Self-Care for Cold Callers – Part 1

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of articles about self-care. Why?  Probably because of the pandemic and the additional STRESS we have experienced dealing with a situation that is out of our control. Often these articles are about “self-care for parents,” or “self-care for people balancing work and family.”  Self-care means taking action to preserve your physical and/or mental health so that you can do what you need to do without causing yourself harm.

It occurred to me that nobody ever talks about self-care when it comes to salespeople.  We have highly stressful jobs – and no part of selling is more stressful than cold calling.  A good percentage of the time people are saying “NO” to us. Clearly this is a situation that is ripe for stress. We need to engage in self-care to continue to do it well. 

So, what is self-care for cold calling?

In my experience, self-care for cold calling starts with the basics:

Be PREPARED. Train, practice, review the script, and internalize it.  Honing your skills as a salesperson will strengthen your sales capabilities and increase your confidence. You’ll reduce your stress levels as a result.

Next, think of each conversation you have as a LEARNING opportunity.  Listen to what the prospect is telling you and pay attention to what you are picking up indirectly from the conversation.  Can you draw any conclusions that might lead to a smoother discussion the next time?  If so, then you’ve learned something new!

Another important part of self-care is understanding what you can CONTROL and what you cannot control. For example, in cold calling your mission is deceptively simple: call someone you don’t know with the objective of gaining agreement to move to the next step. What can you control in this situation?  You control what you say, your level of preparation, and the number of dials. But you can’t control other things. You can’t control the number of conversations you have, and you can’t control how the prospect responds.  So, if you get a negative response, you should be aware that factors outside of your control are influencing the decision. 

In my opinion, cold calling is one of the most challenging aspects of selling. And it takes a special person to do it well. Self-care is key to ensuring success.

Stay tuned for Self-Care for Cold Calling – Part 2 for more on how you can keep ‘on point’ in this challenging business!

Cold calling is our specialty – from creating the plan, to building the skills, to making the calls. If you need help creating an environment that is supportive for an effective cold calling team or want to add cold calling to your sales mix, give us a call at 908.879.2911.

Good Selling! 

Drumroll Please – Our End of Year Survey Results are IN

In this post, I will show you the results of our End of Year, 2021 Prospecting Survey and share my takeaways. 

First, a big thank you to everyone who participated – I truly appreciate your taking the time to share your experience! 

The Survey 

The survey was short, only 3 questions. The goal was to see what is working for YOU and to identify YOUR preferred methods of prospecting. 

People were allowed to pick multiple options and to write in any that were not on the list.

What works? 

The first question was: “What mode of communication is most effective for you when prospecting?”

As you can see from the screenshot above, Email came in first. As a die-hard Cold Calling fan, I was happy to see that Phone Calls came in a close second.  

And I will note that one person wrote in, ‘direct mail’ as their choice.

Which tactics do YOU prefer? 

The next question was, “What is YOUR preferred mode of communication when prospecting?” 

Someone wrote in Direct Mail for this question as well. 

It was interesting to see the same first and second place entries and I wonder if some of this is because people tend to use the tactics they are most comfortable with. 

Age range 

The third question asked people to indicate their age range. We did have a good mix of participants and because there weren’t any large discrepancies in the results, I didn’t drill down to cross reference by age.

Some surprises 

I was surprised that LinkedIn came in so low. Clearly, more people need to tap into the power of that platform. I will address this in a future post.

And it seems that video is also underused. As much as I LOVE Cold Calling, it really is only  one part of a comprehensive outreach plan. Remember to use all tools at your disposal!

Some takeaways and insights 

Again, it is clear that people are still uncomfortable picking up the phone and talking to a stranger. They are still more comfortable with text or email – but neither of those tactics offer human connection. And we KNOW that human connection drives engagement and sales. 

A lot of people think they need to reach out to a potential prospect via email before cold calling – to ‘warm them up’. That is a falsehood. Emails don’t warm anyone up and opening an email doesn’t mean they read it. When they pick up a phone, at least you KNOW you are talking to them.   

And you know that you are standing out. Not lost in a sea of emails in an inbox. 

We have found, over and over, that people are happy to talk to strangers – it is just how you approach it.  

When you launch into selling mode or start off by listing your features and benefits you can be sure they will be turned off and disconnect.  

No one cares about Features and Benefits – they are busy and care only about their own world. Showing them that you understand that world and explaining how your service and insights can help them succeed and get ahead in that world, IS of interest! 

ADDING value to the prospect’s day and business is all that matters. Focus there.

You must keep in mind that what the person values is key – not necessarily what you are there to sell. And to understand what they value, you need to ask the right questions and LISTEN to the answers! 

