Category Archives for "Cold Calling"

Jun 17

7 Tips To Get More Appointments From Your Cold Calls

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains what steps you and your team need to take…..right now…to get more appointments from your cold calling…..

You know, it’s always interesting to read articles on cold calling….from people that don’t have a clue what they’re talking about! A client sent me a few articles this week that he was laughing about – all about cold calling – all written by people that can’t, won’t or don’t cold call – hilarious!

As most of you know, I’m well-known for my cold calling expertise and results I’ve got with clients from implementing the methods. So here are 7 tips for getting more appointments from your cold calls. Study them. Pin this article up on the wall. Make the techniques work for you. And I promise you’ll see a marked difference in your sales figures……

Andy’s Sales Tip No 1 – Stop Thinking ‘Cold Calling Is Dead’

There are a number of so-called ‘experts’ saying that cold calling doesn’t work, how it’s ‘dead’ etc etc. They’re wrong. Dead wrong. Funny how most of these ‘experts’ use that statement to then try and sell you their ‘referral system’ or their ‘internet marketing system’ instead, and talk about how it’s so much better?!!

Let’s be straight here. Cold calling is still one of the best (and quickest) ways to get new business. But it’s changed. It’s evolving. You need to be aware of what’s changing so you can stay ahead of the game….and your competition.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 2 – Stop Asking Stupid Questions!

This is one of the things that loses you credibility, rapport and respect straightaway on a sales call – asking stupid questions! So what do I mean by ‘stupid questions?’ Anything that asks about things they don’t want to disclose (whilst they still hardly know you, and you have no rapport whatsoever), asking about things your competitors will also ask about, and asking questions that have no value for the recipient of the call!

Let me give you some examples… ‘When is your contract up for renewal?’. ‘How much do you currently pay for’…. And my personal favourite ‘What will it take to get your business?’

Now before you fall off your chair laughing at this, these are REAL-LIFE examples of questions from sales calls I’ve observed in the past month! How scary is that?!!

You might as well say to the prospect ‘these are my pathetic attempts at qualifying you in order that I can decide if you’re worth my time or not right now, or whether I should call you back in 3/6/12 months time in the vain hope you remember me (rather than forgetting me within seconds of putting the phone down). Please let me know the answer to this so I can get on with calling the rest of my list of people I’m supposed to call today’.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 3 – Have A Strong ‘Reason’ For Calling

This is another thing the average salesperson fails to do. So if you do it, you’re already well ahead of the game. The prize for ‘worst ever’ call reason goes to someone who I once heard say ‘the reason for the call is to find out when your contract is up for renewal’.

Brilliant! Abject failure to understand tip number two! Great effort. Collect the envelope containing your P45 and join the queue at the job centre.

Your ability to grab your prospect’s attention is a major factor in whether you get a little more time on the call. And an important part of that is having a strong call reason. You do have a strong reason for calling, don’t you? And it’s about the prospect, not you?

Andy’s Sales Tip No 4 Call With Confidence And Belief

This part is often missing – particularly if the salespeople concerned are calling over a period of more than an hour. If they’re not careful, their motivation can drop off over time, and their confidence and belief can be affected in a negative way just by one bad call!

Prospects can ‘hear’ confidence and belief in your voice…and they notice when it’s missing! You need persuade people to buy into you and what you offer. They need to have faith in you and trust that you know what you’re talking about. But if you don’t have strong belief and confidence they won’t do either. Lost sales opportunity!

An example of how vital this area is – I worked with an internal sales team last week whose role it is to get appointments for their field sales colleagues. Purely focusing on motivation, confidence and belief we achieved a 60 PERCENT increase in appointments!! Note: I didn’t change anything about what they said, just their motivation, confidence and belief! Anyone else out there want similar results?…..

Andy’s Sales Tip No 5 – Do Some Preparation!

It often astounds me how little preparation your average salesperson does. Like I mentioned above, Cold Calling is evolving, and you need to evolve with it to give yourself a good chance of success. No longer can you call companies with a name of the person you’re trying to reach and have a good success rate in terms of getting through to them, or getting appointments with them.

The minimum preparation you should be doing prior to a call is to get the name of the decision maker, direct phone number and email where appropriate, an idea of your call reason and what you’re going to say, likely objections and how you’re going to handle them, plus access to your diary (or your colleague’s diary) to book those appointments in!

