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This is your brain on sales. How to make stress-free cold calls

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If you’re an entrepreneur or a manager, you probably want to find new customers while keeping your current ones happy.

And that means you’re a salesperson too.

Wearing the hat of a salesperson means doing sales activities, like calling prospects, nurturing relationships and—ultimately—asking for the sale.

Making sales is critical to your success. Yet, so often this activity gets pushed to the bottom of our to‑do lists. It either gets done halfway or doesn’t get done at all. Why is that?

We hate rejection

Our mind has a natural aversion to rejection. This aversion causes a defensive stress response that limits our ability to communicate and connect with others.

Here’s what sales expert Ari Galper has to say on the topic of cold calls.

“In some ways, the fear of cold calling is practically an epidemic—but not the kind of epidemic that gets publicized on TV or in newspapers. It’s a silent and personal one, a psychological struggle that happens in our own hearts and minds. The fear of reaching out to others is the No. 1 reason we fail to see results in the form of new business.”

But why do we react the way we do when faced with…the call?

The 3 Fs of survival

Let’s look at ourselves as a species. Our core survival instinct is defined by three rather intense F words—fight, flight, freeze. This is our body’s natural response to perceived threats to our well‑being.

The hormones released into your body during a fear response can cause important physical reactions, including the following:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Tensing of muscles
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased blood glucose levels

Cold calls produce fear reaction

The fear of rejection that comes with making sales calls can produce all these unpleasant symptoms. No wonder so many of us would rather do anything else than make an initial contact with a prospect.

But there’s good news. Limiting sales contacts to those who are likely to be interested in what you’re offering will greatly increase your confidence.

You can follow a sales strategy based on this principle in 4 easy steps.

4 steps to increasing your sales without increasing your stress

  • Step 1—Prequalify your prospects. Use every means at your disposal to research prospects and find out whether they’re in the market for what you’re selling. Use social media, websites and referrals to find out more about them and what they may need from you.
  • Step 2—Make a prequalifying call. You may not even speak to the prospect, but rather someone in reception, accounting or human resources. Ask that person whether the company would buy the kind of thing you’re selling. Then, ask: “Who should I talk to?” If you’re lucky, you’ll get the right person’s email address.

    If you do get the prospect on the line, make sure not to launch into a sales pitch at this point. Just ask politely if they might want to know more about what you have to offer. Don’t try to do anything other than get permission for the next step.
  • Step 3—Send a short email after you have received permission. I repeat—a short email. In it, ask for permission to call and continue the discussion.
  • Step 4—Make the call.
    • Have a plan. What do you want the outcome to be?
    • Be human. Better yet, be you. No one wants to be sold to.
    • Ask for the outcome you want i.e., to meet, send a quote, etc.
    • Have an escape/follow‑up plan if the sale doesn’t happen today. How will you keep in touch?

Set a number of prospects to contact a day/week/month and stick to it. You will feel better when it’s done.

A satisfying experience

It can become a very satisfying experience to see how much you can grow your business by following a few simple steps. Once you get the momentum going, it’s addictive.

And lastly: Remember that the anxiety you’re feeling is just a function of being a human.

Do you have tips for better cold calls? We’d love to hear your comments.

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