Catching the Cold Call the Right Way

I remember the first time that I ever had to make a cold call. It was with a past internship and I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, rejection, forgetting to mention something about the product, forgetting who I was talking to; you name it, I was afraid of it. I read the script like it was my favorite novel instead of trying to hold an actual conversation with the person on the other end. After the opening of the pitch which was just about twenty seconds (only it seemed like an hour), I heard an angry "NO THANK YOU!" and an abrupt phone slam. After throwing a pity party for myself for a second, I realized that I was neither fully prepared for the cold call nor confident. After learning more about cold calling, I became comfortable with calling strangers and able to pitch myself, business, and the product or service I was selling.

Picking up the phone to call a complete stranger and asking for some of their time to listen to you talk about your agenda is NOT easy. Cold calling is one of the hardest things to do in business, especially for newcomers. It takes practice, patience, time, and confidence to master this art. But once mastered, it becomes easier and easier to turn cold calls into actual sales. Additionally, the recession has caused more businesses to be careful with their money and take less risks, thus making the jobs of cold callers even more difficult. Whether you are an experienced salesperson or a novice, you can follow these tips to strengthen your cold calls.

Research
Find your target market that you want to pitch your product/service to. The more specific you are, the better chance you have to create a connection on a common ground. If you are targeting a specific area, find out about the area and certain quirks that show that you did your research. Showing you took time to look into your client and their environment before pitching a product or service encourages trust. The goal for researching is to set yourself and your business above the other generic telemarketers.

Practice
Practice, practice, practice. Without practicing, it will be impossible to get comfortable giving your sales pitch. Just like sports teams, bands, or learning any skill, you need to practice your cold calling to get better at it. Rehearse your pitch out loud in front friends or coworkers. Pretend it is the real thing, and do not hold back. Have others listening come up with a few questions or objections that you could face in real life. Don't practice by calling clients that you think will reject you; each call you make is a potential sale.

Script
Create a script for cold calling, but remember its purpose: provide a description of the product/service and why they should buy it. Although it is called a "script," do NOT read it verbatim. A script is meant to be a guide to help you through the cold call and not a strict outline of what you must say. Use bullet points with important things that you need to say about your product/service and the company. Keep in mind that you need to be able to have an actual conversation and not just read like a robot.

Confidence
Going into a cold call without confidence is like skydiving without a parachute: you're destined to fail. It is absolutely essential to have full confidence in yourself before you pick up the phone. If you are not confident, see the previous tip (PRACTICE!). A helpful tip to being confident while on a cold call is to stand up while you are on the phone. Sitting gives you a chance to relax, literally kick back, and not be as attentive. Standing up gives the allusion of authority and energy, which is then displayed in your voice over the telephone. Another suggestion is to smile while you are on the phone. Your happiness and friendly face will be portrayed in your voice. Finally, if you can, face a mirror. Body language is an extremely important form of communication which cannot be portrayed over the phone. If you are looking in the mirror, you can see yourself and note where you need to adjust to keep energy and confidence in your voice.

Persistence

According to AllBusiness.com, "Eighty percent of new sales are made after the fifth contact, yet the majority of sales people give up after the second call." The way to be persistent is to avoid rejection all together. Avoid giving potential clients the chance to say "no." Do this by asking open ended questions, or questions that require an explanation instead of a simple one word answer.  As stated previously, the recession is causing business owners to reevaluate their spending habits. Upon hearing your pitch, they are going to ask themselves if buying your product/service makes sense to them. Convince them that it does.

Cold calling is no easy task, but following these tips will help you get on your way to successful sales. Do you have any tips?