Remember, you need to know exactly the date and time that you’re trying to make the appointment for before you start to close – otherwise you’re affecting your chances of success in a negative way!

Andy’s Sales Tip No 6 – Focus Your Time

If you’re starting any sort of calling session, whether it’s cold or warm calling, make sure you’re focused before you start! This means eliminating any distractions. Far too many salespeople allow themselves to get interrupted during calling sessions, which then has a negative impact on the results they get from them – which falsely leads some people to the conclusion that it ‘doesn’t work for them’ or they’re no good at it.

Interruptions would include things like colleagues talking to them, incoming phone calls, emails, making a drink etc etc. Particularly if the salesperson isn’t enjoying the session, they’ll take advantage of the interruption, therefore ruining their chances of success in the calling session!

If you’re going to start a calling session, make sure you’re focused on it. As well as the end result you want to achieve.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 7 – Create Some Energy

Another big mistake the average salesperson makes is sounding bored and tired. Remember, when you’re making a phone call, your voice is all you have to persuade people, so make sure you give it your best shot! You need to have energy and enthusiasm in your voice in order to persuade others, so why are you making calls where you sound like you’re terminally depressed?!!

The longer the calling session goes on, the more you have to be careful of your energy levels. Sometimes short breaks between focused calling sessions actually produce better results, as well as the salesperson managing their energy levels during the session.

Remember – If you’re going to bother making a call, make it sound like a good one!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Mar 29

3 Classic ‘Follow Up’ Mistakes Most People Make With Their Sales Calls…..

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

Here’s the challenge…’ve spoken to a potential client in the past, and now they’ve come up again in your “follow up” list….

Now, depending on the quality of your “follow up” call, the opportunity for you to do business can be won or lost at this point. Which puts a lot of pressure on you for this call, doesn’t it?

It won’t surprise you to learn that the majority of follow up calls that I hear made are fairly poor (and some are truly awful) so here are a few mistakes you need to avoid, in order to get more business from your calls.

Mistake Number 1 – Being Desperate And ‘Lying’

Now I know we’re in sales (or have to do sales as part of our role), and sometimes we may have to “bend the truth” a little on occasion, but I’m not sure that outright lying helps our cause as a professional, trying to build profitable business relationships.

An example of a call I heard made earlier this month went like this…….”Hello Mr X, we spoke 3 months ago and you asked me to call back today to make an appointment with you”.

Why was this so bad? Not only because the potential client hadn’t said anything of the sort, but also because the salesperson had never even spoken to the client before!

What could that potentially do to your credibility in the eyes of the potential client? And if you’re speaking to a decision maker with any level of authority, expect to be challenged on it quite strongly with something like “No we did not” or “I don’t remember that” – leading to either an argument or a rapid climb-down on your part – and probably the end of the call.

Now whilst the above statement by the salesperson is quite unusual, it does have a similar, more common “cousin” – the “Hi we spoke 3 months ago and you asked me to call you back today”. Usually said by salespeople who are desperate and don’t have a better opening “statement” or in their misguided belief that lying will help get them “rapport” with the decision maker – not likely!

Mistake Number 2 – Talking About Literature (Or Emails)

Be warned – many of you are going to cringe when you read this one! A lot of you are probably guilty of doing this, and this may be painful reading for those amongst you still doing it.

The biggest mistake I see most people make when they follow up literature or an email is when they say something like this……

Hi Andy, it’s Fred from XYZ company, we recently sent you some literature…..I’m just calling up to make sure you received it…..

No, No, No, No and No! This is truly awful, yet how many of the calls I hear made go something like that? That’s right, nearly all of them! And a large number of you make a similar call, don’t you? Go on, be honest!

Let’s think about this for a minute….what are the two most likely responses from a decision maker that you don’t have that much rapport with? Something like “No I didn’t, would you please go through the same rigmarole again, just for my amusement?” Or how about the other option….”Yes I did, and I’ve got all the information I need right now, thank you”.

Where on earth are you going to take the call now?

Even if you’ve sent literature and been lucky enough to get the decision maker to take the call (as a request for information can often be an objection – but more about that in another article) you run the risk of the call being very short, with another “call back” scheduled for a later point in time, but without having moved forwards with the prospect in any way.

