Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Nine Tips To Master Cold-Calling (Even When You’re Nervous)

For many professionals, cold-calling is a tall hurdle. They dread having to make the calls, worried they’ll be rejected or forget what they need to say. They know the person on the other end isn’t fond of receiving these types of calls, and yet they still must pick up the phone and dial the next number on their list because they know cold-calling has the power to get more sales.

If cold-calling is a nerve-wracking endeavor for you, you’re not alone. To succeed, it’s often about having the right strategies in place. To help, nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council share some of the techniques that can help you overcome your nerves and make cold-calling a little less intimidating.

1. Research Each Prospect Before Calling

Do your homework. Just because it’s called cold-calling doesn’t mean you should go in cold. Prepare! Look up each company and learn about what they do, their history and their people. Calling a specific person? Look them up on LinkedIn and other social media sites. Review their background and expertise. This is a great way to find some common ground topics to jump-start the conversation. No one likes cold calls, but if you do your homework and tailor what you’re offering to the needs of the person on the other end of the line, you’ll have a better chance of success. You might not close a sale today, but they’re more likely to accept follow-up communications from you that could lead to a sale in the future. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

2. Familiarize Yourself With Prospects’ Pain Points

To get comfortable cold-calling, know who your market is and what you’re selling. Have a thorough understanding of the benefits of your product or service, and focus on solving the prospect’s pain points and proving how your offering is the best option in the market. This is the best way to get comfortable trying to sell to prospective customers. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

3. Know Your Script By Heart (Don’t Read It)

Follow your calling script like an actor, not a machine! One of my earliest jobs was as a financial advisor. On one of the first days of the job, a client said to me, “You sound like you’re reading from a script.” At first, I thought it was a very rude thing to say, but to this day, I appreciate the honest feedback. I was performing the call without any emotion. To perform a call like a star, I recommend several tips. The first is to memorize your introduction. If you have that down, you’ll be able to break the ice easily and move forward with confidence. The second is to write out a couple of open-ended questions that will open up the conversation. Thirdly, anticipate objections. This will help your confidence. And finally, learn to leave concise, attention-grabbing voicemails so you get that call back. – Shu Saito, All Filters

4. Adopt A Cold-Calling Persona

Cold-calling can be emotionally draining on you personally. No matter how many times you tell yourself that “it’s just business,” sometimes it can still get to you. I’ve found that developing a persona (almost an act) helps to remove the feeling of personal rejection. If I’m having a down day, I will put on my favorite suit (even though I work from home) and pretend like I’m a character in Wall Street. My close rate doesn’t necessarily change, but the “nos” feel much less personal and allow me to maintain productive output when I would have otherwise mopily and reluctantly made the calls. – Alex Blazer, Seedlogic

5. Introduce Yourself Early On

One tactic that can work when cold-calling is to introduce yourself early in the conversation and then immediately begin the discussion with a question. People love to talk about themselves, so the sooner you can engage the prospect and get them talking, the better. The goal of the personal introduction is to help make the conversation as friendly and warm as quickly as possible. If you can utilize humor, shock value or other emotional responses, the odds of a successful engagement improve dramatically. – Thomas Minieri, Minieri & Company

6. Don’t Sell Right Away

The key to great cold-calling is to have a clear and reasonable outcome in mind. In most situations, the only viable goal for a cold call is to book an appointment to speak with the prospect at a later time. Nothing more, nothing less. Inexperienced salespeople often think they need to actually “sell” the customer and “pitch” the value proposition. No. That is premature. You have not yet earned the opportunity for that. Instead, cold-calling is simply about appointment setting. We show our expertise and value by delivering a short, impactful and targeted message that shows what the prospect will gain by speaking with us further. Final tip: No cold-caller has ever batted 100%. Rejection is part of the game. Expect it and don’t take it personally. It’s simply a part of the process. – Daniel Reilly, B2X Global

7. Ask Questions And Listen To The Answers

The secret to sales isn’t about talking at all; it’s about learning to listen. Most of the people you call are already familiar with phone solicitation, and they can usually smell an ulterior motive a mile away. Rather than trying to launch into a detailed sales pitch, ask questions. Ask questions that surface a need or problem that only your unique product or service can solve. Spend time listening. You can use the answers to these questions to fine-tune your sales pitch to the unique needs and experiences of that customer. Even customers who traditionally resist cold calls may appreciate your desire to make them feel heard. Their answers may also help you to determine when to press forward with your sales pitch and when to move on to the next call. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

8. Be Friends With The Word ‘No’

The biggest tip that I could give (that you will hear every salesperson say) is to get comfortable with rejection. Be best friends with the word “no.” I find that it isn’t really the cold-calling that people are afraid of—it’s the fear of being embarrassed. It’s the fear of rejection, and that has to go. I was cold-calling from the beginning of my career, and I went door to door too. It’s scary being face-to-face with someone who likely cares very little about what you have to say, and it is never a good feeling being scolded no matter how old you are. That shouldn’t stop you, though. In fact, I would say go for the “no.” – Shay Berman, Digital Resource

9. Remember They’re Human

The one tip that’s helped me the most with getting over the nervousness provoked by cold-calling is remembering the other person on the line is a human just like me. People are generally annoyed or enthused by many of the same things, so remembering to speak to the other person’s feelings at the moment can make a tremendous difference. Acknowledge that you’re calling the person out of the blue rather than being fake and “salesy.” People appreciate getting to the point quickly. No one likes having their time wasted, so speak to “what’s in it for them” as quickly as you can—the same as you’d like if someone called you randomly. – Richard Fong, ABCDreamUSA.com

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