If you Google the subject of cold calling you'll get close to 100 millions results on the subject. So why has cold calling been discussed so frequently? It is because few people in sales want to actually "cold call." Why? It takes a special person to call a stranger and ask them to buy something. Plus, it also exposes many weaknesses and insecurities of a salesperson.
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How Do You Define A Cold Call?
To a lot of sales leaders and sales professionals, cold calling is defined as "calling someone that you want to sell something to." The "someone" is defined as:
· A current or past customer.
· A prospect/suspect that you never spoke with before.
· A referral partner (active or passive) that you want to say hello to (and yes, they know you are calling to remind them to send you a lead).
· Someone you want as a referral partner.
· A person (AKA a lead) that has expressed interest in what you are selling.
Why Do Salespeople Fail At Cold Calling (Which Is The Reason Why Many Hate It).
As mentioned above, many salespeople dread cold calling; unfortunately, it is a necessary job function if you want to succeed. And why do they dislike making these calls?
Looking back at our 10 years of consulting, it comes down to these primary areas.
1. They lack a sales process.
2. They don't have a marketing system to support them or a sales leader doesn't have any idea how to do this.
3. They get frustrated over the number of voicemail messages/messages they need to leave.
4. They don't like and/or are not confident in what they are selling.
5. They don't belong in sales.
Who Should You Cold Call First And Why.
Let's look at the list above and determine whom a salesperson should call first and why.
1. Lead - This is someone who has contacted you and is interested in what you are selling.
2. Current Or Past Customers - It is a lot easier to sell something to someone that has bought from you. Additionally, they are a great referral source for you too.
3. Referral Partners (Active Or Passive) - This person already knows who you are and the value your business can provide. And yes, just calling to say hello is still cold calling.
4. Possible Referral Partners - Since referral partners make selling easier, you should spend your time calling them.
5. Prospects Or Suspects - Calling someone who doesn't know you is the toughest sell a salesperson can make.
The Key To Cold Calling Is This: Develop A Sales AND Marketing System For Your Salespeople.
Salespeople do their best when they are plugged into a sales and marketing system. This means that the sales leader needs to take a proactive approach developing one for his or her sales team. A sales and marketing system contains the following elements:
· An up-to-date database to call (consider a niche market)
· Sales tools (articles, whitepapers, sell sheets, etc.)
· Objection handing training
· Printed or electronic marketing material to send/hand out
· Development/training on sales call scripts and voicemail scripts
· Questions to ask a prospect or referral partner (and training on how to use)
· Prospect presentation kit (and training on how to use)
· Referral partner presentation kit (and training on how to use)
· Marketing campaigns (print and electronic)
· And yes, there are things like product training, sales training, etc. to consider as well.
Some Marketing Campaigns To Send Before A Cold Call Is Made.
Want to have greater success when cold calling? If you do, then send a marketing campaign to someone BEFORE picking up the phone.
Some marketing campaign ideas are:
1. Customer surveys
2. Lumpy mail campaigns
3. Press Releases
4. Meeting Request Sales Letters
Executive Summary: If you are a sales leader, don't be cheap this year. Spend some money (and time) developing a sales and marketing system for your salespeople. Do this, and it will be a lot easier for your sales team to make a cold call. In fact, your good salespeople will love you for it.
If you are in sales, print this tip and hand it to your sales leader/owner. Then tell them to create a sales and marketing system for their payroll service (psst...need to outline how this system will lower employee turnover and create greater top-line sales).