Mistake Number 3 – Having Endless Call-Backs

This is another big mistake that many people make without even realising it! Far too many salespeople end their previous call badly (or without a defined outcome). What kind of impact do you think that has on the potential success of their next call? That’s right, a negative one!

How do you think this affects your attitude when the call comes up in your “call back” list? Might the fact you got nothing from the first call and the person won’t even remember you in some cases play on your mind a little?

Of course it might! Have you ever had a situation where you’ve gone down your list of prospects and thought….”I’ll ring that one……(miss a few out) then that one…..(miss a few out)…then that one?

If you’re like most people, of course you have! One of the reasons for this “cherrypicking” is that you know you got nothing from the call last time and you’re worried that the same will happen this time and you’ll “ruin” the prospect.

Also, because your attitude has been affected, might that affect your confidence in making the follow up call a little? Might you sound a bit less certain? A bit more timid? Less likely to handle objections well and give up too easily? You bet!

Are You Falling Into The Classic Trap?

Therefore, most follow up calls start something like this…..”Hello Mr X, we spoke about 3 months ago about you xyx and I was just calling to see how things are going for you at the moment”……

Awful, awful, awful! Let’s imagine you were the senior decision maker you were trying to reach with that statement (you were going for the person who makes the decisions, weren’t you?!!). What would you think of a call like that, that interrupted you doing whatever you were doing to take the call? That it has real importance and value for your business? Or that it’s pretty much a waste of your time, exactly like most of the other calls you receive on a day-to-day basis? My guess is for the second one 😉

Is it any wonder that the response decision makers give to that sort of opening is something like “Things are fine. What do you want?” Hmmmm. Now we’re under even more pressure, aren’t we? It’s pretty hard to rescue the call from here, unless you just happen to get lucky (which may happen on occasion).

So, if you’re about to do a follow up call session, or try and reach people you’ve spoken to in the past, make sure you don’t make any of the mistakes shown above and you’ll have far greater successes with your calls!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Feb 26

Business Owners -Thinking Of Outsourcing Your Cold Calling? READ THIS FIRST!!!

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston explains the problems of outsourcing your cold calling, and what to watch out for if you’re determined to outsource….

Recently I’ve been asked by a number of small and micro business owners how best they should outsource their cold calling. Their thinking behind doing this is normally one for of three reasons

Reason Number 1 – They Don’t Want To Do It Themselves!

Not a great reason, but they have the fact that they would have to do it themselves and therefore are looking to avoid it!  This is normally a terrible reason to do it!

Reason Number 2 – They Don’t Have Cold Calling Expertise Within Their Team

They’re thinking of outsourcing because they’re concerned or that they’d have to get their one of their team to do it, who isn’t a ‘natural salesperson’, and isn’t looking forward to the prospect of doing it either.  This isn’t a great reason to do it.

Reason Number 3 – They Think By ‘Outsourcing’ It Or Getting Someone Else To Do It, It Gets Rid Of The Problem!

There may well be one of, or a combination on the 2 above reasons here.  Either way, at the moment the ‘sales call’ issue (or lack of them) has become a problem in the business and by outsourcing it, they think they’re getting rid of the problem!  This isn’t a great reason either.

Here’s my main point.  If you ARE going to do it (and there are reasons why you should, and reasons why you shouldn’t) then you need to take one of my phrases on board right now.

You Can Outsource The ACTIVITY, But You Can’t Outsource The RESPONSIBILITY

This is a statement that will hit some of you like a brick.  It’s meant to.

Many small business owners are far too quick to outsource their cold calling or sales calls just to get rid of the ‘problem’ of making the calls themselves, or giving them to a colleague who doesn’t really want to do them.  Just because it’s ‘easy’ to outsource the calls, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right decision!

However, if you ARE going to outsource the calls, here are some things to think about…..

Andy’s Tip No 1 – Consider Where They’re Going To Work From

Is the person you’re outsourcing your calling to going to work from their business premises?  Their home?  Your business premises?  Your home?

How are you going to handle call costs?  CRM access?  Managing them?

Andy’s Tip No 2 – How Do Their Calls Fit Into Your Sales Process?

How does their sales call fit into your sales process?

