It is clear from our sales training courses that cold calling is a key reason why so many people are deterred from pursuing a career in sales.
But cold calling is a fundamental part of selling and, if you are just beginning a career in sales, the chances are that you’re going to have to master it if you ever want to rise up the career ladder and earn higher commissions. Just ask any of the top sales professionals in today’s marketplace who are earning six figure salaries and most will tell you that being able to pick up the phone to a senior decision maker and getting an appointment provided the very basis for their later success.
Having taken a step back and observed the thousands of sales professionals who have attended our sales training programmes, it is clear to us that cold callers need to be mentally prepared if they are to be successful sales people. After all, to say “I hate cold calling!” is a self-induced mental state that will get you nowhere.
Maintaining a positive attitude is easier than it sounds and will lead to heightened success, more sales, and higher commissions. A positive mindset is more easily achieved by implementing what we call the “4 P’s of Getting an Appointment” to get past the gatekeeper when cold calling:
Thoroughly research the company or the industry which you are targeting. Make sure that you know the pressures and pains facing the buying organisation and use them to your advantage during the phone call to create interest in your product or service. This will lay the groundwork that will enable you to communicate insight, value and credibility later on during the call. Also make sure that you are well aware of the buying organisation’s objectives. If possible, find out the gatekeeper’s name and the target’s name.
Open the conversation with the gatekeeper by explaining your reasons for making the call. Let them know who you are, the name of the person who you would like to speak to and, criticially, why you would like to speak to your target. This is why it is essential that you prepare beforehand! It is very important that you set out a clear purpose if you want to be taken seriously by the person who picks up the phone. Failing to do so is unlikely to result in an appointment with a senior decision maker.
Let the gatekeeper know that you’ll keep the conversation short and include a quick (researched) line which demonstrates your knowledge of the target company, the industry they operate in and some of the challenges they face.
This is the bit most sales people miss. Let the gatekeeper and the target know exactly how you will help the decision maker. Offer measurable results and provide them with references and testimonials from similar customers which you have satisfied in the past. This will gain you credibility and accelerate interest on the prospect’s behalf.
For more information and advice on how to improve your cold calling techniques check out the following article:
Written by: Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase