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Is Cold Calling a Dinosaur?

| November 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

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There are many who say that cold calling is a sales technique of the past. According to the University of North Carolina’s Kenan Flagler Business School, “Over 80% of decision makers absolutely will not buy from a cold call.” They think cold calling is a dinosaur in the realm of sales.

It is true that in the past cold calling was the only way for salesmen and women to reach their current and potential clients. Sometimes we still see an occasional pitchman appear unannounced at the customer service desk asking to speak to the owner or manager. Obviously, they have not done their homework enough to find out the names of those in charge.

Is this old-fashioned way of getting a foot in the door effective anymore, or is it a frustrating act of desperation on the part of the salesperson to bring in clients? Some say it is no longer a valid method of selling, but there are still a few dynamos out there that actually make a killing from cold calling, and say it works if you do it right.

A successful cold caller does not look at this method as a way to get an immediate sale, but an opportunity to introduce him or herself to a prospective client. If they were to approach it as a quick sale they are opening the door for rejection.

These salespeople choose their target audience carefully, finding out the correct person to speak to, and making sure they are not going to waste each other’s time by not being able to offer anything of value. They do their homework, knowing what the company does and what their mission is.

They plan their attack carefully; framing the words they want to say just right. They only have one shot to make a first impression – and they want to nail it! Rambling or hem hawing around gets them nowhere.

They keep the conversation brief, making a simple introduction and engaging the potential client in conversation through a dynamic opening statement. They don’t take a lot of time, but have a few brief leading questions ready, such as, what are their biggest challenges; or what are they having difficulty getting done right. They take notes that will help them find a way to be of service when you do meet. Then they close by asking if (a specific date and time) would be good to meet (don’t ask when it would be convenient for them, be specific).

After the initial introduction is made and a meeting date is established, immediately after leaving or hanging up the salesperson sends a follow up email thanking them for their time and outlining their company and what it does. At the end, they remind them of their appointment to meet by telling them they are looking forward to meeting with them on (such and such a date and time).

Prior to the meeting, a successful salesperson gains as much information as they can about the person they are meeting, their role in the company and the chain of command. They get as many facts as they can about the company itself, and search for ways to help make the company more profitable, save money, or become more productive. They appeal to the needs and wants of the potential client.

Know your products and services inside and out, and be prepared for resistance.

Cold calling is not easy, and it does take a great deal of effort and discipline. Don’t look at is as “cold” calling as much as you should see it as “smart” selling. No matter what technique you use, not all attempts will be successful, but persistence can often pay off. As long as you continue to stay motivated and upbeat, you will be successful.


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