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Cold Calling 101

Cold calling has always been a huge traditional part of a sales representatives job. Cold calling tends to get put in a negative light, as people associate it with the old-fashioned telemarketers, and reps don't want to appear "hassling." Through the years and developments of technology, emails and social media have become a favored path of quick communication/connection. However, with the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19, it has become necessary and important to connect with customers on a more personal level all over again. A lot of sales representatives have been forced to stay home and work from computers and cell phones. With not being able to see potential and current customers face to face, it's important to reiterate some key points in cold calling and bring it back to the forefront.

Tips for Cold Calling

  • Have your phone, computer, headset, all technology gadgets charged and wi-fi ready. You don't want to be in the middle of a call and lose the person on the other end based solely on technical issues. Not only will that be frustrating for both of you, but it will waste time and you may not be able to get that person back on the phone again. People are busy and once you have their attention, you need to keep it as long as you can. Don't let a low battery be your fault.
  • Set time aside for cold calling; block it on your calendar. Create a goal for how many hours you want to spend making cold calls for prospective clients. Usually mid-day tends to work best for others, but this all depends on what type of sales you are in. Try to make it a routine, for example, every Wednesday from 1pm-2pm, block your schedule and fill that hour with potential calls. Make sure you have a quiet place to work. Don't get distracted by anything else if possible.
  • Be time-zone aware. If you are making calls outside of your time zone, be courteous and flexible with THEIR business hours. Plan the best time to call people and make your time fit theirs.
  • Have a list ready. Know who you plan to call and plan more than you think you may need, as many may not answer. This list should include prospective and follow-ups. Track your list using an excel spreadsheet to make notes of who answered, how many times you have called each client, whom you spoke to, when you said you would follow-up again, etc. Using an organizational tool such as RepMove would greatly help you in this area of productivity. Calling current customers to check in on them is also good practice in keeping relationships going and dependable.
  • Have business related talking points. Be ready with voicemail script for all unanswered calls.
  • Research the company. Is there a prior relationship with this company that maybe you are trying to regain a hold of? What person are you trying to get to? Make friends with the "gate keeper" - whoever is at the front door, answers the phone and transfers calls.
  • Practice good listening skills. Make sure they have time for your call first, say what you need to say, then let them talk and listen to what they need. Mute yourself if you have to to keep yourself from cutting them off. Use that time to take good notes.
  • Have a positive mindset and keep your head up. You are bringing great stuff to the table. A "no" today doesn't necessarily mean "no" tomorrow. Try to keep the door open with each prospect.

Conclusion

Cold calling is still an important practice for a sales representative and there are success rates to prove it. Just remember to keep it simple and be positive. After all, it is the most basic way to get your foot in the door, find new prospective clients, and gain experience in what works for you and your sales pitch efforts. Remember to utilize tools like excel and phone applications like RepMove to help keep yourself organized and accountable.

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