SALES

Why Your Cold Calls Aren't Working

If your sales calls aren't working, you might be sabotaging yourself. Make sure you're not clinging to any of these ideas.

Courtesy Company

Phillip Walker, Founder and CEO

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This is part of a package on cold calling. Read the previous post: Cold Calling Script That Really Works.

Yesterday, I provided a basic script for cold calling--but there are still people out there who don't think cold calling actually works. If you're one of them, it's possible that you're actually sabotaging your own sales calls.

Before going any further, I want to point you at a cool resource, a free e-book by Wendy Weiss, one of my favorite experts on this subject.  In the book, she points out that it's your beliefs about cold calling that can make you ineffective.

In her book, she lists four beliefs, to which I've added a fifth.  Here they are, along with my explanation of why they're silly and invalid.

1. 'I'm bothering my prospects.'

Assuming that you're actually selling something of value, you are actually doing your prospects a favor by calling their attention to the availability and importance of what you're selling. They may need somebody (like you) to get this issue on their radar.

2. 'They will not want to speak with me.'

That's simply not true.  While some people may not want to speak with you at a given moment, there are always people who want to have a conversation about something that matters, with somebody who can make a difference.

3. 'They probably already have a vendor.'

So what? Your job is to find out if you can serve them better than their current vendor--and, if not, to confirm the fact that they made a good decision in the first place. What's important is that the customer gets what he or she needs ... right?

4. 'No one wants to speak with a cold caller.'

Actually, whether or not a customer is "engage-able" is a matter of timing. You can increase the prospect's likely interest by timing your calls to match changes in the customer's business--a new product announcement, for instance, or a merger.

5. 'I hate cold calling.'

If so, no wonder you find cold calling difficult!  This is a perfect example of self-fulfilling prophesy.  As Dale Carnegie said: "You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing."

At the very least, work on feeling neutral (at least) about this necessary task.

As Weiss points out in her book, if you're going to cold call, there are certain facts that trump the beliefs that are holding you back.  These facts are:

  • You need to reach out to more prospects.
  • You will dial the phone.
  • You will either reach your prospect or you will not.
  • If you reach your prospect, you will say something and they will say something.

This the reality of the situation, so you'd might as well learn as much as you can about cold calling and hone your skills to do it more effectively.  Forget about those silly beliefs, stop complaining about what you can't change--and start making the calls you must make in order to become more successful.

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Last updated: Jun 20, 2012

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 over 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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