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Turn Up the Heat on Your Cold Calls
Sales coach offers a fresh approach to traditional sales calls

November 20, 2009

When it comes to sales lead generation, very rarely do you find someone who actually enjoys cold calling, who doesn’t cringe upon hearing the words “sales call.” People dread picking up the phone, partly because they fear rejection and partly because they’re used to traditional, hard-selling lead-generation techniques.

Steve Fretzin, president of Sales Results, Inc, takes quite the opposite approach to cold calls. “The goal is not to sell on the phone,” he points out. “You want to get prospects interested and ultimately set up an in-person meeting. Then the selling begins.” He offers these five tips for successful cold calling:

1. Enjoy getting “no”s. One big reason people dislike cold calling is that they don’t receive enough yesses. But if you get just one “yes” from 100 phone calls, you are successful. Just like anything else, increasing this percentage takes practice. You can actually benefit from the “no”s by thinking about what you did and learning from your mistakes.

2. Create a script. You don’t need to repeat your cold-calling script verbatim, but having something written down allows you to memorize the most important pieces of information. Make sure the script is written in your own personal style to allow for a more conversational tone.

3. Speak with a decision-maker. When you make a call, request to speak with a key decision-maker, whether that’s the owner of a business or the marketing director. If you’re able to set up a meeting, ask if anyone else should be included.

4. Ask permission. Once you get someone on the phone and have introduced yourself and your business, ask them if they would like to continue the conversation.

5. Ask questions. Rather than selling, spend your time asking the prospect questions. By being a good listener, you allow the prospect to share their business needs and, in turn, see if your product or service can help them. Some good questions include: “Are you happy with the way your business is currently running?” “What could be better?” “Describe how your business has been affected by the current economy.”

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