When I hear the term ‘cold calling’, I think ‘sleazy salesman’. I think of telemarketers calling in the middle of family dinners to sell something that no one in their right mind would ever buy. Or at least I used to.
Since joining the StaffStat team just a few short months ago, my mindset and overall attitude towards cold calling and salespeople has changed. Not only do I take time to actually stop and listen to salespeople when they have something to say, but I’ve also learned to appreciate when someone sells something well. Being in sales isn’t easy, and I’m not claiming to be an expert, so when I see someone who knows what they’re doing, I’m always sure to take a moment to watch and learn.
When I first started in my role, I knew that there would be challenges. I knew that I would have to get comfortable talking numbers with new customers when it came to monthly costs for usage of the system, I knew that I would have to deal with rejection and difficult customers, and I knew I would have to get over my fear of making cold calls. One thing that I’ve learned from Mel, the CEO of StaffStat and my direct supervisor, and my experience thus far, is how to take the ‘cold’ out of cold calls:
- Start off with an email. Although an email may seem even ‘colder’ than a call since it’s less personal, people don’t like being caught off guard. Sending an email to pre-empt your call provides them with time to prepare for the call. Some leads prefer to have time to conduct research on your product or service, some like to ensure that they are free the day that you say that you will follow up in order to be available for the call. Whatever the reasoning, there is nothing wrong with starting off your introduction with an email.
- Know who you’re talking to. Most cold calls or cold emails are very generic so that sales companies can blast it out to as many connections as possible in little time. Although it’s great to connect with as many people as possible, your prospect will not feel valued if they are sent the same email that the next person is receiving. Being more specific, based on who you’re talking to, not only makes you look as though you’ve done your research, but it’s also easier for your prospect to see the value in the product or service that you’re selling if you’re relating it to their industry or sector. What I mean by this is if your product or service can be implemented into both the food service industry and the acute sector (health care), you may want to use a different approach when connecting with your leads because they will not understand the same language and they won’t have the same use for the product or service.
- Be sure to follow up! Have you ever received an email from a company about a product or service that they’re selling, only to realize months later that you never heard from them again? According to a blog that I read a few days ago, “80% of sales happen after the fifth contact attempt”. Working in sales isn’t easy, and making a sale doesn’t happen overnight. It’s to be expected that you will, in most cases, have to reach out multiple times in various ways in order to get that final sale. Yes, sometimes you will get lucky and they will see the value in your product or service right away, but that doesn’t happen often. Being patient and persistent is one of the key components to being a successful salesperson.