coldcallingCold calling is a hard art to master, and when conducting cold calling training for your team, the instructing part can be just as difficult as the cold calling itself. After all, how do you teach confidence? How do you help people deal with rejection? Part of the problem with traditional cold calling training is that it relies on rote scripts and teaches people what to say, rather than teach an attitude and guide sales reps on what not to say.
If you are growing frustrated with your current efforts to improve your staff’s cold calling effectiveness, consider taking a different approach – consider helping your team adopt a new attitude toward the practice, and help them understand that knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do during a call.
Cold calling training tip #1: DO help your team adopt a different attitude
One of the first steps in cold calling training is to do an attitude-check with your team. Is your team out to sell something? Are they trying to establish rapport by talking about last night’s game or build some sort of commonality? If so, they are setting themselves up for a feeling of rejection and failure if their call ends quickly without any lead generation.
Instead of approaching cold calling as a sales call – simply to sell a product, take a different approach. Coach your team that they are professionals, and their whole goal is to build a relationship. A professional who calls a colleague to find out about business problems and inefficiencies is a much different relationship than someone simply calling to sell something. If you begin with the attitude that you are there to listen, to learn, and then to offer solutions, you are no longer just a sales person making a call – you are a collaborator, a problem-solver.
Cold calling training tip #2: DO set up your call effectively in the first 30 seconds
Cold calling success can be made or broken in the first 30 seconds of a call. The way your sales representatives open the call, say who they are, and identify a potential problem that the prospect could be facing, can either lead to a longer conversation, or a very short conversation that ends with “no thank you.” When guiding your reps on cold calling training, make sure they know that they first have to understand the problem they are trying to solve for the prospect, and communicate this understanding at the very outset of the call. Your prospects are busy, and they don’t have time to chit-chat or spend extra time on calls for products they don’t understand the benefit of. Therefore, it’s imperative to lay the groundwork within the first 30 seconds of the call. If the prospect is struggling with the problem you mention – and they understand that your solution can help make this problem disappear – you have just begun a conversation based on solutions and collaboration, rather than selling.
Cold calling training tip #3: DON’T make the call all about your firm and your product
A second, and related point in effective cold calling training, is to make sure that your reps are not making the point of the call all about your company and your product. Again, the point of the call is to build a relationship and collaborate on solutions, so if your reps open the call talking about your latest innovation or technology, you’ve just lost the customer’s interest. Instead of focusing on what your company can do, focus more on what your prospect is needing to hear – what is the benefit of your product? Focus on the end solution instead of the tool. You can weave into the conversation the name of your product or technology, after you’ve captured their attention, but the conversation is not straight sales for what you have – it’s instead a conversation about what they’re needing (which happens to be the product you’re connected with). See the difference?
Cold Calling Training Tip #4: DON’T make the call un-prepared
Before the call even begins, make sure your sales reps have done their homework. In addition to researching the prospect and industry, an equally important step is to anticipate the possible objections from the prospect and write down the answers to these objections. Based on your particular industry, and past track record with cold calls, it should be fairly straightforward to come up with a list of objections and your responses to the objections. The main lesson here is to not be caught off-guard, but rather, to re-direct the conversation confidently and back toward your solution.
Cold calling and training your team to be effective cold calling lead generators need not be a dreaded task, if you keep in mind that above all, you are building a relationship and offering a solution. If you approach your cold calling training with this approach, your sales results will positively follow.
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