HOW TO SELL ANYTHING

Cold Calling Can Be Fun

This simple process will help you turn cold calling from a chore into a pleasure.
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Contrary to popular belief, cold calling needn't be a chore. In fact, cold calling can actually be fun, if you go about it the right way. The key to success (as with everything else in the business world) is your attitude.

Here's an eight step process that hones your attitude, while making your calls more effective and more likely to turn prospects into customers:

1. Get a high quality headset.

When you make any important call, you want to be relaxed and at your best. While handset phones are okay for taking the occasional call, if you're making multiple calls, a handset stresses your body unnecessarily.

As far as keeping yourself alert and healthy through the workday, one of the worst things you can do to yourself is scrunching your neck to hold a phone between your ear and your shoulder. Over time it can create a permanent kink.

So get a headset. But don't get a cheap one, because they make your voice sound tinny and distant. Plan on investing at least $150 for a headset with an amplifier unit. This is not the time to scrimp.

2. Get a good cold calling script.

Most cold calling scripts are full of gawd-awful stuff like "What would say if I could save you 10 percent on your insurance?" No wonder so many cold callers sound defeated from the first word that comes out of their mouths.

Fortunately, there's a better way. I highly recommend that you start with this FOOLPROOF COLD CALLING SCRIPT. Don't use it exactly, though; customize it to match your product and personality.

3. Rehearse until it sounds natural.

As any actor can tell you, there are three stages of rehearsal. The first stage is when you're simply reading the script. When you're reading, it sounds unnatural, because your focus is on the page.

The second stage is after you've memorized the script. At this point, your voice still sounds unnatural because you're simply repeating what was on the page. Your focus is on your memory of the page.

The third stage comes after you've rehearsed the memorized version several times. Your mind internalizes it and understand it, and it comes out of your mouth as if it were emerging from inside of you.

That's exactly how you want your voice to sound when you're cold calling.

4. Get your body ready.

If your body is slumped, if you're frowning, if you're feeling down, that physiology will ABSOLUTELY be reflected in your attitude. Even on the phone, a prospect will hear your lack of enthusiasm and energy.

Your first task, therefore, is to get your body into a physical state that expresses the success that you expect. Here's how:

  • Smile!
  • Stand up!
  • Shake your body out!
  • Stretch!
  • Take three deep breaths!
  • Sit back down!
  • Sit up straight!
  • Keep that smile on!

Sound simple? It is. This trick alone can double or triple your "conversion rate."

5. Get your mind ready.

If you're focused on losing the sale, your fear of losing your job, or anything else that's not totally confident, the prospect will immediately sense your lack of confidence. It is literally impossible to hide it.

Therefore, you MUST direct your focus in a way that will express confidence and success in everything you say. While still sitting up straight, close your eyes and remember how it felt when you were really happy with your performance.

Maybe it was a time you made a big sale. Or maybe it was a time that you won a competition. Whatever it was, make the recollection as vivid as you can, so that your mind feels as if it's already successful.

At the same time, disconnect yourself from your goals. Put your focus on the present moment and how you're feeling and thinking right now. If you've followed the instructions above, you feel confident and successful. Be there with yourself.

6. Make a call.

Just do it.

7. Celebrate and learn.

Either two things just happened. Either you moved the sale forward or you learned something. Either outcome is incredibly valuable--as long as you know what to do with it. Here's what:

Give yourself credit for even making the call. You've got guts. Most people don't even have the chutzpah to try. You not only tried, you primed yourself up like a champion.

If you moved a sale forward, schedule the follow-up. Don't let your energy and enthusiasm keep you from setting up the forces of momentum that will lead to future sales.

Regardless of what happened, think about your performance during the call and find three things you did really well, and one thing you could do better. You'll use this thought when you run through the system for the next call.

8. Repeat as necessary.

Keep making those calls. Keep celebrating whatever results you get. Continue to learn and hone your performance. Don't take "rejection" seriously. It's not about you. If you find your energy flagging, go back to step 4.

It's really that simple.

IMAGE: iStock
Last updated: May 3, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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