Click on the links below for some articles on the right questions to ask and how to actively listen:

https://oneofakindsales.com/how-to-create-an-effective-cold-calling-script/ 

https://oneofakindsales.com/laurel-bernstein-how-active-listening-can-help-you-sell-more-effectively/ 

Give Cold Calling a chance 

To all of those who didn’t choose Cold Calling as a tactic that works for them, I challenge you to TRY it! 

I don’t mean to just pick up the phone and dial. I mean to really set up an effective Cold Calling Campaign and see the results. Or better yet, have us implement one for you (click here to learn more about how we can make Cold Calls and set qualified appointments for YOU.

What do YOU think? 

If you didn’t participate and you would like to take the brief survey, click here

I will keep it live through the end of March and I will revisit/ revise this post if there are any significant changes. 

Thank you again and keep Prospecting!

What Everybody Needs to Know About Cold Calling

I will let you in on a little secret. Do you know what everybody needs to know about cold calling? It’s that CONFIDENCE is a key component of successful Cold Calling! 

What everybody needs to know about cold calling 

I have mentioned before that you can’t bluster your way through a sales call. Prospects can smell the BS a mile away (through a phone, email or text) and that will prematurely end your chances of ever making a real sale. But they can also detect CONFIDENCE and that leads to TRUST, appointments and sales. 

According to Close.com, “93% of the potential success of your cold call is attributed to the tone of your voice during the conversation.” (1) This makes sense – on a cold call, all a prospect has to go by is your voice and delivery. 

In an Inc article on ‘How Customers Decide to Buy’ they stated, “In a cold call, the customer makes the first decision based upon the tone and confidence in the caller’s voice.” (2)  I would venture to say that subsequent decisions won’t be needed if that first decision isn’t positive!

CLICK TO TWEET

But wait, I don’t FEEL confident 

Many salespeople do NOT feel confident when Cold Calling. Especially if they have had some negative experiences or worse yet, they have never been trained. 

Can I just ‘Fake it Till I Make it’? 

No, this is not a good plan. 

OK, so how do I become more confident? 

There are many facets to confidence but we find that being properly prepared instills a level of confidence in our people that you can hear in their tone and delivery. 

Get the proper training 

Too many salespeople are handed a phone and a list of numbers and let loose to make calls. Most of them fail miserably and then blame the tactic (Cold Calling) when in fact it was their lack of training which caused the poor results. 

Click here to read more about our proprietary sales prospecting training programs that prepare YOU to succeed in sales! 

Get a tune-up 

If you have been a salesperson for any length of time, you know that some skills are timeless (how to engage someone in conversation) and others expire (how to send a fax). Ongoing sales training is a vital part of keeping you on the top of your game. Our sales prospecting program Call Center in a Box, provides training as well as mentoring and modeling to not only show you how to do it correctly but to help you internalize the skills, so you exude confidence on YOUR calls. Our Close the Deal program gives you the tools you need to engage confidently with prospects and, as the title says, Close the Deal! 

Check out this post for more on the importance of ongoing sales training. 

Practice, practice, practice 

As is true in almost any area of life, practice will drive improvement.  

Get feedback 

Find someone who will monitor your calls and give you honest feedback. In our programs we review calls, discuss what worked and didn’t work and then provide them with skill training they need. We also do role playing exercises, allowing them to practice and polish their skills, before they need to engage with actual prospects. 

Mindset plays a big role 

In addition to being properly prepared, you need to stay optimistic. This can be a challenge in our industry but it really does improve outcomes.  

Click here to read more about how optimism increases sales. 

Be prepared 

And yes, it takes more than just speaking skills to carry you through a call. Click here for more on how to prepare yourself for Cold Calling success.  

Pick up that phone 

So, make a plan and execute it daily. Prepare yourself and practice. Then pick up that phone and start dialing. 

If you need help with the plan, the skills or the practice, give us a call at 908.879.2911 – we can help YOU build the confidence YOU need to succeed in the new year! 

Good luck and best wishes for a prosperous new year! 

Selling During Covid – the 2022 Edition

Welcome to the New Year!

I want to get straight to the point and address the elephant in the room. Covid is still raging and its presence is still impacting our businesses. We have made some headway and there is reason to expect the year to improve but for now, I want to give you some advice for selling during covid – a 2022 edition.

How have things changed?

2021 brought us a vaccine and a bit of freedom. It also brought us face-to-face with some things we never really had to address before.

Supply Chain Issues

Supply chain interruptions have disrupted businesses of all stripes. The medical supply, electronics and automotive industries have been hit hardest but if you manufacture ANYTHING, it’s a good bet that these supply breakdowns have affected your ability to build and deliver your products. Things are starting to get back up to speed but you need to keep these disruptions in mind and be sensitive to those whose businesses and bottom lines have been negatively impacted.

Yes, you should stay optimistic, but be cognizant of your prospects’ struggles.

