Cold calling is tricky for even a seasoned pro. Building up the courage and pushing through negative responses can take up a lot of headspace. Over the course of eight weeks, I managed to teach myself to actually enjoy cold calling, to a point that I actually crave the thrill of making calls. Here are a few tricks I discovered that may help you.
It Shouldn't be Cold Calling
First, there's a new standard in cold calling. If you're just picking up the phone and calling somebody to convince them to buy from you then you're doin it wrong. Sales and marketing efforts should be aligned such that the people you're contacting are familiar with your company. As well, you need to be familiar with the people you're contacting which means you're spending as much time researching as you are calling.
Find a mentor you can shadow
Spend an hour or two following and listening to how cold calls go with a colleague. Ideally, they’re doing the same work you’re doing and you can get a sense of the approach, feedback and responses.
Conduct a trial
Book yourself for an hour to make calls; actually making calls, not looking for leads and getting organized. Ideally if your mentor can shadow you during this time it will add a level of accountability and you can get some valuable feedback.
This was crucial for me. Once I got a rhythm and built confidence in my approach through my mentor, I scheduled at least two hours each day to cold call. I would play with the time of day; sometimes it would be first thing in the morning, others it would be at the end of the day but it would always be on the schedule and I treated it like an appointment I couldn’t break.
I found that cold calling was mentally draining for the first while. Two to three hours was the most I could do before needing a break. Even now, I couldn’t imagine doing it for eight hours straight; I’d rather do four days at two a piece than a full eight hours.
Build in accountability
If people are counting on you then you will be more likely to succeed. I had my mentor to report to as well as the rest of my team who had expectations that I would make the calls and deliver on what was expected. They were counting on me and I didn’t want to let them down.
As I built up confidence I started playing with the script, changing my tone, the level of urgency, my opening. Each time I’d read and evaluate to see if it got a positive response. If it did, I’d add it to my repertoire. I didn’t try to make it scientific rather, I’d test on the fly and gauge responses. To the point where it sometimes felt like a bit of a game for me.
Have fun with it
I’m still no pro but I actually like cold calling now. I enjoy the banter back and forth win or lose. I play around with my approach and actually like the adrenaline of approaching complete strangers. I look forward to the scheduled time on my calendar because I get to challenge myself.
Cold calling people comes really easy to some people while others need to work at it. The fact is, still to this day the first call I make each day is the most difficult. But I enjoy the thrill of the chase and I know that if I just make that one call, the rest will flow naturally.