Don’t let the fear of cold calling impede your sales performance. Check out these three fundamentals to break free from prospecting panic.
Fear of cold calling can immobilize a sales rep. Cold calling, prospecting, lead generation – whatever you call it, can be an intimidating exercise. If you or a sales rep you know struggles with making calls, here are three things to do to break the fear of cold calling.
1. Write Value-based Scripts
Actors use scripts. Screenwriters write the scripts. A good movie starts with a good script. Bad script = bad movie. Football players use scripts (X’s and O’s). Call the wrong play and they get stopped. Call a good play and the team moves the ball… or scores. If actors and athletes use scripts, then why shouldn’t salespeople? Good scripts build the foundation of breaking the fear of cold calling.
Instead of selling to the gatekeeper or using manipulative techniques to get past them, use a statement of purpose to establish credibility immediately. Here are a few approaches:
The Research Approach – “I would like to provide you with a copy of our research that shows three ways to reduce downtime for companies like yours.”
The Industry Approach – “We work with 17 companies in the <industry> just like you.”
The Solutions Approach – “Over the last four years, we reduce our clients’ downtime on average of 15%.”
2. Prepare Responses for Objections/Stalls
Objections such as “not interested, we don’t have a need, we don’t take solicitations” all need responses. Write out all of the objections you get when cold calling. Prioritize them based on frequency. Start at the top and write down your responses. Solicit help from other salespeople who have overcome those objections.
For example, when calling a company within one of your target industries and the gatekeeper says, “We’re not interested.” You can simply respond with a smile and say:
“I’m sure. None of our 17 <industry> clients just like you were interested either when we first contacted them. But they did agree to talk with us when we called. Every one of them became a client – when they were ready. May I get connected with <prospect> so I can share some of our case studies and testimonials? ”
3. Practice (a lot) to break the fear of cold calling.
Actor rehearse their scripts for months before filming. Athletes practice their plays during the off-season, pre-season and most days during the week leading up to the big game. Practice so much that cold calling is literally effortless regardless of what the gatekeeper says.
You can practice with your sales manager, peers, during sales meetings, in your one-on-one sessions, or on the way to a sales call. I recommend practicing every week (every day if you can) to improve your skills.
There is no secret sauce to this process. It takes good scripts and endless practice to overcome your fear of cold calling. These are the key ingredients to success. Just ask Tom Hanks or Tom Brady.