Business As UNusual

Business structures have also changed, in some cases, quite radically. On one hand, you have companies that are back up and running, in person, as they were before the pandemic. On the other hand, there are some that have embraced a new, virtual only, existence. And many are still figuring it all out, trying to make some hybrid of the two, work.

Don’t assume that everyone you call is sitting at a desk in an office or that they are still just down the hall from the decision makers. Be aware of the multitude of configurations now in play and be flexible. Ask what method of communication works best for them and then use it. Selling during covid means that now, more than ever, being flexible and adaptable is mandatory.

Patience is a Virtue – and a Real Necessity

In addition to adapting to these new work logistics, most of us are also juggling numerous personal, family and health changes and challenges. People may have shorter fuses and less patience. Remember that this is in no way a reflection of your worth or skill.

Ask people if it is a good time to talk. If it isn’t, ask when might be better. Be patient and you will be rewarded with their time and attention.

Do NOT Waste Time

When you are able to speak with someone, make sure that you are ready! It is very rare that people ever really have time to kill but for most prospects, time is tighter than ever. Be considerate and don’t waste their time – or your own.

Do NOT Sound Salesy

It is NEVER a good plan to go into hard-sell mode or to sound salesy. But with people’s time and patience stretched thin, sounding like you are trying to sell them something just isn’t going to work.

How are Things Still the Same?

As much as things have changed, most of our tried and true tactics are still effective.

Check out our Cold Calling Success Tips and this post on Active Listening.

We are ALL Starting Over

As Mark Hunter pointed out recently, the new year levels the field. We are ALL starting at zero. The high performers, those that missed their goals last year and everyone in between. Don’t focus on the last year, but the one ahead.

Your Mindset Will Determine Your Outcome

Keep your eyes on the horizon. Focus on what you want to have accomplished by December of this year and stay optimistic.

For more on this, see my post Optimism Increases Sales

Stay Focused

The pandemic has created even more noise and news to distract you. Ignore it! Stay focused on your goals, your KPIs. Perform the activities YOU need to do to meet those goals.

Keeping busy will help you ignore those distractions and once you see the progress you are making, it will be easier to keep going!

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2022 and here’s to hoping we won’t need a 2023 edition about selling during covid!

Here are a few related posts you might also find helpful:

Prospecting Post – Covid

How has the Covid-19 Pandemic Changed Cold Calling?

Sales Prospecting is NOT a Silver Bullet

I live, sleep, eat and breathe prospecting. I LOVE Cold Calling and know how well it works. So when companies tell me ‘Sales prospecting doesn’t work’, I always disagree and say, ‘Yes, it DOES!’.  

When they tell me sales prospecting doesn’t work, I know the real problem is probably not the tactic, but something else.  

Poor Plan 

First, I check that they have a plan. I can’t tell you how many companies that just ‘wing’ this. Doing it when they have time, having random people do it for them, ignoring it when they aren’t successful and generally just kind of hoping something will work.  

If this is the case, the first thing needed is to get a plan in place.  

We help companies set up and train their own inhouse prospecting teams. Or our highly trained Cold Calling experts can do your appointment setting for you. Either way, it starts with a plan designed to meet YOUR goals.  

Our plans include scripting as well as role playing to ensure proper implementation. 

Poor Execution 

You can have a well-designed, highly customized plan, with excellent scripts but if your people are not following it or have no clue how to properly approach and engage with prospects, it probably WON’T work.  

We train our clients’ teams so they understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, how often they need to make calls and what to say on those calls. We prepare them, monitor them, review their progress and assist as needed.  

Properly trained people have better attitudes and higher success rates.  

Lack of Patience 

If someone is complaining that a properly implemented plan, by a well-trained team is not working, my next question is, ‘how long have they been working the plan?’ Unsurprisingly, when the answer is ‘a week’ or even, ‘a month’ the reason is that they haven’t given it enough time. 

See this post for more on how Good Sales Reps Need Time to Produce.

Plant Those Seeds 

Our time-proven process works by reaching out to people, continuously, over time to build relationships with qualified prospects. It is then up to you to nurture those relationships and convert them to closed sales. We can help with that as well, but it does take some time.  

Industries differ 

Some Industries have a shorter timeframe from initial call til close, than others. This is to be expected and planned for. An unrealistic expectation can lead to frustration and a pre-mature end to what would otherwise have been a productive plan.  

Not sure how to set realistic expectations for YOUR team? We have extensive experience in many industries – give us a call to see how we can help YOU more effectively reach YOUR most qualified prospects and close more sales! 

Sales Prospecting WORKS! 

Sales prospecting isn’t a silver bullet – it isn’t a single shot, quick fix. But it does work successfully, across industries, to keep your sales funnel full of qualified leads. If you aren’t prospecting, you are leaving money on the table. Call us today at 908.879.2911 to see how we can help YOU prospect effectively to keep YOUR sales funnel full!