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Archive for December, 2011

Dismiss Four Common Sales Myths to Improve Cold Calling Part II

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Continuing with the previous blog post on dismissing four common sales myths, here are the third and fourth myths.

Myth #3 – A true sales person will be a good cold caller.

There is a common belief and myth that a true sales person should naturally be a good cold caller.  This is not always the case as there are a lot mechanics to effective cold calling and this means that not only could a great sales person be a lousy cold caller, but also that someone with little sales knowledge or experience could be an excellent cold caller.

This myth is helpful to be aware of when trying to improve and maintain a strong mental state.  Cold calling can be very challenging and this can easily cause internal doubt in a sales person.  We can become confused from the fact that we feel like we are a good sales person and do not understand why we are not able to be successful in the area of cold calling.  The reality with this sales myth is that just about anyone regardless of sales skills and sales experience can become a good cold caller.  As long as they have the ability to learn, feel comfortable communicating with strangers, and have a willingness to pick up the phone and make calls.

Myth #4 – You need to be loud, gregarious, and talkative in order to be successful.

Similar the sales myth that refers to good sales people are born with sales abilities, there is also a common belief that you need to be very loud, gregarious, and talkative in order to be successful to be a good cold caller and good in sales.  This myth can be debunked when you consider the fact that you do need to be comfortable communicating with other individuals in order to enjoy and be successful at sales and cold calling, but you actually do not need to be loud, gregarious, or talkative in order to be comfortable communicating with others.  As result, you can be a very successful sales person without having any of these qualities.

Applying this to cold calling specifically, what is more important than being talkative and loud is an openness and willingness to pick up the phone and call people that do not know who you are and that are not expecting your call.  Once you get beyond that, two more important qualities that come before these being loud, gregarious, and talkative are an ability and capacity to learn and an ability to listen.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sale pros to see through many of the sales myths.

Five Ways to Improve the Scheduling of Telephone Appointments

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Securing telephone appointments is often the main goal when making cold calls and there are some clear things that we can do to improve our success rate in reaching this goal.

1.  Communicate Value

Communicating the business value that we offer is sometimes one area where we can often improve.  It is our natural instinct to introduce ourselves by telling the prospect about the company we work for and tell them about our products and all of the great things that they can do.  We need to share these points with the prospect at some point, but the biggest thing that the prospect cares about is how we can help them from a business value standpoint.  Being able to focus on the benefits that we deliver at the business level can help to schedule telephone appointments.

2.    Uncover Pain

Being able to uncover pain is critical to creating leads and scheduling appointments.  Pain that the customer is experience is essentially something that is not working well or something that could be working better.  If we want the prospect to listen to what we have to say and possibly agree to an appointment, it is very important to identify pain as if there is no pain, there is no reason to make a change.

3.    Build Interest

If we uncover pain, we can then move to try to build some interest on the prospect’s side.  If we don’t build interest, it could be like trying to reel in a fish that has a hook in its mouth but the hook in not hooked on to anything.  If we share some information that shows how we can resolve pain, how we help clients, how we are different than our competition, we may be to get the prospected hooked so when it is time to close for telephone appointments, they agree to keep moving forward.

4.    Build Rapport

It is important to be aware that people buy from people they like.  As a result, building rapport can greatly impact our ability to schedule telephone appointments and close deals.  There are some very clear things that we can do with the prospect on a cold call to decrease their guard and take some steps toward establishing rapport.

5.    Sales Role-Play

Cold calling is one of the most challenging sales activities that a sales person will do.  Not only do you never really know exactly how a call is going to go, but there is also likely a lot of information that you will have to have fresh in your mind in terms of some sort of call script.  One way to make cold calling easier and improve results is to practice anticipated scenarios and objections through some sort of sales role-play.

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Launch Pad Solutions helps sales pros to improve telephone appointments through cold call training.

Four Ways to Deal with Sales Rejection

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Sales rejection is a major part of cold calls as it is a likely outcome with every call that we make.  Due to this, we can often dread picking up the phone regardless of our skills, knowledge, and years of experience.  The main reason for this resistance is that it is very natural for us to extremely dislike the feeling of rejection.

A first place to look when explaining this is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which states that we have a level of needs called “Love and Belonging” and this level of needs is where we have a need to be accepted by others.  This is a very important and basic need that we have and according to Maslow’s model, this is a need is so important that it is actually right behind or after physical safety and security.

Rejection causes us to take a fairly negative hit in that area of needs and this can cause us significant emotional and mental discomfort.  That being what it is, there are some very clear things that we can do to improve our ability to deal with sales rejection.

