One common method of contact, of course, is cold calling. And if there’s one thing salespeople fear and hate, it’s cold calling!
But sometimes you have no choice but to pick up that phone and start calling potential customers. It’s a fact of life, and most of us have had to go through it at one time or another, just to get prospects.
So, if you must endure cold calling, if you must do it, how can it be made easier or at least less painful?
Probably the best cold calling pain relief is research.
At SELLability we teach that you should conduct as much research on a prospect as possible before you contact them. Research is the second step of the SELLability sales process, right after Prospecting. Prospecting basically builds your database of potential prospects—you then research each potential prospect in as much detail as possible before you contact them. (For more information on the sales process, click on the link at the bottom of this blog and sign up at SELLability).
Years back before the internet, unless you had been referred to the prospect and were able to pick up some info about them from the person giving you the referral, you were pretty much flying blind. Often it was as crude as picking numbers out of the Yellow Pages, dialing the phone and hoping for the best. But today it’s far easier.
For a company, it’s a matter of checking out their web site, finding out all about them, and figuring out what issues your product or service would solve for them. For an individual, there are social media—almost everyone these days is on Facebook or Instagram. Most professional people are also on LinkedIn. And it’s becoming increasingly common for individuals to have their own web sites, too.
Armed with the right research, that initial cold call is far easier. In fact, you could say that research is done so you don’t have to “cold call” in the traditional sense of the word.
Opening Questions
Even with research is done, though, you can still feel a bit awkward calling someone right out of the blue. Besides that, a person being cold-called can be a bit peeved about having their day being interrupted by a salesperson. You might get lucky and encounter someone who is social and likes to talk—but more often, you’re going to reach someone who just wants to get off the phone. Of course, the better you follow the Research step as above, the less “cold” the call will be.
The idea of a cold call, though, is to get someone talking. It’s a great idea to be armed with some harmless, non-controversial kinds of questions to get them to do just that. Here are some examples:
• What would the ideal product or service do for you?
• What would you say you’re trying to achieve from your position?
• What has been your past prior experience with a similar product or service?
• What problems should such a product or service solve for you?
If you spend a little time at it, you can come up with some of your own questions to get people talking, that tie in with the products and services you sell.
Knowing Your Product or Service
We should add that, if you’re going to cold call, product knowledge on your part is an absolute must. When you manage to get the person’s interest and attention, they’re going to have questions. You’d better be able to answer them accurately, quickly and satisfactorily, or you’ll probably lose that prospect and not get them back.
If you have to cold call, it doesn’t have to be the painful experience it once was. If you have to cold call:
• know your product
• fully research the prospect
• be armed with some sample questions.
Good luck!
For more information and precise training on the 8 C’s of Selling, please visit