Cold calls teach you how to ‘fail’ to succeed
Here’s a new way to view the cold call: It’s not a way to make sales; it’s an opportunity to learn to sell. You could call it the fail-your-way-to-success method. Here are 12.5 lifetime sales skills you can develop through the fail-your-way-to-success method of cold calling:
- You develop a fast opening that grabs attention and gets you to the next step. What can you invent that gets immediate attention? Something that creates a smile, gets you in the door and gives you that 30-second opportunity with Mr. Big. What can you create that’s innovative and gets you in every time? Long-term benefit: This teaches you to get to the point faster in face-to-face presentations.
- You build instant rapport. How fast can you put the other person at ease? How quickly does the prospect warm up to you? How quickly does the prospect like you? Long-term benefit: This teaches you that rapport is the jumping-off point to begin the sale. The faster you can gain it, the smoother your path to sales success.
- You gain acceptance. This involves being real and having your words be believed. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that rapport leads to acceptance. If I like you, I’m more likely to accept what you say. The cold call leaves little time to gain acceptance.
- You find the decider. That means being in front of someone who can say yes. Too many salespeople give a great sales presentation to the wrong person. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that selling the nondecision-maker leads to a nonsale.
- You qualify the decider. That means finding out whether the decider has the need and or money to buy what you sell. Long-term benefit: This teaches you to be certain you’re speaking to someone who can buy and spend. (Caution: “Qualifying” is not to be mistaken for it’s evil twin, “prejudging.”)
- You gain the power of questioning. That means being able to ask questions that make the prospect think and evaluate new information and that separate you from your competition. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that questions about the prospect lead to answers about you — which lead to sales.
- You gain prospect interest. That means having useful information and ideas, as well as information about the market and the ability to make your prospect’s business grow and profit. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that the ability to gain prospects’ interest in your product or service stems from your interest in theirs.
- You learn the art of fast persuasion. Getting others to say “yes” in a short space of time takes talent that can only be developed by practice. Long-term benefit: This teaches you to practice and become effective at presenting a compelling message.
- You learn persistence — the breakfast of winners. The cold call won’t usually generate a sale. It will generate a follow-up opportunity. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that most sales are made after the seventh “no” or, better stated, the seventh follow-up. Your persistence is in direct proportion to your level of success.
- You learn to think on your feet. Cold calls are not about fast talking; they’re about fast thinking. Long-term benefit: This teaches you to think “solution” and think “question,” instead of spewing out a bunch of facts and figures that will be forgotten two seconds after the door has let you out of the prospect’s office.
- You learn the value of creativity. Cold calls are all about creativity. The opening line. The gatekeeper block. The decision-maker treasure hunt. The sale. The cool part about creativity is that it can be studied and learned. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that creativity (which leads to memorability) is at the core of your sales success. The more creative you become, the easier it is to differentiate yourself from the dreaded competition and its dreaded price.
- You learn the joy of rejection. Most people take rejection as a negative. I have always thought of it as the pathway to yes. Try this: Add a dose of humor to rejection. Start thanking people for telling you no. Tell them they’re helping you get one step closer to yes. It’ll make them laugh. Make them laugh, and you can make them buy. The problem with rejection is that most people take it personally. They’re not rejecting you; they’re just rejecting the offer you’re making them. Long-term benefit: This teaches you that rejection is part of the success of selling. The more you can learn why they rejected you, the easier it is to eliminate the next rejection.
12.5. It lets you know if sales is the right career for you. If you can find the fun of cold calling and view it as the fail-your-way-to-success method to sales mastery, you will ultimately succeed at sales. If you can’t, sales may not be your best career choice. Long-term benefit: This teaches you to do something you love, have the attitude to have fun at it and dedicate yourself to be the best at it by learning something new every day.
And one more tip from our Startup Port team: DO NOT call your best prospect first! Make sure to cold call the laggards in order to hone in your sales pitch and make sure to learn from your rejections.