There are several steps in the cold calling process that either we take for granted (the pros), or that overwhelm us (the rookies). The pros get lazy and forget to practice the basics while the rookies are overwhelmed and don’t realize that cold calling is not all about picking up the phone and dialing. There is a process to learn and steps to follow.
If you’re a seasoned veteran, rookie, manager, or just looking for a way to improve your numbers, creating a checklist is one way to ensure that you’ll give yourself the best chance to make a deal. Remember, pitches are not easy to come by—there is a finite number each day, so don’t waste the opportunity by not following these steps.
Here’s my checklist:
- Know the pitch cold; get fired up before dialing; role play with colleague.
- Target the right companies and decision makers; freshen leads daily.
- Get direct lines and cell phones of decision makers (eliminate the gatekeeper if possible).
- If the gatekeepers don’t give out direct lines and cell numbers call another office or business unit and try to obtain the information. (Having direct lines and cells saves a lot time.)
- Stand when pitching; do not sit. Project when you pitch, be animated yet keep a serious businesslike tone.
- Ask for the sale. Is she the final decision maker? Yes. Good.
- Listen to objections and find a solution. Ask for the sale again.
- Ask the decision maker for a reference. “Who else do you know, Bill, who can benefit from this opportunity?”
- Tell the prospect when you’ll be following up.
- Always leave your contact information.
- Take good notes.
- Follow up; follow up earlier if you’re not given an exact date to call.
- Find out your average Dial to Deal ratio. Make necessary dials to become successful; exceed the Dial to Deal ratio to become extremely successful.
- Listen to your colleagues; learn from their successes and failures
It serves a manager to have their team follow a checklist for a couple of reasons. One, the manager will have to do less micromanaging. Salespeople by nature are self-starters. They want to have control of their own destiny. Two, a checklist provides a map to the deal. If you accomplish those fourteen points listed above then you’re on your way to managing a successful team and/or making a lot of deals.
All the great athletes—whether it’s a baseball player working on his swing, or a golfer tweaking his drive, or a tennis player practicing her serve—have a checklist they follow. It’s how they get better and become great. Sales, as I’ve said before, is no different.