How not to hate cold calling

By Adam Blanch

Fear of cold calling is right up there with fear of public speaking. This is because we are genetically programmed to avoid rejection. In evolutionary terms, rejection means exclusion from our social group. Added to that is the fear that if we get it wrong, not only have we not gained a potential customer, we've lost one. However, with the right approach you can learn to love it and enjoy fantastic new business.

1. All hail the gatekeeper

A common mistake people make is to try to get to the person in charge straight away. Gatekeepers (receptionists and secretaries) are often the most powerful people in the business, so you want them to advocate on your behalf instead of blocking your access.

2. Don't sell

No really, stop selling. The first time you call, you are not trying to make a sale. You're building a relationship by making the call all about their needs. For example:

You: "Hi, my name is Jack Frost. I was wondering if you could help me?"

Them: "Hi, Mr Frost. My name is Jane. How can I be of help".

You: "I run a business installing and maintaining air conditioning. I'm just calling to find out if you might need my services".

At this point, one of four things will happen.

i. They do and will enquire about what you offer (which could ultimately equal a sale)

ii. They don't and will politely tell you as such (but they will likely remember you in future).

iii. They already have those needs catered for and will tell you that.

iv. They don't know and will transfer you to someone who does (repeat the process).

If they already have those services looked after or don't need them right now, you can ask if you could send them your literature for future reference. If they say yes, you could say something like, "I really appreciate you helping me out, Jane. Should I send it to you directly?"

They will either say "yes", which is great for when you ring back in six months to check in, or they will give you the name of the person who is responsible for that area. If they give you the name of the responsible person, make sure to mention the person you have spoken to. For example: "Dear Mr Thompson, I recently spoke to your receptionist Jane Brown who was kind enough to invite me to send you some information. Please call me if I can be of any assistance."

Either way, by letting the person know that you see them as important, you are likely to have made a friend on the inside. Keep good records for future reference.

Are you ready to experience 'warm calling'?


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