In other words, what is the outcome of the call?  Is it a meeting?  A conference call?  A web demonstration?  How is it moving the sales process forward?  What is the next step after that – you don’t want lots of pointless meetings!

Andy’s Tip No 3 – How Are You Going To Pay Them?

Percentage of sale basis?  Payment per hour?  Payment per appointment?  All these 3 methods have their benefits and pitfalls, and will affect the type of outsourcer you should go for!

A typical example I see often is a small business owner tries to convince someone to do their calls for them and expects the person to do it for just a percentage if the business owner makes a sale from that appointment!!

That rarely works, if ever!

Andy’s Tip No 4 – How Are You Going To Manage Them?

Yes, that’s right!  I did say ‘manage’ them.  Even if you’re outsourcing you calls to a company, you still need to manage the organisation and the person making the calls!

In addition to that, what do you consider ‘underperformance?’ Do the outsourced organisation and/or the individual have the same perceptions?  What are your expectations of success on this project?  Have they been clearly communicated to all parties involved?

Andy’s Tip No 5 – How Well Do You Know The Person?

Are they someone you’ve known for a while?  Or just someone employed by a telemarketing organisation you’re talking to?

What’s this person’s reputation?  Their experience?  Their knowledge of your market sector and the people they’ll be calling?  How much do they know about you and your company?  What do other people say about them and their work?

Andy’s Tip No 6 – What Training Are You Giving Them?

What training are you giving the person?  If they’re from an outsourced company, they may well so some sales training in-house – but it will only be delivered by their manager (not an experienced trainer) and if they’re an individual they probably haven’t done any for ages – not a good sign!

What training are you planning to give them on YOUR products and services?

Andy’s Tip No 7 – Who Are They Going To Be Calling?

In other words, where are they going to get their prospects from? Do you have a list of prospects on your CRM system or database that you want them to contact? Are you going to purchase some data to give them some leads to work on?

Have you arranged access to your CRM system for the person to use?  Is the system able to generate the reports that you want?

Are they using their own data?  Have you got unlimited rights to contact the data in future?

Andy’s Tip No 8 – How Long Do You Want Them To Work For?

If you can only cope with a certain number of additional appointments per week, it might not make sense to employ someone on a full time basis. Perhaps someone in that role one day a week, or one day per fortnight might be sufficient?

If they’re starting to make more appointments for you than you can cope with (and the quality is good) then perhaps it’s time to spend more time on sales, or hire a full-time salesperson to make the calls and do the appointments for you?

Andy’s Tip No 9 – How Well Do YOU Understand The Process?

Don’t forget, as I mentioned previously that YOU still need to be responsible for this process.  And as an old manager said to me many years ago ‘you can’t manage what you don’t understand’.

What’s your experience with making sales calls and cold calls?  Is it enough to support and direct an outsourcer that’s not delivering the results you want?  Or are you just going to ‘blame’ that company for not delivering and kiss goodbye to your investment in them?

Follow the tips above and you’ll avoid most of the problems involved with outsourcing your calls.

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Nov 22

Stop Being So Nice On Your Cold Calls!

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

Often when I’m running my cold call training sessions, I notice that some people seem to be far too nice when it comes to cold calling! It’s almost as if they’re apologising for the call, before they’ve even started!

In this article, we explore why lots of people are too ‘nice’ on their cold calls, the problems it can cause and what we do about it.

The Challenge……You’ve built the proverbial “better mousetrap” – or at least you think you have! The problem is, not everyone else seems to feel the same way about the product or service you’re selling! So you think to yourself….”Surely if I’m nice to people….they’ll buy…….won’t they?”…….

Unlikely.  Interested in finding out why?

Okay, Are You Ready?

Because sometimes we find it difficult not be nice and very polite on our calls, don’t we? After all we’ve been told for years “the customer is king” haven’t we? Yet we often don’t realise how this could negatively impact on the perception of our cold calls.

Let me give you an example…..

fearfulOn my Cold Calling Workshops, I always find out what strategies the delegates are currently using, in order to give me a “gauge” of where they’re at and what we can potentially tailor and improve.

This is a phrase one of the delegates had been using previously (bearing in mind he was already through to the decision maker).

“I wonder if you could possibly help me?”

No, No, No, No and No! This is wrong on so many levels!

So What’s Wrong With That?

