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I just finished a run of training and speaking events that took me from Arizona, to New York and then one in New Jersey. The main topic happened to be Cold Calling and prospecting, a topic many people find difficult to engage in; let alone do consistently.
The typical solution managers provide to call reluctance is a better script, template, collateral materials or a pep talk. While this may move the needle of reluctance a slight bit, the negative attitude these people harbor about cold calling is still in the red.
The real issue is you´re not focusing on the real issue. This isn´t a tactical problem; it´s an attitude or mindset problem. So, offering a tactical solution to solve a problem that´s a result of a faulty belief is the same as eating more food in an attempt to make yourself feel better when you´re upset or depressed. Sure, it might make you feel a little better while indulging but it´s certainly not going to solve the core problem or concern.
If a salesperson is experiencing heavy cold call reluctance, rather than proving them with a new template or pitch, coach them on how they think about cold calling and their primary objective when they make a cold call. Coaching them on their assumptions and beliefs they have around cold calling will have a deeper and more meaningful, lasting impact than any new piece of collateral material or selling tools would.
Rather than focusing all of your energy on making the sale, first determine if there’s a good fit between you, your prospect, and what you are selling. Instead of feeling that the intention of prospecting is to get a sale, provide a demonstration, submit a proposal, or schedule an appointment, the initial intention of prospecting is to determine if there’s a fit worth pursuing.
Closing the sale and earning the business of a prospect is not your initial goal. Take a moment and think about how this change in your attitude and mindset would change your cold calling approach as well as your experience.
While your traditional approach may be to produce a measurable result, now your primary objective is to discover whether you and your prospect are a good match and if this relationship is worth moving to the next stage of your selling process. If you feel that you constantly have to push the sales process forward, you’re not taking into consideration that the prospect may simply not be ready, let alone may not be a good fit for what you are selling. Pushing the sales process forward before a prospect is ready only creates pressure for the both of you, fostering an unhealthy relationship from the start.
Instead of asking yourself, “How can I sell this person?” change this question to, “Do I even want this prospect as a customer?” Notice that the second question shifts the balance of your power back to you. Now, you’re the one making the choice about pursuing the relationship rather than surrendering all of the decision making power to the prospect regarding whether or not they will buy from you, let alone listen to you.
Notice how this shift in your mindset will also change your approach. Instead of feeling as if you have to convince or push the prospect into the sale (appointment, demo, proposal) by regurgitating your pitch all over them, now you’re going to want to learn and gather as much information you can about this particular prospect.
How do you determine if there’s a fit worth pursuing? Well crafted questions. Instead of the prospect interviewing you, this brings new meaning to the phrase, “Qualify your prospects!” Now, you’re the one doing the qualifying. The interviewing process goes both ways.
While the ultimate objective of your prospecting efforts is to sell more and boost your income, it’s just not where you are going to focus your energy and thoughts.