1.  It is Nothing Personal

It is helpful to keep in mind that when someone says “no” and rejects our cold call, they are rejecting the sale and not us as a person.  This may sound silly to point out, but our first natural reaction to sales rejection on a cold call can often be to take the rejection personally in some way.  It is nothing personal against us or anything about us personally as they likely do not know who we are or anything about us.

2.  Not Everybody can be a Fit for Our Products

There really is no possible way that everybody that we try to sell to is going to be a qualified prospect.  There are likely requirements or characteristics that make someone a good prospect and it is simply not likely that everybody that we reach will fit well.  Due to this, we have to get some amount of rejection from most all of the prospects that we talk to that do not fit well with what we sell.

3.  We are Still Accomplishing Something

When someone rejects us, it may feel like we are wasting our time.  But even when someone says “no”, we are actually still accomplishing something as we can now take that person off of our list of people to call.  Every “no” gets us one step closer to a “yes”.

4.  There is no Physical Pain

We can sometimes look at the phone and dread picking it up and making calls due to the potential for sales rejection. But one thing to keep in mind is that there is not any physical pain that can result from cold call rejection.  The worst thing that can happen is to get hung up on.  And there is really no real impact on us when that happens.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sales pros to deal with sales rejection.

Three Ways to Build Interest on a Cold Call

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

It is very important to be able to build interest while on a cold call if we want to improve results.  Once we have heard the prospect share some details around any pain they are experiencing, we can begin to share with them some of the details that we have been withholding to lure in more of the prospect’s attention and create momentum.

To demonstrate how important building interest is, if use a sports analogy of fishing, at the point where we get the prospect talking about pain is where the hook is floating inside the mouth of the fish.  But to be able to reel in the fish, we need to try to get the fish to bite down on the hook.  If we do not, we could begin to end up reeling in too early and end up with an empty hook.

1.  Connect Pain to Value

One of the best ways to create interest on a cold call is to connect any of the prospect’s pain with value that you have to offer.  By sharing a way that you can decrease or eliminate their pain, you will likely get their attention and interest.

2.  Deliver Silver Bullets

We can also build interest by firing some silver bullets at the prospect.  Silver bullets are key points that are company facts, product characteristics, competitive advantages, ROI statics, etc.

In order to know what silver bullets to share, you can build a list of facts or details in your call script or call outline.  Examples of silver bullets could be:

We have been in business for 30 years (company facts)
We are a local provider (company facts)
We have a full portfolio of solutions (product characteristics)
Our products have won awards for the past three years (product characteristics)
Our products are easier to get up and running and use (competitive advantages)
We have award winning service and support (competitive advantages)
We helped many companies in the chemical industry to decrease cost of goods sold by between 10 to 15% (ROI statics)

3.  Tell a Story

To build interest on a cold call, you can also tell a story about another client that you have worked with.  If you can tell a story of another company that had similar challenges and needs and then briefly explain how you help to drive positive improvements and share where the company ended up in terms of results, you can make large strides in terms of building interest.

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Launch Pad Solutions help sales pros to figure out how to build interest through cold call training.

Qualifying Sales with Light Questions First

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Qualifying sales while cold calling is an important step to improve results and one thing to focus on is to mainly try to lightly qualify first to primarily determine if it makes sense for everybody to keep investing time talking.   The key thing that we want to identify is if things are great, ok, or have room for improvement in the areas that your products have an impact.

There are a few categories of light qualifying questions that we can try to get answered to help identify if it makes sense to keep talking.

Current systems, processes, and providers

When qualifying sales, it can be helpful to identify current state details in terms of current systems, processes, or providers.  This information will provide tremendous information on whether they may be a fit and if it makes sense to talk to them at all.  If the prospect just signed a contract or invested in a system, it is likely that it would not make sense for you to invest your valuable time in a first conversation with the prospect as they are locked up right now.  On the other extreme, their answer may reveal that they have a tremendous need for change due to using out dated systems or manual process.

Rating on Current State

We can also ask rating questions when qualifying sales to get the prospect to rate areas of current state on a scale from 1 to 10.  These can help us identify if the things are great, ok, or have room for improvement.  If things are great, it might not be a qualified prospect as there might not be a reason to make any changes.

Current challenges, priorities, and initiatives

We can try to identify any challenges, priorities, and initiatives that the prospect has to lightly qualify.  Understanding what is not working well and what is important to the prospect will be very helpful when first trying to qualify.  If there are challenges and priorities that do not really apply to the areas that you can help, it might no make much sense to continue as you products and services will not be at the top of the prospects list of things to spend money and time on.  On the other hand, if you identify what is not working well and important and that fits well with what you have to offer, then the prospect begins to become more qualified.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales training helping sales professionals with qualifying sales.