Now I know some of you are thinking “What’s wrong with that?”.

The challenge is because we’re brought up to be polite and we’ve been brought up with phrases like “the customer is always right”, “look after your customers – or someone else will” and “always make the customer feel important”.

red phoneNow I’m not necessarily disputing these phrases (and some of the are good advice) but don’t forget, we’re on a cold call here! The decision maker hasn’t been expecting our call, so we’re probably interrupting them on some level. Therefore our first few words are crucial to the success of the call.

When I was training the European cold calling team of a Global IT company out in Munich earlier this year, their VP of Sales said to me “Andy, if I receive a cold call, they’ve got 15 seconds – after which I decide if I’m putting the phone down or not!”. Now I don’t know the exact figures across industries, but I’d be prepared to bet that it would be fairly similar as to the first initial impression and how your call is perceived.

You Have To SOUND Different!

Now, most salespeople tell me they want to be viewed as different to their competition, to be seen as an equal, as powerful and consultative “value added” suppliers who can add value to their client’s businesses. However, they then make calls that sound EXACTLY like their competitors!

sales_megaphoneAnd if we truly want to be seen as powerful, as equals, as consultative people that can add value to our clients businesses, do you think opening phrases like “I wonder if you can possibly help me?” to decision makers achieve that?

I didn’t think so! The impression transferred when you use phrases like that is more like “oh no, another market research call!” or “here comes another junior salesperson to waste my time”. Is this achieving our objective? I think not!

We want to appear senior, authoritative, confident and like we know what we’re talking about – but we’re coming across in an entirely different way aren’t we?

The First Few Moments Are Vital!

In those vital first few moments of the cold call, if you come across as junior, weak and unimportant, don’t be surprised when senior decision makers treat you as such!

And do we think that decision makers are paid to help us out? Or give us “a few moments of their time?” How much value is there in that sort of call for the decision maker – pretty much none at all I’d say!

If you’re getting responses like “speak to my secretary” or “the person you really need is…” (only to find out later that this person was really the decision maker) or “send information” – or an even harsher response – that’s a clue that the decision maker doesn’t perceive us at their level, so isn’t treating us like an equal.

Ask Yourself A Question…..

Thinking BusinessmanOne interesting question to ask yourself is “Do I sound like a decision maker when I cold call, or just another salesperson?”. If your answer is the latter, are you really surprised at the responses you’re getting? If you want to be perceived as powerful, consultative and on the same level, then at least sound like a decision maker or someone of that level would do!

If the prospects you’re calling seem to perceive you the same as your competition – saying stuff like “we’re happy with who we’re using”, “we’ve got an agency/company we use for that” or the more blatant “you guys are all the same” then there’s a clue that you’re using the same approach as your competition! If we want to be perceived as different, we have to have a different approach don’t we?

Andy’s Top Tips For Getting Better Responses From Decision Makers

Tip No 1 – Sound like a decision maker, not a salesperson

Tip No 2 – If you want to be perceived as different, use a different approach to your competition

Tip No 3 – Converse with a decision maker on their level, using things that will interest them, instead of telling them what your product or service does

Tip No 4 – Prepare and practice a compelling opening that will engage decision makers, not bore them

Use these strategies and watch your sales soar!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may be curious about how we may be able to help you with your cold calling skills or follow up calls? You can find out more here…..

Oct 20

Cold Calling Mistakes – Calling For ‘Quotes’

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling


One of the problems that can occur when cold calling, is when you call just for ‘quotes’. In this article, we tackle the problems that this can bring you (and what to do about them!).

This is more common than people realise, and unless done correctly, can have a detrimental impact on your potential cold calling success and ultimately sales figures!

The Challenge……you’re probably in an industry that you think is competitive……….which the products or services can be hard to distinguish between…..and you think that customers buy solely on price…….so you sell on price! (that’s mistake number one!)

So, How Might The Conversation Go?

So your Cold Calling conversation with the Decision Maker might go something like this….

Salesperson: Hi it’s James calling from ABC company

Prospect: Okay…..

Salesperson: Do you have a couple of minutes to answer a few questions? (that’s mistake number two, but we’ll tackle that another day!)

Prospect: Okay/Depends what they’re about

(Salesperson then goes ahead and asks a couple of vaguely relevant questions that give him/her some information about the business and their current supplier.

