cold calling is a skill. And just like any skill–typing without looking at the keyboard, playing a musical instrument, or cooking – you get better the more times you do it. Practice makes perfect, yes. Consequently, perfect practice makes you better.
Often, diving headfirst into cold calling can be a trial by fire. For some, this approach works and dispels the fear relatively quick. However, this can be daunting for novices.
Instead, you may want to try a different mindset. Think back to the last time that you contacted your bank, utility company, or other professional organization. In a way, you were cold calling a representative of the company and persuading them to assist you. Now, by comparison, calling an individual on the phone is similar but works in reverse.
What You Say Matters
The words and phrases that you say during a cold call are extremely important for a number of conscious and subconscious reasons. Without going in-depth, here are a few words and phrases that you definitely want to avoid saying in cold calls:
“I’m sorry for bothering you, but…” (Don’t apologize for doing your job or begin on a negative note).
“Is now a good time?” (Try to believe that what you’re offering is worth their time).
“How are you?” (For a cold call, this is more of a filler than anything else and doesn’t establish a genuine rapport).
Using the word “just” (This word minimizes your intentions).
“You should” (Commands like this create resentment, as no one likes to be told what to do).
Defining anything as “Cheap” (Unless it is directly related to a marketing campaign, cheap is virtually synonymous with shoddy and valueless).
“Trust me” (Trust is developed over time, so using this actually implies the opposite).
On the other hand, the following phrases and words work well in cold calls, warming up those you’re calling and intriguing your prospects:
“Thanks for taking my call.” (A common courtesy).
The word “Value” (Everyone is looking for value in their life and work).
“Can you help me?” (This shows that you’re working on behalf of the customer).
“Yes.” (Hearing an affirmative is a positive).
Using the word “because…” (Confidently explaining an issue shows cause-and-effect for better understanding).
The customers’ names. (Everyone likes to hear their name).
How You Reach Prospects is Important
Sometimes, you can influence a prospect before you even say a word.
The number that appears on the caller ID is very important. An unfamiliar phone number will often put a recipient on-guard – or positioned to not even answer at all. This can be compounded with the use of business phone numbers that contain unfamiliar country codes and area codes.
For instance, suppose you are reaching callers with virtual phone numbers. By ensuring that your call has the same country code and area code of the person you’re trying to reach, the recipient already assumes that you’re a local business entity, making them more likely to be suspicious of your intentions (even if you want to help them!).
In conclusion, as you can see, cold calling is more than just dialling a prospect’s number and winging it in hopes of closing a deal. Above all, by understanding the secrets of cold calling, you can increase your success and make it a more enjoyable experience.