Self-Care for Cold Callers – Part 2

Cold callers are faced with challenges every day.  In our previous blog (Part 1), we suggested tips that cold callers can use to manage their well-being:  leveraging training to be as prepared as possible, focusing on learning opportunities as they make calls (continuous improvement), and understanding what they can control and what they cannot control.

Other aspects of cold calling success are tied to environmental factors – in particular, with whom and where we work.

In my experience, I’ve learned that it’s most helpful to work in a TEAM environment.  This way you’re surrounded by others who are doing the same thing and facing the same challenges. You can get support from your team, and you can celebrate wins with your team. You can learn from the experiences of other team members, and you can share what you’ve learned as well. You’re looking for a team that loves what they do.  Whether you are working virtually or in an office with the rest of your team members present, leverage the opportunity to share and exchange experiences and ideas.

Another aspect of environment is the type of organization you work for.  Ideally, you should work for an organization that understands and VALUES THE SALES FUNCTION.  I’ve found that organizations that value sales tend to be more successful in their missions.  Clearly, as revenue generators, you have high value to the organization. Your skills are critical.  An organization that values sales will reward achieving the objective and won’t penalize a salesperson for factors that are beyond their scope.  For example, my sales team is responsible for setting appointments and they are rewarded for this accomplishment.  They are not penalized if the appointment needs to be changed or cancelled because we value the fact that they have achieved their objective.

Working in a team environment in an organization that values the sales function will set you up for success and you can anticipate having many more GOOD SELLING days than bad selling days.

And what’s a good selling day?  At the end of a good day you’ve had wonderful conversations, helped build relationships that will lead to potential revenue, learned something in the process either from team members or from your own experiences, and shared what you’ve learned with others to strengthen your team.

Cold calling is our sweet spot.  We LOVE creating the plan, building selling skills, and making cold 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, call us at 908.879.2911.

Good Selling!

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! 

Sales Tips for Success: Do What They Aren’t!

When asked for Sales Tips for Success, I always include the reminder that you should ‘Do what they aren’t’. By that, I mean, do what your competition ISN’T doing.

Don’t necessarily follow the crowd

Yes, stats may show that Cold Calling Success rates are 46% higher on Wednesdays than they are on Mondays but that usually just means that your prospects are now going to be bombarded by cold callers on Wednesday.

What to do instead

I suggest that you have a regular call schedule and that you call consistently, not haphazardly nor based on the last stat you read or heard. And I also recommend calling on Friday afternoons! Some people may be gone for the day but the people who DO pick up will probably be more cheerful. This is also true of the days before, and the ‘short’ weeks after, long weekends. 

Zig when they Zag

The concept of ‘Zigging when others Zag’ is not new. You see it in quotes, as book titles and in too many blogs and podcasts to count. It is used in fields as varied as financial investment to business leadership, in marketing and here, in sales. It is good advice but if you look around, you don’t usually see it implemented.  EVERYONE is using the same, salesy script and the same, robotic delivery. And now, because of that stat, they are probably doing it on Wednesday!

Be brave – take a chance and ZIG.

Coco Chanel had the right idea

One of my favorite quotes is from Coco Chanel. She said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”. I would take it a step further and say that in order to be successful in sales, one must always be different.

When making Cold Calls, you don’t want to sound like every other sales caller. You don’t want to sound salesy and turn off your prospects before you even have a chance to qualify them. I always say that Cold Calling is about HAVING CONVERSATIONS, not making sales. Approaching your calls with this attitude will shift not only your mindset but the receptivity of your prospect.

Pick up the phone

The humble phone has lost its status as ‘most valuable sales tool’. There are so many other platforms and tools out there that are cheaper, more automated and easier to use that actual phone calling gets lost in the shuffle. I am not saying that you shouldn’t include some of these in your toolkit. I am a huge fan of my CRM (VanillaSoft – click here to learn more!) and social media can be invaluable for networking, building brand awareness and keeping you top of mind. But you still can’t beat the phone for making a real, PERSONAL connection. And personal connections are the foundation for closed sales.

Your Voice = Human Touch

With the prevalence of automated and robo calls, your voice can really make a difference. It can be the human touch and differentiator that helps you stand out from the crowd, making you and what you represent, irreplaceable.

Do you need more sales tips for success? Check out our blogmy podcast series ‘Conversational Selling’ and our videos. 

Optimism increases Sales

They say that optimists see the glass as half full. I say that optimists see a full sales pipeline!

Let me explain.

Which would you rather spend time with – a person who is grumpy and glum or a positive, happy person? I would take the positive one every time! And when making cold calls, that positive attitude can be the difference between keeping a prospect on the phone until they set an appointment and having them hang up.

Now don’t get me wrong, hang ups happen, and sometimes, if they weren’t a good fit, that works in your favor – saving you time and effort. But if you want to keep people on the phone long enough to see if they ARE a good fit, a positive outlook is key.

Put on those ‘Rose Colored Glasses’.

Optimism is defined as “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.”

In a business where so much of your day can be determined by the actions of others, it is great to know that this is something you can drive. What you ‘expect’ and what you ‘dwell on’ are both within YOUR control.

Control those and you gain more control over your results.

Data supports the claim.

