Would you rather have a coyote chew your arm off than pick up a phone? You are not alone. This one sales activity is the biggest obstacle to creating new sales.
In the 25 years of selling into B2B and B2C industries and the thousands of students and sales teams, I have coached it continues to be the single biggest fear in sales.
The following are some ways to fight off the coyotes and keep your arm to make the next sale.
I teach students to do research for several reasons. In the context of sales, you should know everything possible before making contact with the prospect. I encourage students to look for personal information as well. If you know something personal about this stranger a funny thing happens. They don’t seem like a stranger anymore. They like football, so do you; they have two kids, so do you. They like to camp, so do you. This is not information you would want to blurt out, but you might be surprised how it will come in handy when breaking the ice.
Just Do It
Follow Brian Tracey’s famous quote: “Swallow the frog first.” Schedule an hour at the beginning of your day to cold call. If you schedule your cold calling your calendar, and you are consistent, you will find it gets easier. You will develop a style, learn what works the best and most importantly see results that will motivate you to do more.
Have a Plan
Make sure you are consistent with follow up. There are two ways to prospect: inch deep and mile wide, or inch wide and mile deep. The first will not get you very far. Have a plan to continue your outreach efforts and mix up your communication efforts. Use email, voicemail, office mail, in mail, and mix up the messaging as well.
What does this mean? Have a reason to connect. Show value with each encounter. Provide case studies of others you have helped. White papers that prove your solutions work for others in their industry. Look for articles to share that are relevant to their industry. Look for something the company or prospect has done or been awarded to congratulate them. Use these and don’t ask with every encounter for a meeting. I would suggest every other time you reach out to your prospect. Build a bridge before you cross over.
In the age of digital distraction, people want a human connection. The more personal yet professional your message is, the more it will resonate with your prospect. Personalizing your communications will make you different from all of your competitors. Be humble, ask questions, know their industry.
Do the research, both professional and personal
Bite the bullet and pick up the phone
Have a plan for what you will say before you begin cold calling.
Vary your message
Be a Human
If you start your cold calling efforts in this way, you will find it becomes easier and more effective. If you are still hesitant, ask yourself; “What’s the worst that can happen?” I will promise this; no coyote will come and chew your arm off!
I would say good luck, but I believe good luck is found at the intersection of hard work and perseverance.