Your go-to guide for tips on sales, business, marketing, CRM, work ethic, and integrity in selling. I've also written a few posts about beauty, self-esteem, women's, and humanitarian issues. I am definitely opinionated, but I have a great heart. I genuinely care about helping other salespeople to be proud of what they do, and to master the set of skills required to be successful.~Cara Celli
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I have to admit, on my list of favorite things, cold calling would not be at the top. I am by no means a cold calling queen or guru. However, I make business calls all the time. I am also in charge of cold calling clients to invite them back or tell them about our promotions. Some of these clients are people I have never spoken to, or who haven't been in for quite a while. In other words, they have gone cold. So, I decided to write a post to help those who have a hard time with it, because I've been there. And I've found that it gets much easier with practice, and by following a few simple guidelines...
In order to be successful at any type of presentation, you have to prepare. And cold calling is a type of presentation. Just look at it that way. You're doing an introduction at an attempt to establish future business. Prospects don't have time to talk to someone who doesn't have anything to say. They want you to get to the point of what you are looking to achieve for their business. And yes, this puts pressure on you. However, it's part of the process. You're building a relationship with someone who doesn't know you yet, and you have to know what you're talking about, and show that you genuinely want to help them.
Keep it brief
People are busy, and their lives are stressful. They'll usually have a limited amount of time to talk to you. Around five minutes, tops, unless they indicate otherwise. So fit your introduction and key points into your call in that amount of time. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what their needs are, or details of their business operations. And ask from a point of understanding and genuine caring. Be patient and kind. If the prospect wants to keep talking to you, they will. And that's usually a good sign.
Keep it simple and friendly
Unless you're in a board meeting, or talking to a prospect with a business degree, you want to keep your conversation in the simplest terms possible. Explain what you're offering them on a level that anyone who might be listening can understand. Prospects/clients have a tendency not to admit when they don't understand something, so if you go over their head, you could lose them before you start. As I said before, be patient and kind. Be energetic and passionate about what you're offering them. And expect a positive outcome.
Creating value is all about researching what your particular prospect/client's needs are. In this "getting to know you" stage, think of it as a perfect opportunity to ask questions that indicate your willingness to help your prospect. You need to make your call all about them, and what is best for them. And genuinely care about providing them with the best value for their dollar. Providing helpful tips to your prospect can only build trust and respect, and make them want to do business with you. In other words, genuinely act in a way that is helpful to them. In other words, don't be annoying. Every call you make should add value to their lives, and their business. If you don't think your call could possibly add value, then wait until another time when you have something better to offer them.
Make the call
This seems to be the toughest part for a lot of people. We dread things that we don't practice doing out of fear. Fear of what that person might say to us, or how they might react. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that fear is irrational. Yes, there are people who will not want to hear from you. It's happened to me, and it's happened to all of us. But you shouldn't let that stop you from making the next call. Maybe someone was rude when you called them. I've had a client get so upset that I sent her a thank you card, that she complained to my company! If you can believe that. There will always be people who don't appreciate your sincere gestures to reach out to them, which is their loss. Just move on to the next one, and make sure to send Christmas cards to the rude ones. Just kidding.
Leading your own life is as simple as it sounds...
YOU take the lead of YOUR life
Not let someone else lead you to a path you weren't meant to travel
Not let someone else decide your future
You become the leader of yourself
Your own voice of reason
Your own adviser
Not those that say they know better than you
Just because they say it doesn't make it true
You know what's best for you
Because it's your life
Take the lead of yourself
To achieve what someone else said you could not do
To get back up and try again
To try, and finally succeed
To make a difference
To leave a great impression
To try something you didn't think you ever would
To make a difference in another person's life
To pick yourself up, and try another way that works
To climb to your destiny
To make it all the way to the top of the mountain
I'm talking about the icing on the cake, the sprinkles on the sundae, or the sprig of parsley on your dinner plate. Know what I mean? Okay, it's a metaphor for something else. The customers that make smaller purchases. Oh, Okay:D!
Have you ever stopped to consider how valuable these customers really are? It's important, because these are customers whose importance we sometimes overlook. We sometimes hold more value for the customers we think will provide us with bigger sales, and pay more attention to them. They're the ice cream part of the sundae, metaphorically speaking. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe they are your customers because of those that provided the sprinkles?
Here's an example of an actual customer of mine. Her name is Charlene. Charlene regularly shops with me, and doesn't really spend that much money with me. Usually around $20 each time for a couple of items that are her favored brands. She comes in about twice a month, and we'll chat for a little while. We've established a great relationship, exchanging hair tips, she tells me how to make fabulous recipes, etc. In other words, we're girlfriends.
I didn't expect this to happen, but I'm grateful for at least several of these relationships with my clients that have somehow crossed over into friendship. At least on some level. So here's another area Charlene has been valuable in helping build new business. She brings in her friends. She has another friend, Becky, who has just become a client of mine, and we've also established a great relationship. Becky also knows a lot of people, who I'm sure know more people. These are all possible referrals to be gained from knowing one key person.
Get where I'm going with all of this? What started off as a $20 purchase, has turned into regular visits, and referrals. That could amount to tens of thousands of dollars to my company's and my own benefit. Not to mention Charlene's, and Charlene's friends. Everybody wins. And the reason why this has happened is because I appreciated Charlene's business. And her friendship. I valued her as a person, and that's why she brought her friend in to see me. Because she trusted me. At the same time, I appreciate my clients who come in regularly, and simply because they want to see me. What an honor! And I think they also know how valuable they always are to me.