Salesperson: That’s great. Would it be possible to send you a quotation so that you can compare our prices against your current supplier? (mistake number three!)

Prospect: Yes that’s fine, send it to xyz address or Bye.

No, No, No, No, No and No! This approach is terrible!

Firstly, there are hardly any companies out there that solely buy on price – and if the company you’re calling do solely buy on price – get out of there!

Andy’s Sales Rule Number One: If you win business on price, you’ll lose business on price!

Therefore, the next person who comes along offering them a better deal will get the business off you! So what have you achieved? A little bit of short-term turnover a low profit? That’s about all!

Secondly, how much emotional “buy-in” to purchasing from you do they have?

Andy’s Sales Rule Number Two: People do not buy for logical reasons, they buy for emotional reasons!

People will buy usually only when they’re emotionally “bought in” to the purchase – the higher your price, the more emotional buy-in you need. We’ll then justify the purchase with logic (for example – “well, it was in the sale”, “I needed it for the event next saturday”, or the classic when children want a new computer “well I can use it for homework”) but we bought through emotion – we wanted it!

Thirdly, what have you achieved here?

Andy’s Sales Rule Number Three: Selling requires commitment from your clients

How much commitment have you got from your client here? Almost none! The only thing you have achieved is that you’ve got them to agree to receiving a quote from you!! Pathetic!

We’ve probably not even bothered to find out what prices they’re currently paying, or whether they have any inclination of changing suppliers, we’ve just got them to agree to take a quotation from us.

Therefore, the result of sending our quotation has a number of likely “pathetic” outcomes…

“Pathetic” Outcome Number One: The quote never reaches them

“Pathetic” Outcome Number Two: They receive it, but place it carefully in the bin (and never take your “follow up” call, even if you do bother to ring them again)

“Pathetic” Outcome Number Three: They receive the quote, examine the prices, find out by some massive stroke of luck that you’re cheaper….and then ring their existing supplier and get them to match the price.

So what’s happened? In the majority of cases, we’ve got no order (unless we’ve been really, really lucky and they buy just on price – but we’ll lose the client as soon as another salesperson comes along and beats our price). However, we’ve spent the time planning and preparing for the call, rung the prospect and then put together a personal quotation, based on the items that the prospect currently orders).

What A Waste Of Time!

The challenge is, you feel quite good from making these calls don’t you? You got a result – people agreeing to take quotes from you(!) – probably almost everyone you speak to…….then you wonder when you follow up why no-one wants to speak to you, or “we have everything they need” or “we’ll use you when we need some” but the order never comes through?

That’s because you’ve achieved……virtually nothing!

Your outcome for the call was to get them to agree to receive a quote – but that isn’t going to persuade them to buy from you!

You need to have a stronger outcome for the call – a meeting, or at least a more in-depth conversation about their needs (and then how you can solve them) and then get some commitment to them about changing suppliers!

Otherwise, you’re going to be very busy, but with hardly any extra sales to show for it at the end of the day!

In summary, the big lesson in this article is – never cold call just to get quotes! You’re wasting your time.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may be curious about how we may be able to help you with your cold calling skills or follow up calls? You can find out more here…..

Oct 15

7 Top Tips On Making That ‘First’ Call….

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

Whenever I’m delivering my cold call training sessions, people always tell me they find it difficult to make the ‘first’ call.

Whether it’s fear, procrastination, loathing, or apathy there’s something that stops people, and makes them avoid the activity – sometimes entirely!

If that strikes a chord with you, read the rest of this article to get tips on how to make that ‘first’ call and go out there and make a difference!

The Challenge
……you’re thinking about making some sales calls………you know you should have started already…..but you’re still finding other things to do instead……

red phoneFor the person working from home or alone in an office, there are always other things we can find to do rather than pick up the phone and make that “first” sales call aren’t there?

And whenever I’m delivering training in-house for an organisation, I always get there early and watch what the salespeople do when they get into the office – and it wouldn’t be hard to guess that it usually doesn’t include picking up the phone!

I always liken this to a gym membership – we can find all sorts of reasons to tell ourselves why we shouldn’t go, yet when we’re there we really enjoy it and get results from it, don’t we?

So what can we do about it? How can we eliminate this procrastination of making the first call, or at least reduce it so we can make our calls, gain appointments, develop new clients and win new business over the phone?

