How to Not be Afraid of Cold Calling
Cold calling is tough, generally unenjoyable, and, if we are being honest, pretty scary. This is especially true for people who don’t enjoy selling on the phone, but even true for good sales people who spend a lot of time on the phone every day.
This is because talking on the phone to unsuspecting strangers has a high potential to be a bad experience for both parties involved. By definition, the person you are calling is not expecting it and does not know much, or anything, about what you are asking for or calling about. People generally dislike talking to strangers on the phone, and you know that most people are extremely suspect when they are asked to book an appointment or buy something over the phone. So you expect resistance on their part and think, before you’ve made the call, that they are predisposed to say “no.”
Even if all of this is true, you have to get over the fact that there will be some resistance, and focus on the value you are offering to the prospect. This is how you successfully cold call.
It’s All About the Stories You Tell Yourself
Let’s face it, our heads are filled with crap when it comes to cold calling. It has an almost visceral negative connotation. Put that to bed for you and any agents or ISAs you have working for you.
Like most things in life, cold calling successfully all starts with a positive outlook. You can master the technical side of cold calling—research your leads, memorize the perfect script, constantly practice and improve on objection handling, and perfect your amazing sounding phone voice. It’s all for nothing unless you are telling yourself the right stories about why you are calling in the first place, and your role as a sales person.
Staying positive about your role and about the disposition of the lead is paramount.
If you can understand and cultivate a positive story in your head about what you are doing—if cold calling has a positive connotation in your mind—you will be a cold calling master. If you have negative stories in your head about cold calling, lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about you as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, you won’t cold call successfully and you won’t generate leads.
Here are three things you can do to help cultivate a positive mindset and interaction:
- Know and understand the benefits you bring to every person BEFORE you dial them. Know what you are offering them and how it is going to palpably improve their lives.
- Live and breathe mantras like “they are waiting for my call” or “they need my help.” Repeat these between each dial to keep your energy up on your entire list of leads.
- When you feel yourself becoming negative, take a break and focus on your commitment to helping others. Remember, they are benefiting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.
Call with a Sense of Purpose
Cultivate a positive mindset before the call, and use that positivity to enter the call confidently and with a sense of purpose. Understand that the person you are talking to needs you and that you are helping them. Have the attitude and sense that you belong on that phone with that person and that you are making their lives easier. Know what you are talking about and get to the point quickly.
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t project confidence when you get on the call, you will not be successful. This means that when the lead picks up the phone always sound as though you know exactly who the person is that just answered. If you are not talking to the right person, you can rest assured that they will let you know.
Don’t let it drive you or cause anxiety, but remember in the back of your head that you are a stranger to the prospect. And people have resistance to talking to strangers on the phone. Keep this in the back of your head so that you stay focused, and so you always steer the conversation in the direction of how you can help them.
A lot of people will be looking—even subconsciously—for a reason to hang up the phone. The minute you hesitate, the minute you sound like you don’t know exactly what you are talking about, or the minute you sound like you don’t want to be on phone, you have given them the excuse they are looking for to hang up.
Don’t give them that reason.
Even if you build a positive mindset and consistently enter your calls with a sense of confidence and purpose, and are offering the prospect real, tangible value, you are still going to hear a whole lot of “no.” This is just the nature of cold calling, so you have to accept it.
What you can do is learn how to properly deal with objections so that you can understand why a lead is saying no, and turn as many “no’s” to “yeses.”
This means you have to understand where objections are coming from.
At Smart Inside Sales, we have a technique we call the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome.
The prospect’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation.
Examples of perspectives that may lead to objections are “I’ve sold my home myself before,” “I’ve already met with an agent,” and “I can do what an agent does, you guys don’t do much.”
The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation.
Examples of a process are “I’m going to sell my home myself,” “I’ll just use the agent I used before,” and “I am just going to wait until spring to sell my home and get a better deal.” The process is typically what will lead to an objection. They have their plan and you are not a part of it in their mind, so they turn you down.
And finally, the outcome.
This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them. Examples of these are “not wasting time,” “avoiding disappointment,” and “proving to my neighbors or real estate agents or to the world that I am right.”
These are the three components that make up an objection. The key here is to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from your own. Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:
- Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
- Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
- Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process from their eyes. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
- Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve –This is their sought-after outcome.
- Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.
Follow this process, understand where the prospect’s objection is coming from (from their own point of view), and respond in a way that makes sense given the lead’s perspective and goal.
Cold Call like a Ninja
Cold calling is about playing the numbers. You have to pick up the phone, do your homework, and put in the time. You’re going to hear a lot of “no’s,” but if you build a positive mindset, enter calls with a sense of purpose, and learn how to handle objections, you will be able to vastly increase your call conversion rate.
Cold calling is a skill like anything else. Once you learn it, you don’t have to be scared of it or dread it. When in doubt, focus on the value you are adding to yourself, your company, and your client with each call.