Cold calling is the arch-enemy of every sales person. It can be a very rewarding challenge that reaps big rewards. What separates the winners from the losers is a bit of art (creative preparation) and a bit of tenacity (not giving up).
In part 1, the focus was on the art of setting up the database and preparation. How do you focus on the tenacity of following through with clients and how the two work together?
Brush Strokes on the Canvas
No artist ever quit a masterpiece after they got the broad sketches of what they wanted. That holds true with cold calling.
You must organize your sales effort diligently. This will help you to quickly access the history of an account. What happens if you get a last minute sales call or a meeting called by your boss?
The key is a well-organized database. This is the canvas of your art. The history in the database makes the salesperson look professional to the customer. The ability to quickly reference data while on the phone can trigger a detail to close the order. A fact can disarm an irate customer and allow the salesperson to separate oneself from the competition.
Van Gogh didn’t finish his paintings by dabbing some blue and yellow on the canvas. The same thing goes for sales. A data base that triggers follow up alarms, birthdays, anniversaries, significant events, etc allow the sales person to appear they care (because you do!).
It shows you are building relationships with prospects and customers. If you have not already noticed, as you build the data base, the number of cold calls you are making is going down and the number of warm calls you are making is going up. It is all about the due diligence you have demonstrated building the data base.
In sales, your time is your money. Cold calling is about efficiency. Your database will help you achieve efficiency. Make your goal to organize your week so you can be out of the office on Friday before your peers even have their cup of coffee.
The Personal Touch
Every artist has their own style, but they follow some basic steps. For the next step in generating leads and building the pipeline, the sales person has to build relationships. This is where your personal touch comes in.
As you grow your business better than anyone else, you have earned the right to ask for referrals. Do not think of this as a chore. On the contrary, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Ask someone how you can imitate with other people (people they know), the success you have grown with your sales contacts.
Remember the Centers of Influence (COI) in Part 1? The customer now becomes a COI. The sales person has created his own COI. What you ask the COI is key to building the relationship.
Ask them their opinion. For example, ask them to introduce you to your competition. At first, it may seem like an odd request. The reason you want to know your competition, is because you want to know whom you are competing against. The old saying “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” is why.
At first, your competition will be stand offish, but as you compete against them, you will learn to anticipate them, their moves, their style. You might some day go to work for them!
Think of it as you asking them their opinion. Everyone has one! Phrase it in a way that does not require them to give up something. You can say “what do you think of my competition” or “do you see any value in me meeting them to learn more about the products we could offer.”
Selling through introductions, referrals and third party endorsements will enhance the salesperson’s position within the company. A day will come when the salesperson will look back and wonder why they do not have to cold call any more.
Remember: all of this comes from the art and tenacity that goes into the cold call. You must prepare and maintain your database. Then your network will grow and your masterpiece will slowly begin to take shape. It is an awesome experience to behold!