Before you pick up the phone you need to be mentally prepared. Know your pitch, know your product, and know your prospect’s competition and his company’s latest developments if possible. Like any great athlete you have to play the game in your mind before it plays out for real. You have to visualize the word “Yes” before you dial.
“Yes, I will buy from you,” says the prospect. “Yes, I want what you have to sell.”
You have to be prepared to make the deal. At the same time, you have to be prepared for “No” and the objections he throws your way.
“No, I don’t want what you have,” the prospect replies. “No, I don’t need what you’ve got.”
There is a great scene in the movie “Rocky” where he’s pounding the big slabs of beef in the meat locker. The local news media is doing a story and it just so happens that the trainer for Apollo Creed, the champion, is watching. While the trainer leans forward and closely observes Rocky punching the meat, Apollo is heard offscreen discussing business.
“Boss, you better see who you’re fighting here,” says the trainer. “He means business.”
“Yeah, well I mean business, too,” replies Apollo, ignoring the matter. “Shirley, is there any more coffee?”
Are you mentally prepared for the present dial or is your mind somewhere else? Have you visualized how the call is going to play out? The preparation, once you’re familiar with the process and making it an integral part of your call, doesn’t have to take up a lot time. If your notes are solid then just give yourself a little wakeup call and keep those opposing thoughts in mind, “Yes,” and “No.”
Knowing when to take a break is also part of the preparation process. Try not to get “fixed” on those elusive prospects. Sometimes it’s very difficult—especially if you’re on the obsessive side—to pull yourself away from these calls. You’re tired of Bill never being in the office or Shirley who doesn’t want to put you through when he’s in. Move on. Don’t dwell. Sell—to someone else.
Cold calling is not easy but it’s very easy to become discouraged and down. So, when things get rough take a break. Take a walk, get some fresh air. If it’s possible do not schedule a regular break period. This can be counterproductive, because in sales you can get on a roll. If the calls are going well—you have “Yes” and “No” on your mind, and you’re reaching the prospects who impressed with your due diligence—why stop because of your scheduled 10:15 break? It doesn’t make much sense.
Try to take your breaks when you’re in the midst of a bad string of calls. That’s the time to free your mind and get some fresh air. Go to the bathroom and splash some cold water on your face. Seriously. That’s exactly what Jackie Gleason’s character Minnesota Fats did in “The Hustler,” when he was losing to Paul Newman’s Fast Eddie early in the film. While Eddie insisted on playing game after game during their all night marathon pool session, Fats paced himself and took his necessary breaks. He never got flustered and on that night, or early morning, he beat Fast Eddie.