Cold calling is an integral part of many careers, particularly sales. It’s also one of the least enjoyable — 63% of salespeople admit cold calling is the thing they dislike the most about their jobs. That’s understandable: no one likes rejection.
Of course, waiting for the phone to ring isn’t a smart sales strategy. But when you’re facing a long list of numbers to cold call, picking up the phone can feel scary. Whether you feel like your prospect data is inaccurate, you don’t have a good grasp on what you’re selling, or you’re dealing with a rude person on the other end of the line, contacting someone out of the blue can be intimidating.
Here’s how to build confidence with cold calls:
Prepare Your Voice. Make sure your voice is ready before you ever hop on the phone with a prospect. Drink water or tea beforehand and keep some nearby in case your mouth gets dry during the call. Another fun way to warm up your vocal cords: sing a song. We’d recommend something fun and sraightforward — no need to try hitting Mariah Carey octaves.
On top of warming up your voice, singing also releases endorphins associated with feelings of pleasure, and it stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that can reduce anxiety and stress.
Get Your Body Ready Power posing first came into national relevance in 2012, when Amy Cuddy delivered a TED talk on its benefits. Cuddy posited that the mind will respond to whatever your body is doing. By taking a powerful stance – standing with your arms wide open and your chest lifted – you’re giving yourself an advantage.
According to Cuddy, there are two main benefits: a more powerful feeling and altered hormones, including an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol. Her research was called into question, but Cuddy came back with even more evidence supporting her claims, now referring to power posing as “postural feedback.” If you’re struggling with cold calls, it’s worth trying this approach, and you can do it even if you remain seated. Try a modified “power pose” by sitting upright, with your hips and shoulders squared and your feet flat on the floor.
Open with the Right Lines. The first 30 seconds can make or break your likelihood of success. Start by establishing credibility and trust: introduce yourself by saying your full name and your company’s name. This way your prospect isn’t starting off the call confused.
Next, start the conversation by asking the right first question. Avoid questions that give your prospect an easy escape. For example, “Did I catch you at a bad time?” makes you 40% less likely to book a meeting. Instead, establish rapport. “How have you been?” is 6.6 times more successful than a standard greeting because it implies familiarity, even if you’ve never met.
Anticipate Prospect Needs When you have a sense of what your prospect is interested in, you have a better idea of where to steer a conversation. For example, almost six in 10 buyers want to discuss pricing on the first call. If you’re selling a product or service that requires a demo, more than half of prospects want to see how it works on the first call.
Of course, your experience may vary with a given prospect, which is why this initial research is so important. Social media, company websites and company blogs can help you understand how your prospect speaks about their challenges and get a better sense for their pain points.
Consider all your sales channels. From LinkedIn to email, consider the full range of communication channels available for starting your sales conversation. Avoid a standard “copy and paste” sales message and instead provide a little customization. For example, seven in ten B2B buyers watch a video at some point during their buying process. A personalized video adds a human touch and creates a stronger connection between you and a prospect.
How did you overcome your cold calling fears? Let us know in the comments below.