Everyone hates to call a stranger, its just part of human nature. We like people to introduce us to others, using them as a bridge to go over to the other side. Unfortunately, as much as you hate to speak to strangers, if you are in sales then you have to do it. There are no buts or why. Cold calling does for sales what fire does for cooking. You might be a great cook, written twenty books about how to do it, but when it comes to cooking on a stove you cant do without fire. The only way you will find new customers in sales is by calling them and speaking to them about your company.
Some tips on effective cold calling:
- Try calling during the times that you feel the most energetic and enthusiastic. This is usually in the morning time or when you arrive at work. Think of your prospects as new friends that you can make. Remember people would rather buy from their friends than strangers.
- Use a web site like switchboard.com to research businesses around the country before you call. If a customer sees that you are knowledgeable about their company, they will listen to you.
- You should always have a greeting in your mind before you call a customer. Try to stay away from using the usual sales greeting like, "hi, can I help you?" or "hi, do I have a deal for you!" You have a very short time before the prospects patience is going to run out and they will hang up. For this reason try to sound friendly and at the same time interest them by relating their business to your product line or service. The only way someone tunes in is when they hear their name.
- Make friends with all the gatekeepers at various companies that you are trying to speak with. The receptionists, secretaries, and administrative assistants stand between you and the person who makes all the decisions. By convincing the ones in the middle, it will be easier for you to convince the decision-maker. If you are friends with these people, they will even put in a word for you.
- If the customer doesnt want to talk any more and tells you to mail him something, then he is obviously not interested. That doesnt mean you should just hang up the call. Ask him a few more questions by telling him that you need more information from him so you could send him the right paperwork. This gives you another opportunity to interest the customer in your product and maybe a meeting with you.
- If you get a no once, dont despair. Call again in couple of weeks and keep calling in that order until the customer sits down with you to listen to your sales pitch. Persistence is the mother of all rejections. If you keep at "no", it will soon turn into a "yes".