When you pick up the phone to make a sales call, what runs through your mind? Is it the way you’re going to respond to the “no thanks” you’re certain you’ll hear? Don’t doom yourself before you dial your prospect’s number — heed these tips instead.
Several weeks ago, I conducted a “Mastering the Cold Call” seminar for the Printing Industries of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. At the end of the seminar, a participant came up to me and said, “Thank you! I learned so much! I learned ‘Don’t Take No for an Answer.’” Another participant standing to his side exclaimed, “No! What I learned is, ‘Don’t Make No Your Answer!’”
How often do you do that—especially on an introductory call? How often do you project your fears and insecurities onto the prospect you are calling and decide that you are doomed before you dial?
The definition of a cold call or an introductory call is that you are calling a stranger. This stranger could be having a good day—or a bad day. This stranger could be warm and friendly or brusque and dismissive. There is no way of determining this ahead of time. Beware of doing a mind read of your stranger/prospect and basing your subsequent actions on what you think your prospect is thinking.
“I don’t like calls on Monday morning”—therefore, no one likes calls on Monday mornings. This leaves out all the people who actually like calls on Monday mornings because that’s when they plan their calendars for the week.
“I know my prospect is avoiding me.” How do you know this? How could your prospect be avoiding you? Your prospect doesn’t even know you.
We all have choices. You can choose to believe that your prospect does not want to speak with you, is busy and not interested, or you can choose to believe that your prospect will enjoy hearing from you and will be open to what you have to say. The first belief is self-limiting and does not serve you. The second belief leaves you free to pursue new business.
The emotional “baggage” that you bring to introductory calling influences your attitude, which you then project in your conversation. Your prospect can hear if you feel unsure, afraid or uncomfortable, in the same way that you can pick up on those uneasy feelings when speaking with someone. On some level, you help create the attitude of the person to whom you are speaking. If your expectation is that your call will be unwelcome, this will make you anxious and tentative. Your prospect will pick up on that, and it will be likely to make her less receptive to you.
Put another way, there are the facts and there are the stories we tell ourselves about the facts. The facts are: You need to make some introductory calls. You will pick up the telephone and make a call. You will either reach your prospect or not. If you reach your prospect, you’ll say what you have to say. Your prospect will say what she has to say. And that’s it. Those are the facts.
The story: I’m interrupting my prospect. My prospect does not want to hear from me. My prospect already has a vendor. My prospect is avoiding me. My prospect hates me… And on and on…
It is time to change your story. I invite you to use my introductory calling story until you create a better one of your own. My story: I will reach my prospect, who will be delighted to hear from me. We will have a good conversation. I will get what I ask for.
Wishing you all introductory calling success!