Cold Calling – Techniques That Work and Techniques That Don’t

It took minutes for the mixed-martial artists to subdue the hotel lobby robber, despite the fact there were four or five of the good guys, and they were in peak form, having just returned from a tournament.

The surveillance video crawled along like a slow-speed car chase, not at all what you’d expect, especially with professional pugilists on the scene, trained to disarm and disable.

It made me wonder if the whole thing had been staged, it seemed so unreal, and well, BORING.

Yet, as generals point out, battles and wars are unpredictable too, seldom unfolding in the neat, orderly sequence that had been planned, days, weeks, and possibly months, in advance.

Cold calls are much the same way. You might have a tidy script, a fine CRM system churning out good leads and quality customer information, but still you can find yourself slogging it through, making no discernible progress in a given conversation.

What to do and not to do?

Here’s a partial list, but please bear in mind that my prescriptions fill volumes.

(1) Have a plan and work your plan. This means you should use a call path, outline, or script to make sure you cover the basics and don’t leave out essentials. Surely, (Don’t call me SHIRLEY!) there will be times you need to improvise, deviating from the plan, but that’s to be expected. Go with the flow when it makes sense, but remember it’s up to you to turn the tide, if the currents are running against you.

(2) If you have positive momentum, stay the course, and rack up additional sales while you are in the zone. But if you’re stuck in a rut, take a break, do something differently, like going for an early lunch. Clear your head, and start over.

(3) Monitor your self-talk for debilitating generalizations, such as “Nobody’s buying today,” or “Everybody’s out Christmas shopping!” Dispute these conclusions as they come along. “Somebody is buying, and I’m going to find and sell that person!”

(4) If you’re selling next to others that are soaring while you’re crawling, silently wish them the best instead of succumbing to envy and distraction. After all, it is great news that one of yours is thriving. Tell yourself, “If she can, I can!”

(5) Bring EVERYTHING into your sales conversations. I’ve lived in Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Indiana, California, and London, England. At one point I attended a one-room red schoolhouse in the country, containing grades 1-6. I teach in the top university system in the world. I could go on, and I do, if it will create rapport, identification, and above all, if it will generate sales!

Once you have sold a prospect, and time passes, he won’t remember that your relationship began with a cold call. In fact, it’s likely he or she will believe they reached out to you.

So, don’t overrate the “cold” component of cold calling. Do your job well, and your sales will heat-up on their own.

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