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……
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 ….
- List 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.
Don’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”.
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?
Ultimately 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…