WHEN you’re selling something and think you’ve already saturated the market composed of your friends and the friends of your friends, and nothing happened, then what would you do? If you’re doggedly determined, you’ll go for cold calling. The trouble is that “cold calling is one of the most difficult parts of selling,” according to Jeffrey Gitomer, a self-proclaimed “king of sales” who wrote 13 “best-selling” books including The Sales Bible (2003).
Cold calling is difficult because “it has a bad reputation. Most people find cold calls intrusive and obnoxious,” says marketing expert Charlie Cook. It is challenging but it doesn’t mean you’ll cross it off from your sales and marketing strategies. You have to try it at least once in your lifetime to discover how it could fit into your corporate system. As long as you do a respectful, polite way of gate-crashing (if there’s such a thing), then you don’t have to worry.
Remember you’ve not yet met your prospect before and you know there’s 99.5 percent chance you’ll be snubbed. I tried it many times before, and I swear that the word “difficulty” has become an understatement.
“The reason most cold calls fail is simply because they’re done wrong,” says Cook in his Marketing for Success blog. So, how would you proceed? First and foremost, and as I’ve said it before, look at it in a positive manner where you welcome rejection. It’s like you know you’re ugly but still you persists in going after that beautiful woman of your dreams. After all, if you don’t persist and ask her, the answer is always “NO” – which literally means “next opportunity.”
If you do ask and received a rejection, the next best thing is to search for many lessons out of countless rejections that you received. Believe me, you’ll get satisfaction out of it even if you don’t have any sadistic tendencies.
You’ve to personally experiment with cold calling to find out all those challenges before you can even outsource or assign such task to your workers. You can’t tell others what you don’t have experienced before. You’ve to personally understand how cold-calling works and how you can get many benefits out of it.
Now, let’s consider a scenario that you’re selling a management seminar, software or any product via email to a person whom you’ve not met before. How would you experiment with cold calling?
Gitomer says you’ve to “deliver your opener” with “a smooth sincere line” that must “come across in the first 30 seconds often” although he admits that this is not always the case. To test that proposition, let’s explore the following situation as if you’re selling my Kaizen Blitz program. Let’s experiment with the following opening email statement minus the salutation which could be another interesting topic for us in the future.
Here it is: “Are you sure your team is proactively conscious of eliminating your operational wastes? Do you know how much money you’re losing in the process? Are you still using the manual and tedious Time-and-Motion Study to calculate your losses? Let’s talk, if you’re interested to discover a better solution. We can even give you a free trial.”
Boom! That’s 56 words that can be read by your prospect in less than 30 seconds. Gitomer recommends we have to “get to the point fast.” We have to connect right away because we’re assuming that everyone is busy. Out of five sentences, three thought-provoking questions are made upfront, with the last two sentences offering your prospect to consider trying your solution for free!
Is there a better way than that? Of course! That’s why you have to do a lot of experiments with at least 100 sales prospects. Then adjust your approach for the next 100 prospects according to the queries or comments you’re getting. But be ready. Consider yourself lucky if you can get five replies out of 100 cold calls. No need to worry about that low figure.
Cook says our “first objective with a prospect isn’t to sell to them. Before a sale can take place you need to establish rapport and find out what they want and need.” Note that in our example, we’re not even selling. We’re only asking three interesting questions. If your first 100 prospects have ignored your questions, then revise them to come up with robust questions and challenge your prospects to agree with an eyeball-to-eyeball appointment.
Selling is a numbers game. The more you do cold calling, the more chance of selling. With your positive attitude and action, you can beat rejection anytime. Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, and Colonel Sanders are some examples of many success stories out there. Where would they be without their attitude to succeed?
Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to email@example.com or via https://reyelbo.consulting