Even with all of the technology available at our fingertips (think marketing and salesforce automation, content marketing, lead nurturing...and the list goes on), in the B2B space we still have to pick up the phone!
No matter how much training you get, that anxiety can still come when you need to start your sales calls. You start thinking about how you’re not meeting your goal, how it reflects poorly on you, your team, and your manager, and you start to get this knot inside your chest.
Find some relief from this fact: you will end more conversations without deals than with them. Cold calling has a low conversion rate. It’s just the nature of this tactic (But that doesn’t mean it’s not an effective means of generating leads!).
Even with this knowledge, it can still be hard to pick up the phone and make calls.
Look over these cold calling tips to help soothe your anxious-self before your next round of calls.
1. Identify why you’re anxious.
Is it because you don’t like talking on the phone? You’re afraid of someone thinking you’re annoying and pushy? You don’t want yet another person to hang up on you? Once you can nail down the actual reason you get anxious, you can confront it head on. A lot of times, the anxiety comes from taking the whole situation personally. For example, instead of thinking that your company’s proposal was rejected, you think you were rejected. Or, when someone makes it clear they are aggravated with another potentially pushy, annoying sales call, you hang up feeling like you’re pushy and annoying. When you can identify the real reasons you get anxious, you can sort of coach yourself to think about the whole situation in a more positive (and realistic) manner.
2. Change the way you think about cold calling.
Instead of thinking that your call is an unwanted interruption and a waste of time, think of your call as a way to inform your prospect about a valuable opportunity for their business. Stop thinking about you—how you sound, how well you presented the information, how long (or short) the conversation was. Make your call about educating and helping the prospect.
3. Create a rough outline of your conversation.
Notice two keywords: rough, and outline. It may go against everything everyone else has taught you, but do not write out a word-for-word script. Do you ever read from a script when you’re talking to someone face-to-face? I sure hope not! With a full script, you just read right from it and lose any opportunity for deeper connection with the prospect. Conversations happen naturally, so should your sales call. However, it is wise to give yourself some guidelines. Write down a specific question, a statement that will transition you into learning about the goals or challenges of the company, or the names of connections you may have. You want your outline to be an aid, not a crutch.
4. Practice makes perfect.
The more you do something, the more natural it becomes. So, practice your sales calls ahead of time. Actually hold the phone in your hand (or put your headset on—whatever it is!) and do dry-runs of your calls. Practice your greeting, your transitional statements, and your questions until you’re comfortable. When you feel prepared and confident before the call actually happens, you’re much more likely to retain that confidence when it does happen.
5. Track your progress.
It can be easy to beat yourself up when you only remember how many failed calls you have had. When you actually keep track of your results, you’ll have unbiased documentation (real numbers!) on how you’re actually doing. Your results from tracking this information with technology may surprise you!
Take it one call at a time.
Breathe, and start with one call at a time. Before you know it, you’ll feel better about making sales calls.
Is there anything you do to reduce cold calling anxiety?