Studies show that optimists outsell pessimists, in some cases by many times over! Here is an example of the results from a study done by Dr Martin Seligman, an expert in ‘positive psychology’, from just two industries:

                  Insurance 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.

                  Real Estate 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 33 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by a whopping 319 percent. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to be unrealistically optimistic. You need to be able to acknowledge challenges and obstacles. I am suggesting that you confidently address them and move one. That you focus on the silver lining rather than the clouds. Don’t dwell on the hang-ups or the unanswered calls, rather, focus on the person you are going to speak with next. Be present and enjoy meeting them. Learn about their needs and see how you can help!  

And yes, you can take this too far. Being blindly optimistic can be detrimental to your sales goals. Sitting at your desk, or worse yet, on a distant beach, imagining that prospects will start calling YOU probably won’t fill your pipeline.  

But a good dose of optimism WILL boost your confidence, your outlook and your bottom line! 

For more on this see our post Control What You Can in Sales and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for daily sales tips, advice and periodic boosts of optimism!

Cold Calling Tips: How Much Should YOU be Talking on a Sales Call?

How much should you be talking on a Sales call? I recently came across a post from SalesHacker, which suggested that “the best talk-to-listen ratio is 55%:45%.”

They went on to explain, “as a salesperson, you’re taught to do more listening than talking. This is true in some stages of the sales process, but not in a cold call. Gong.io says the most successful talk-to-listen ratio is 55% : 45%, with agents talking more than the prospect. A good rule of thumb is to prepare to carry the majority of the conversation and calibrate yourself to keep your talk level at just over half of the potential customer’s.”

I disagree!

We recommend a 70/30 ratio with the sales person doing only 30% of talking.

A Cold Call is a DISCOVERY call – the only way you will discover if it is worth scheduling an appointment with the prospect is if you let THEM do the talking!

Your job, when Cold Calling, is to engage the prospect in a conversation and ask key, probing questions to determine if they are a good fit for your product or services. To do that, you need to LISTEN more than talk.

Yes, you need to be prepared with questions but you need to be sure to leave time and room on the call to HEAR the answers.

How much should YOU be talking on a Sales call?

Here are some more posts and podcasts on this topic:

Active Listening: It is more than just hearing what your prospect is saying

Prepare for Cold Calling Success

My podcast with Laurel Bernstein on ‘How Active Listening Can Help You Sell More Effectively’

Need help mastering the art of Listening? Give us a call! Our time proven sales system will show you what to say, how and when to say it and how to really listen.

Contact me at 908.879.2911 or nancy@oneofakindsales.com to learn more and to get started TODAY! 

How to Leave a Voicemail When Cold Calling

How many of YOUR Cold Calls are going to voicemail? How many of your voicemails are getting returned?

According to a 2019 survey by RingLead, 80% of cold calls go to voicemail. And that is actually an improvement over the 2013 stat, by sales strategist Jill Konrath who stated that, at the time, 97% of calls were going to voicemail.

Either way, having your call go to voicemail is a VERY common outcome when Cold Calling. This is true for ALL calls. This post will address how to leave a voicemail when Cold Calling and more importantly, how to leave a voicemail that will get a return call.

Why bother? 

First, let’s be clear – you should ALWAYS leave a voicemail when Cold CallingIt’s free. It’s a chance to make a connection and a positive impression – do it!

Don’t do an info dump! 

I cannot stress enough that you should NOT use this opportunity to dump all your info on your prospect’s voice mail.

You should NOT do an info dump face to face either, but that is a topic for another time.

Make it compelling 

Be interesting. Be curious. Be intriguing. Give them a reason to return your call. 

For example, say, “your name came up recently in a conversation and it motivated me to reach out to you.”

Keep it short and simple 

Enough said.

Use a script 

As we noted above, the odds are good that you will be sent to voicemail. Don’t treat it like an afterthought.

This interaction is just as important as your live conversation with the prospect. Have it worked out and written down so you can follow it seamlessly.

Don’t have a script? Don’t know what to say? Call us at 908.879.2911 – we can craft an effective script that gets helps YOU set more qualified appointments and leave voicemail messages that get returned.

Be natural 

But be sure that you don’t sound like a robot when you are leaving your (scripted) voicemail message. People get enough robocalls! Differentiate yourself by being natural and human.

Be Ready 

Be prepared to WOW them if/ when they do return the call.

There is nothing worse than someone returning your call to follow up on what you said in the voicemail, and you don’t remember or know what they are talking about!

A WARM call 

When they return your call, it is no longer a COLD call. They have ‘met’ you – they have heard your voice and have an idea of how you can help them.

This is now an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who has expressed some interest. Don’t blow it!

Tech is your friend 

We use VanillaSoft Sales Engagement software to pre-record our voicemail messages. This allows us to perfect the scripting, tone and cadence so we can drop a great version into their voicemail every time!

Click here to learn more about VanillaSoft.

Not a Deal Closer 

A voicemail is just one of many touchpoints with a prospect. It is not designed to close a deal but to open the door to having a productive call.

Good luck and keep dialing!

Do you need help with YOUR Cold Calling scripts? Would you like our pros to take care of your Cold Calling for you? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 or click here to set up a time to talk!

Need more Cold Calling tips? Check out:

Prepare for Cold Calling Success.

A Better Approach to Cold Calling.

Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success – Step 1: The Cold Call.