In our previous installment, I detailed four of the major culprits responsible derailing your cold calling efforts. Now it's time to take a look at an additional three:
5. Wrong attitude. I always find it interesting to note how many people starting a cold calling session are defeated before they even start. These individuals can always find an excuse for not doing the calls: "I haven't got the time." "I've just got to ring a few existing customers first." "I just need to tidy my desk for the 17th time this week."
And when they actually have to make some calls, they are convinced decision-makers don't want to speak to them, no one will buy because of "the recession," cold calling is a pointless activity…you get the picture.
What sort of impact do you suppose this thinking has on the potential results of their cold calling sessions? Might it be affected negatively?
Then, when it comes to handling objections, the same negative attitude and mindset affects them here, as well. Let's take the example above, where the salesperson has "decided" no one is buying because of the recession.
What do you think will happen to that salesperson's attitude the minute the person they're talking to says something like "We don't have a budget," or "We're cutting back at the moment"? Most likely, they'll be pondering another line of work.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But it's happening a lot more than you'd think. What happening to trying to handle that objection, position back the value, and re-close for the business? Didn't even show up—all because the salesperson had the wrong attitude.
6. Lack of pride. I'm often astounded when I meet salespeople—and business owners who have to "sell" as part of their role—who don't appear to be proud of what they're doing. Instead of being proud of themselves, their role, their company, and their products and services, far too many salespeople sound like they're almost ashamed.
Think about all the times you've ever received a call from someone trying to sell to you. If the person has sounded weak, uncertain, and has started to apologize for the fact they're even calling you, what sort of impact has that had on your perception of them?
I've even heard some salespeople say things like "Oh, I'm sorry to bother you," or "Sorry if this sounds like a sales call, but…" It is a sales call! Be proud of the fact you're in sales, and be proud of your company, products, and services.
Sales is a difficult job to start with. Cold calling is even tougher. Why on earth would you want to make your job even more difficult by trotting out this kind of rubbish?
7. Lack of activity. Lack of new business activity is one of the biggest reasons why salespeople don't hit their turnover or profit targets. This doesn't mean I want you to make lots of random calls with no direction, no quality, and no value. On the contrary, I want you to make quality calls; I just want you to make more of them.
Let's face it: Based on your existing conversion rates, if you make 10 percent more calls, you're going to get to speak to 10 percent more decision-makers, make 10 percent more meetings, 10 percent more proposals…and therefore, 10 percent more business. Just from a 10 percent increase in activity alone.
8. Lack of (or "rusty") sales skills. This is a topic people are becoming more and more aware of in the current market. There is a general lack of sales skills, but especially so in the "new business" and cold calling arenas.
For far too long, cold calling has been viewed by some as a "necessary evil," something "junior" salespeople do, and generally looked on as something people with a year or more of sales experience don't have to do anymore. They're wrong.
Cold calling and new business generation is something every salesperson should do, regardless of age, seniority, or experience. It keeps you sharp, prepares you for dealing with the toughest objections, and fills your sales pipeline.
Some salespeople, however, have never developed those skills, possibly because they've been in more of an account management or "incoming" sales role. It might also be they haven't had to cold call for a while, and their skills are "rusty" at best.
To be successful at cold calling and new business generation, you need to have a good level of skill at call openings, getting past gatekeepers, questioning, objection handling, and closing…at the very least. How do you currently rate yourself or your team in those areas? And when would be a good time to do something about it?
Andy Preston is an expert authority on selling for small businesses. Visit him online at www.andy-preston.com and www.salestrainingbreakfastclub.com.