Andy’s 7 Top Tips For Making That “First” Call

Tip No 1 – Be Prepared!

Preparation is key to motivating us to pick up the phone and make that first call. We need to have organised our desk or working area long before we start our calling session. The typical things we may need (aside from the obvious, like a phone!) are ….

  • Empty Notebook PageList of prospects (prior qualified) – i.e. Who are we going to call?
  • Our introductory framework or script
  • Common objections we’re likely to face (and our answers to them
  • A diary (or access to one – essential if we’re booking appointments or call-backs!)
  • Pad to record notes and call-ratios (number of calls versus appointments etc)

Without these items (or anything else we need to be prepared for calling) we’ll feel like we aren’t ready and will make excuses not to start “just yet”.

Tip No 2 – Set Our Call Times!

Why do you think it’s important to set specific times of the day to do our calling sessions? Because if we don’t, we’ll find something else to fill the time, yet when we look back on the day (honestly!) we’ll find that the task that stopped us calling wasn’t that important!

This is essential whether you’re working from home (when you can always find something to distract you from your calls) or working with colleagues in a large office (where you play the “who’s going to pick the phone up first” game!

Tip No 3 – Know What We Want

We need to work out what we want from the call, and the session. Is it to make appointments? Arrange demonstrations? Sell direct over the phone? Whichever it is, we need to make sure our script/framework and the approach to our calls reflect our chosen goal – and put all our effort into achieving it.

moneyDon’t forget, if we decide that the outcome of our calls is to make appointments, we should concentrate in selling the “appointment” over the phone, not get dragged into discussing our product or service – that’s what we want the appointment for!

Tip No 4 – Visualise Success

A technique taken from athletes and sportspeople who run through the event or race in their mind a number of times before it actually happens – in order to condition themselves towards the positive result – and increase their motivation and confidence.

In sales we can play “mental rehearsal” – where we see our calls succeeding, effortlessly getting past gatekeepers, overcoming objections and achieving our objectives. Imagine that the prospect is dying for us to call, just waiting for us to solve their problems. Would this make us more eager to call? I think it just might!

Tip No 5 – Start From Success

A lot of salespeople whine that they “have to get into the flow” when they’re cold calling. What they really mean is they’re burning their first few leads in order to get “warmed up”.

Most salespeople and business owners (when they’re about to start calling) sit how do you think? Hunched Poor Presentation Skillsover? Arms or legs folded? It’s no wonder they’re depressed and avoiding calling is it?!

If we thought about how we sit or stand when you’re “in the flow”, when things are going well on our call, it would probably be quite different! We should take a look at ourselves when we’re about to dial – and then ask ourselves the question – “Am I sat or stood like that right now?” And if not, change it!

Additionally, if a favourite quote inspires us, or a favourite piece of music helps to “pump us up”, then look at or play that beforehand!

Tip No 6 – Get Some Inspiration!

How inspired do we feel when we’re thinking about starting our calling session? I’d guess it’s somewhere near “not very”. Therefore we need to get ourselves some inspiration!

By this I mean why we are making the calls in the first place? I know we’ll be calling to get more appointments, win new business and engage new clients, but I mean ultimately, what are we doing it for?

Are we trying to build our business so that we can spend less time doing it? Do we want more holidays and leisure time? Are we wanting to drive a better car? Live in a bigger house or in a different location? Have a better standard of living?

trophyUltimately if we can think about what we’re trying to achieve from the calls then that’s going to motivate us to actually start doing them isn’t it? Rather than thinking about what awful things are going to happen when we start making them (which is what we tend to do by default isn’t it?)

We could also choose to have things that inspire us on our screensaver, our mousemat, or pictures on the desk of family, favourite holiday destinations (or places we’d like to go), cars we want to drive etc etc.

Tip No 7 – Pick Up The Phone And Make The Call!

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Yet many people still feel they’re “not ready” or it’s “not quite the right time”. It’s no good learning something without taking action and therefore we need to start actioning the tips above, pick up the phone and make the call!

In summary, the big lesson in this article is – never fall into the trap of procrastinating over making the first call……once it’s done the rest of the calls feel so much easier, don’t they?

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you may be interested in some help with your cold calling? Find out more here…